Easily one of the best regions in Africa for an encounter with the wild and the bush, the Great Rift Valley features a number of stunning sites, including dramatic mountains, and rolling hills, active volcanoes and gushing waterfalls, placid, blue lakes and protected national parks. In pursuit of the beauty that surrounds the Great Rift Valley one must stop at these top destinations:
Lying quite splendidly at the highest elevation point of the Kenyan Rift Valley, the freshwater Lake Naivasha holds an undeniable charm. Just a couple of hours drive from the capital city of Nairobi, Lake Naivasha invites travellers to seek refuge amidst its tranquil and lush environs, known for hosting a variety of bird, animal and plant life. It’s convenient to spot animals such as giraffes, zebras and hippos, drawn to the blue lake for nourishment. The stunning Elsamere Garden is the perfect place to rest and soak in your surroundings while sipping a glass of wine.
Hell’s Gate National Park
A whole world in its right, the Hell’s Gate National Park is one of the top sites in the Rift Valley for a memorable encounter with the African wilderness. Amongst a range of animal species that you can spot here are lions, leopards, buffalos, zebras and cheetahs. Over 103 species of birds, including vultures, Verreaux’s eagles, augur buzzard, and swifts are also found here. Complete with towering cliffs, gorges, rock towers, volcanoes and belching plumes of geothermal steam, the park is one of the best places in Kenya for hiking, bicycling, motorcycling and camping.
Standing at 2,776m above sea level, Mount Longonot dominates the landscape along the Nairobi Nakuru highway, making for a majestic spectacle. A popular weekend destination for tourists from Nairobi, the hike to the top of Mount Longonot, where a dormant crater sits, is one of the most rewarding experiences in Kenya. The 3.1 kilometre trail running from the entrance of the park to the rim of the crater has little to moderate level of difficulty for most part and can be covered by all kinds of hikers. The view from the rim of the crater is breathtaking as one can see the stark contrast between the blue of the sea and green of the lush vegetation as far as eyes can travel.
Lake Nakaru National Park
A paradise for birds and bird lovers, the Lake Nakaru National Park is a secure haven that houses over 400 species of indigenous as well as migrating birds. Amongst the most popular inmates of the park are the pink flamingos, great white pelican, greater blue-eared starling, hottentot teal, eastern imperial eagle and white-headed vulture. The park is a great game viewing spot as well, offering opportunities for spotting white rhinos, African buffaloes, rothschild giraffes, zebras, impalas, olive baboons and vervet monkeys. Besides the prolific fauna, the park is home to thick, lush vegetation as well as gushing waterfalls that add to the beauty.