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 hour's 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 itinerary featuring Lakes of the Great Rift Valley
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 62 miles away
- Ol Pejeta Conservancy 63 miles away
- The Laikipia Plateau 69 miles away
- Nairobi 81 miles away
- Loisaba Wilderness Conservancy 90 miles away
- Mara Naboisho Conservancy 90 miles away
- Mara North Conservancy 91 miles away
- Loita Hills 91 miles away
- Ol Lentille Conservancy 94 miles away
- Il Ngwesi Group Ranch 98 miles away
- Lewa Wilderness Conservancy 103 miles away
- Masai Mara National Reserve 107 miles away
- Borana Ranch 109 miles away
- Karisia Hills 112 miles away
- Samburu National Reserve 121 miles away
- Matthews Mountain Range 137 miles away
- Shaba National Reserve 142 miles away
- Meru National Park 148 miles away
- The Parks & Reserves of Northern Kenya 152 miles away
- Amboseli National Park 173 miles away
- The Chyulu Hills 195 miles away
- Tsavo West National Park 247 miles away
- The Parks & Reserves of Southern Kenya 247 miles away
- Tsavo East National Park 252 miles away
- Kenya's Northern Frontier 296 miles away
Photos of Lakes of the Great Rift Valley
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.