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Rift Valley Lakes & Lake Victoria

Why visit the Rift Valley Lakes & Lake Victoria?

Great flocks of flamingos and pelicans, dhows and fishing canoes, traditional villages, flower farms, tiny tropical islands, game reserves - the Rift Valley Lakes sustain an enormous diversity of life in their waters and on their shores. And, neighbouring the Rift Valley and forming a natural boundary between Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, is the biggest lake of all, Lake Victoria.
Reasons to visit the Rift Valley Lakes & Lake Victoria include:

  • See tens or even hundreds of thousands of flamingos massing in the alkaline waters of Lake Nakuru. 
  • Visit one of the many flower farms inland from Lake Naivasha, or spend time with a Maasai community living around the shores of Lake Mgadi. 
  • Marvel at the sheer size of Lake Victoria; at over 67,000 sq. km it is twice the size of Wales. 
  • Learn about the unique society of the Luo people, who live in family homesteads enclosed by hedges. 
  • Take a guided walk round the huge sacred rock Kit Mikaye
  • Visit the elegant colonial port town of Kisumu or take a trip into Uganda, visiting the bustling fish markets of Port Bell or the peaceful Ssese Islands or the chimpanzee sanctuary on Ngamba Island
  • Watch fishermen casting their nets or bringing in the catch as fish eagles call overhead.
  • Stay in a fishing lodge on the islands of Mfangano, Rusinga or Takawiri - home to hippo, Vervet monkeys and monitor lizards - and go fishing for Nile Perch. 
  • Hire a local guide and go out onto the water – the views from Lake Victoria are wonderful and the wildlife - including hippo, shoals of cichlids, and rich birdlife - is splendid. 
  • Visit the remote Ruma National Park, home to rare species including Rothschilds Giraffe, Jackson Hartebeest, tiny Oribi antelope and the last-surviving group of Roan antelope.
  • Go birding on Mbasa and Mholo Islands, which are breeding colonies for waterfowl.

When to go to the Rift Valley Lakes & Lake Victoria

If you want to see the beautiful bright pink flamingos flock here in their millions then January and February is the best time to visit.  March, September and October are also considered a good time in this area.  If you want to avoid the rains then it’s best to give April, May and November a miss.

How to do it

The rift valley and the lakes are easily accessible by road.  Depending on your routing, flying between locations in light aircraft could also be possible.

Accommodation in the Rift Valley Lakes & Lake Victoria

There are various options in this area.  Rusinga Island Lodge is a good option for Lake Victoria.  Sunbird Lodge is a small, friendly lodge at Lake Elementaita that we rather like.  There are plenty of options to suit everyone.

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Rift Valley Lakes & Lake Victoria accommodation

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facts and information

Time: GMT +3 hours

Flight time: Flights from Europe to Nairobi take about 9 hours direct.

Language: Kiswahili and English are the official languages.

Visas: Visas are required for European passport holders.

Health: Malaria is present in most of the country. No vaccinations are compulsory, except yellow fever if coming from an infected area.

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