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Lake Elementaita

Dramatic Scenery & Incredible Birdlife

The Lake derived its name from the maasai word ‘Olmuteita’ meaning ‘place of dust’ a reference that aptly describes the dusty conditions in the area especially during the extreme hot dry January to March period. The lake is also very shallow (1m deep) and during the dry season is characterized by expansive mudflats.

During the rainy season, Elementaita is transformed into a beautiful, thriving green landscape. The varied terrain offers volcanic hills, acacia woodlands, grassy plains and stands of Warburgia fever trees. Odd geometric patterns, craters, lava flows and plugs depict the remnants of the region’s rich volcanic history.

The lake is fed by two small streams flowing from the eastern plateau. Majority of the inflow however comes from the ‘kekopay’ hot springs, both fresh water and hot saline, bubbling up at the south end of the lake. The hot springs are very popular for bathing, the local Maasai in-fact claim that the springs can cure diseases.

Destination Map

What to see and do

Bird-watchers will relish a trip to Lake Elementaita, the lake basin area has over 400 recorded bird species, among which 13 are globally-threatened and 8 are regionally-threatened. Elmenteita attracts visiting flamingoes, both the Greater and Lesser varieties, which feed on the lake’s crustacean and insect larvae and on its suspended blue-green algae. A number of low, rugged, lava-rock islands in the shallows are the nesting site of the Great White Pelican, the lake hosts an estimated 8000 breeding pairs. Additionally the Lake is an important flyway passage and stopover for migrant birds from northern Asia and Europe, hosting over 100+ species of migratory birds. Some of these include the yellow billed stork and marabou stork, African spoonbill, black winged stilt, black-necked grebe, gull billed tern, little grebe, grey-headed gull and pied avocet.

There is lots to do and see in Elementaita. Nearby is the Kariandusi Museum, an important prehistoric site where stone handaxes and cleavers were discovered in 1929 by Louis Leakey. There is also the neighboring Soysambu conservancy is home to a variety of wildlife such as cheetah, water buck, jackal, leopard, lion, zebra, warthog, gazelle, eland, buffalo and giraffe.