Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley

  • Country: Kenya
  • Related Congress: 13th Congress, Dakar

Bogoria, Nakuru and Elementaita are three lakes that constitute the Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley, Kenya. The system covers an area of about area of 32,034 hectares and is home to thirteen globally threatened bird species, over 100 species migratory birds. Billions of birds which fly from Africa to Asia and back to Africa during different seasons use the three lakes as a breeding zone. The system also supports globally important populations of Black-Necked Grebe, African Spoonbill, Pied Avocet, Little Grebe, Yellow Billed Stork, Black Winged Stilt, Grey-Headed Gull and Gull Billed Tern. The system is also a major nesting and breeding ground for the great white pelican as well as a habitat for mammal species like the black rhino, Rothschild’s giraffe, greater kudu, lion, cheetah and wild dogs. Great Rift Valley is placed on a landscape of major tectonic and volcanic processes creating interesting landforms in the area, hot springs, geysers and the steep escarpment of the Rift Valley with its volcanic outcrop.

Archaeologically, the system gives an insight into the evolution and development of Hominid species and the site’s significance came with discovery of Nakalipithecus nakayamai, a Miocene ape discovered ion a fossil bed known as Nakali, approximately 40 km west of Maralal. A total of 11 fragments were found including a right mandibula fragments which is important in our comprehension of evolution as teeth offer more information than any other skeleton. The species diversity of Great Rift Valley system led to its declaration as a protected area. It is being protected from external features such as soil erosion, increased abstraction of water in the catchment, degradation of land, deforestation, growth in human settlements, overgrazing, wildlife management, tourism and pollution caused by growing populations in Nakuru town and other nearby areas.

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