Lake Baringo lies 15 kilometres (nine miles) north of the little town of Marigat. It is a freshwater lake, twice the size of Lake Naivasha. It is home to great numbers of birds and hippos, which can be seen in the evenings grazing at the shoreside. Lake Baringo does not enjoy any particular protected status, except for the respect of the surrounding population for the value of its fish and the employment generated by tourism.
The lake has noticeably more sediment than other rift valley lakes, which can be seen from its brownish colour viewed from the shoreline or detected in the light it reflects to earth resources satellites. It has probably always been like this although much development aid is currently being spent to forestall erosion. The lake level fluctuates from year to year, sometimes by several metres, depending on rainfall in the surrounding hills.
The colony of nesting goliath herons on Gibraltar Island attracts many ornithologists. It is also possible to see Verreaux’s eagles, bristle-crowned starlings and Hemprich’s hornbill on the escarpment on the western side of the lake. Many other species of birds live in the acacia woodland bordering the lake, including west Nile red bishops and silverbirds.
First class accommodation is available either at the Lake Baringo Club or at Island Camp, on 01 Kokwa Island. The Lake Baringo Club offers a number of local excursions, including guided birdwatch walks, boat trips, water-skiing, and, in contrast, camel rides. Island Camp is a luxury tented lodge with swimming pool and water sport facilities. Camping facilities, as well as bandas are available at Robert’s Camp on the lakeshore. Showers and toilets are provided.
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