The main lakes of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley include Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha, Lake Mgadi and Lake Victoria. Possibly one of Kenya’s most famous images is that of clouds of brilliant pink flamingos rising from a glittering lake with the shadow of the Great Rift Valley wall behind.
Wildlife of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley Lakes
Documented by countless nature films it is even more spectacular to see in real life. Standing on the lake shore at Nakuru hearing the gabble of flamingos and watching pelicans swoop low over the water is spectacular. Many of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley Lakes are surrounded by wilderness areas or game reserves. These provide wonderful opportunities for not only enjoying the pelicans and flamingos but big game such as buffalo, lion, rhino, elephant and more.
The most famous of the lakes is probably Lake Nakuru. A shallow alkaline lake rich in phytoplankton upon which both lesser and greater flamingos love to graze. Numbers of flamingos can fluctuate throughout the year from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands.
Lake Naivasha, an hour's drive from Nakuru is fresh water and surrounded by farms, many of which are flower farms. With a number of small homesteads and nature reserves and within driving distance of Nairobi it makes an ideal place to start a safari.
Lake Mgadi is little known, in Kenya’s far south. It is a wild area with a number of Maasai communities and nomadic wild game. Scenery is dramatic, there is only one small but spectacular lodge – this is a place for the truly adventurous.
Finally, Lake Victoria lies just outside the Rift Valley and is surrounded by numerous villages and small towns. Whilst the lake shore can be unremarkable there are a number of small tropical islands that are idyllic. Hills covered in lush vegetation drop down to clear blue waters dotted with white-sailed dhows. An hours flight in light aircraft from the Masai Mara there is no better place to put your feet up and relax after a safari.
Places to visit in Lakes of the Great Rift Valley
Featuring heavily on our experiences of visiting Lakes of the Great Rift Valley, these selected places are destinations that also prove consistently popular with our travelers. Our specialists can help you choose how to include them in your wider trip, based on your preferences.
Suggested Lakes of the Great Rift Valley itinerary
This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Lakes of the Great Rift Valley, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Lakes of the Great Rift Valley
Places & hotels on the map
Places in and around Lakes of the Great Rift Valley
- Lake Naivasha Lakes of the Great Rift Valley
- Lake Nakuru Lakes of the Great Rift Valley
- Lake Victoria Lakes of the Great Rift Valley
- Shompole Magadi Lakes of the Great Rift Valley
- Sosian Ranch 99 kilometers away
- Ol Pejeta Conservancy 101 kilometers away
- The Laikipia Plateau 110 kilometers away
- Nairobi 131 kilometers away
- Loisaba Wilderness Conservancy 144 kilometers away
- Loita Hills 147 kilometers away
- Ol Lentille Conservancy 151 kilometers away
- Il Ngwesi Group Ranch 158 kilometers away
- Lewa Wilderness Conservancy 166 kilometers away
- Masai Mara National Reserve 172 kilometers away
- Borana Ranch 175 kilometers away
- Karisia Hills 180 kilometers away
- Samburu National Reserve 194 kilometers away
- Matthews Mountain Range 220 kilometers away
- Shaba National Reserve 229 kilometers away
- Meru National Park 238 kilometers away
- The Parks & Reserves of Northern Kenya 244 kilometers away
- Amboseli National Park 277 kilometers away
- The Chyulu Hills 313 kilometers away
- Tsavo West National Park 397 kilometers away
- The Parks & Reserves of Southern Kenya 398 kilometers away
- Tsavo East National Park 405 kilometers away
- Kenya's Northern Frontier 476 kilometers away
Accommodation choices for Lakes of the Great Rift Valley
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Lakes of the Great Rift Valley. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.