Africa's Great Rift Valley is visible from space and is home to some of the most dramatic scenery on earth but it is in Kenya where the Rift Valley is truly on show.
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There is a place in Africa where the wound of a great rupture promises abundant life in its healing. It is a place of brooding mountains, of Great Plains and whispering lakes - a place that attracts a diversity of life to its wonders - and it was once believed to be the place of the birthplace of consciousness in mankind.
Echoes of our Past
Lakes of pink, mountains of the moon and plains of plenty are all part of this natural wonder we know today as the Great Rift Valley. It is a place that echoes our past, a place where the distant memories of our beginnings rise from the deep recesses of our sub-conscious and send shivers through the body.
But it is also a place of incredible beauty and this beauty is nowhere better illustrated than in the Kenyan Rift Valley lakes where wildlife is prolific and the birdlife beyond compare.
The Great Rift Valley stretches from the Arabian Peninsula down the continent into Southern Africa. Before entering Kenya the valley splits into the Western or Central African rift and the Eastern Rift which stretches through Kenya.
Eight lakes make up the Kenya Rift Valley Lake system, two of which are freshwater and the rest alkaline. The large flocks of flamingoes for which the Kenyan lakes have become famous are found on the alkaline soda lakes feeding on tiny crustaceans.
The eight lakes that make up the Kenya Rift Valley are:
- Lake Turkana - the world's largest alkaline lake and the furthest north of the Kenyan lakes
- Lake Logipi - shallow hot-spring fed soda lake south of Lake Turkana
- Lake Baringo - freshwater and the second largest of the Kenyan Rift Valley lakes,
- Lake Bogoria - shallow soda lake and now a national reserve
- Lake Nakuru - shallow soda lake and a national park since 1968
- Lake Elmenteita - shallow soda lake
- Lake Naivasha - freshwater and the highest of all the Rift Valley lakes at 1884 m above sea level.
- Lake Magadi - shallow soda lake near the southern border with Tanzania
There are four lakes in Tanzania that are part of the Rift Valley Lake system and they include the alkaline lakes Natron, Manyara, Eyasi and Makati
Although Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Elmenteita in Kenya have been gazetted as individual protected areas they collectively recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Kenya Lake System.