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Lake Bogoria, wild and unexplored

Judith Kemei @PeopleDailyKe

As we ride through the hilly adventurous terrain inside Lake Bogoria Game Reserve with Senior Warden James Kimaru, we learn how the lake is backed by the bleak Siracho Escarpment. About halfway along the lake, natural hot springs and geysers spew hot mud and water from the earth’s belly.

“The lake has hosted millions of birds, which flew in two months ago and we hope they will not flee back to Lake Natron in Tanzania,” says the warden.  “The arrival of many flamingo birds in the lake increases the number of local and international tourists coming to the reserve,” he adds.  Lake Natron is a popular maternity and nursery abode for flamingos. 

The managers of the reserve are anticipating that many tourists will tour the lake during the forthcoming high season to view hot springs and wildlife.   According to Kimaru, Lake Bogoria has the highest concentration of true geysers in Africa.

It is these jets of steam and boiling water and the masses of pink flamingos on the fringes of the lake that leave the most lasting of impressions on visitors.

Located only 25km from Marigat town, the reserve is best known for hot springs, geysers and flamingos. The lake is fed by two rivers Emsos and Sandai, with more than 200 alkaline hot springs, but lacks a surface outlet.

In the warm alkaline shallows near the shoreline, blue-green algae flourish, which gives the water a greenish colour.  This is food for the flamingos.

The conservation park covers 114 square kilometres, with the lake occupying 34 square kilometres. The remaining terrain is a combination of jagged rock and jungle, including acacia-fichus woodlands on the southern shore and papyrus swamps on the northern shore. The isolated wooded area at the lake’s southern end is home to rarely seen leopards, klipspringers, gazelles and caracals.

Kimaru said the volcanic-enriched soil supports a number of plant species that provide food to forest hogs, baboons, pata monkeys and other grazers and foragers. “Inside the reserve is Waseges River, which is the primary source of fresh water which the wild animals use to quench their thirst,” he added.

A five-minute drive from the game reserve is Lake Bogoria Spa Resort, the only spa resort in Kenya with a naturally heated Spa pool. The manager, Lydia Dentewo welcomed us with refreshments as her staff assisted me check into my room.

After lunch the manager took me around the resort. I came across an old fashioned building that houses the main block with guest rooms. At the one end of the compound there were cottages and beyond them lay a plain field and well-manicured gardens where visitors can pitch tents.

Amidst the grass-thatched shades is a sports club where revellers can watch their favourite teams battle on TV screens while enjoying succulent goat meat.

The resort is also a bird-watching site where you can see gobar goshawks, cape wigeons, starlings, hornbills and ostriches, among others. Bird nests all around the trees near the hotel add to the natural feel.

In December, the resort hosts cultural festivals, which feature song and dance from local communities. “We also organise Easter celebrations in April and caravans, which take guests on a sightseeing tour of birds, animals, community cultural presentations, hiking and picnic,” Lydia said.

The resort offers a wide choice of accommodation. “Our rooms are designed to suit diverse client segments ranging from international tourists to locals, families, corporates and individuals,” she said.

Apart from its elegant cottages, Lake Bogoria Spa Resort is ideal for business retreats, team building, meetings and conferencing. The resort has two pools the cold-water pool and the warm water pool is believed to be therapeutic.

“The warm water heals cracks in the skin and is equivalent to visiting a natural spa,” said Lydia.  “Instead of spending much in sauna you can just come and swim in this God-given warm water for free and you will be fine,” Lydia added.   

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