The basaltic cliffs of the Rift Valley located northwest of Nairobi, Kenya hem in a classic East African landscape of open savannah studded with forest-clad mountains, valleys, volcanoes, rivers, grasslands and huge lakes, helping make the Great Rift Valley Africa’s most biologically diverse region.
Thanks to its unique positioning on part of the Great Rift Valley, it comes as no surprise that Kenya is home to more than half of the lakes in Africa. Many of these resemble swampy marshlands scattered across the landscape, dotted pink by the thousands of flamingos that have swarmed upon the area to pick at the algae and crabs seen scuttling sideways between the reeds.
Visitors can rumble along the valley in open-air safari vehicles in search of the Great Rift Valley Lakes. The Great Rift Valley's inhabitants include lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, buffaloes, cheetahs, giraffes, antelopes, zebras and primates. The area, however, is renowned for its prolific birdlife, the main attention-grabbers being the million-strong flocks of flamingos that frequently amass at Nakuru and Bogoria lakes. Lake Nakuru, Naivasha and Bogoria offer the best sightings of these fuchsia-feathered birds. The alkaline nature of the lakes in the Rift Valley creates a thriving hub for algae and small crustaceans, which brings huge flocks of greater and lesser flamingos to the area to feed. Occasionally, the powerful beating wings of a fish eagle can be heard as it swoops in to prey on our long-legged friends.
Formed in millennia gone by as the African tectonic plates began to shift and edge apart, the Rift Valley Lakes region of Kenya supports an array of endemic species and well-preserved hominid fossils. Lake Turkana in particular is widely seen as the Cradle of Humankind because of the amount of hominid fossils found there.
- Vast amount of hominid fossils have been found in the area, leading many experts to regard the area as the Cradle of Mankind
- The only place visitors will see thousands of greater and lesser flamingos in such large flocks
- Its unique environment ensures that a great diversity and abundance of wildlife is found there
- Lake Nakuru is known for its leopard sightings during the day