Lake Elmenteita wildlife sanctuary

Lake Elmenteita is a soda lake in the great rift valley which is about 120km northwest of Nairobi Kenya, lying between lake Naivasha and lake Nakuru on Kenya’s alkaline lakes, set within the eastern portion of the rift valley. It was setup 12 million years ago and today the lake is part of the private Soysambu conservancy and it is less visited compared to other national parks which gives a private environment and solitude in a wonderous volcanic landscape.

Lake Elmenteita National Park is covering an area of 32 square kilometers a lesser-known gem in the Rift Valley, centering around Lake Elmenteita known for its seasonal flamingo populations and an essential stopover for migratory birds. The area around Lake Elmenteita has been a focus of conservation efforts for many years and it was designated as a conservation area to protect its biodiversity and the various bird species that rely on the lake.

The park is also significant for its role in providing a habitat for lesser flamingos, which flock to the lake during their breeding season, and it is a haven for bird enthusiasts which are over 450 bird species that have been recorded, including pelicans, storks, cormorants, and flamingos. It also hosts plains game which include; zebras, giraffes, and a variety of antelope species, providing ample opportunities for wildlife viewing.

The Kenya’s lake Elmenteita is within 48,000-acre conservancy serving as a sanctuary for threatened colobus monkeys, endangered Rothschild giraffes, plains game, elusive predators, Avi fauna with other many species. The terrain offers volcanic hills, acacia woodlands, grassy plains and stands of Warburgia fever trees and euphorbia candelabra. Tourists who travel across the diverse landscapes during their safari activities, they may come across craters, lava flows, plugs and other remnants in the region’s rich volcanic history, with odd geometric patterns created by erosion process in highly porous soil.

Lake Elmenteita is globally recognized as a natural treasure that must be preserved, protected and also appreciated despite of the fewer mammalian species than other areas in east Africa, more than 15,000 animals roam in the conservancy. Species that are commonly seen when you visit the area include; steinboks, duikers, bush pigs, bushbucks with other fauna. The lake is also a home to tufted eared caracal, golden and striped jackals and other smaller predators.



The sanctuary has numerous different activities that tourists on their safari may do due to the different attractions within the area for example; birdwatching, nature walks, picnics. The park is one of the beautiful wildlife safari destinations in Kenya that travelers can visit for a number of activities.



Since the national park’s shores and wetlands provide ideal habitats for bird species both resident and migratory, you will have a bird walk where you will identify different species like feral lovebird, avocet, black tailed godwit, black heron, glossy ibis and a lot more. Birdwatching is the primary safari activity in Lake Elmenteita National Park.  Besides birds, at the southern end of the lake, there are Kekopey hot springs with lake Magadi tilapia breed and the reed beds that are nearby are fishing grounds for night herons and pelicans.


Nature Walks:

Nature walks are one of the best ways to explore the sanctuary in details which take you through woods, grasslands and scenic views of lake Elmenteita with all its surroundings. Tourists will also look out on various wildlife on their nature walk in the sanctuary making it the only way to get close to nature on foot with an experienced naturalist beginning from the camp through sprawling acacia thickets on the lake shores. The nature walk brings all the desired attention of natural happenings like; identifying tracks of wildlife, geology, native plants identifications and their medical uses, birding with an expert and the cover of diverse habitats ensures maximum achievement of content.


Quad biking

This is one of the unique activities to do in Elmenteita sanctuary and can be enjoyed by tourists on the lake side where you get a chance to test your driving skills on the shores while enjoying game views sceneries of the lake, with various aquatic wildlife including large flocks of pink flamingos.


Bush meals experience.

Tourists enjoy this unique activity which include; bush dinner experience, in an inspiring beauty of Soysambu conservancy as you appreciate a delectable meal in the wild from breakfast by the shores of lake Elmenteita to relaxed BBQ dinner in the bush and it is mostly done in Elmenteita serena camp.


Game viewing

The reserve is a home of endangered Rothschild giraffes, and white and black colobus monkeys. It also hosts a good standing population of the three big five family namely; lions, leopards and buffalos. The morning and evening game drives offer guests a chance to get out of the vehicle and walk in the wild. The 4×4 cruisers are driven by experienced naturalists ensuring comfort and optimum game viewing experience throughout the drive.




By road

The sanctuary is a soda lake in eastern part of the Kenyan rift valley lying approximately 120km northwest of Nairobi Kenya, covering an area of 18km2 at an elevation of 1,670 meters in shadow of an imposingly peaked hill known as Sleeping Maasai. This national park can be accessed through nderit gate of lake Nakuru national park via Nairobi Nakuru highway. This gate is less known unless they are using it to access Nakuru national from Masai Mara or Elmenteita national park.


By Air

The nearest airstrips around the park include; Nakuru and Soysambu airstrip which is a bird’s haven and a bird area, Ramsar site and a world heritage site providing essential habitat to one or more species of breeding, wintering or migrating birds with some hot water springs.


What is the best time to visit the park?


The best months to visit the national park are July to October and January to February which are dry seasons allowing your activities not to be impacted by wet roads which may make it hard toss traverse during the rain seasons. In these months, water sources tend to be limited making animals come and gather on the remaining water holes creating a better wildlife viewing with a variety of species in the area.

These months are most used by tourists to plan their safaris making the activities in the park more enjoyable in these dry seasons for example; nature walks, game drives giving access to a variety of animals, and also the great wildebeest migration that happens annually in Masai Mara national park.


Where to stay on your safari at Lake Elmenteita National Park

Lake Elmenteita National Park is a haven for birdwatching and wildlife enthusiasts, known for its flamingos and diverse bird species. There are several excellent accommodation options in the vicinity of the park to suit various preferences and budgets. Here are some great places to stay while exploring Lake Elmenteita National Park:



  1. Serena Elmenteita Luxury Camp:

Serena Elmenteita Luxury Camp is a high-end tented camp located on the shores of Lake Elmenteita, offering luxurious accommodations and stunning views of the lake, and guests can enjoy birdwatching, guided nature walks, and relaxing by the lake. The camp features a swimming pool, a restaurant, and a bar and offers modern comforts of a five-star facility blending seamlessly with the rich history and culture. The camp has a beautiful central dinning room and lounge offering buffet style and la carte fare for breakfast, with lunch consisting of appetizing dishes.


  1. Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp:

The camp is located on the shores of Kenya’s sparkling lake Elmenteita with in soysambu wildlife conservancy and it is a luxury camp, featuring elegant tented accommodation and best service with a friendly environment and it is 135km from Nairobi. The camp offers deluxe double tents with one king bed with a balcony offering beautiful views of the lake, with Wi-Fi, bathroom with double vanities and a shower, with deluxe twin tents featuring two twin beds with a balcony, Wi-Fi and a shower. The camp also has a flamingo suite with separate bedroom and lounge featuring a television and a mini fridge, bathroom with a large jacuzzi with views of Elmenteita lake.


  1. 4. Sunbird Lodge:

This is an ecofriendly luxury lodge located in great rift valley one of the natural wonders in the world, 127km from Nairobi, on a very good private access road at the shore of lake Elmenteita. It is on a private land with no park or conservation fee addition, 20 minutes to Nakuru national park on 55 acres of private land overlooking lake Elmenteita. The lodge consists of 16 cottages spread out 9 cottages on the upper level and 7 on the lower level. The lodge has classic cottages which are 55m2 in size with large verandas and spectacular views of the lake, premium suites which are 110m2 in size with a fire place in a spacious living room and a huge veranda with views.




Lake Elmenteita mountain lodge

This lodge is located 1400 feet above UNESCO world heritage site of lake Elmenteita with a blend in an African style lodge. The pool offers panoramic views of the rift valley and lake Elmenteita. The lodge offers deluxe suite, executive suite and family suite.


Sirville lake Elmenteita lodge

This is a small mid-range lodge located on the shoreline of lake Elmenteita, ideal for people who want a peaceful getaway from the hassle and bustle of the city. It is suitable for birdwatchers, trekkers and hiking. The lake is surrounded with birds which ae resident and migratory and they can be seen moving around with binoculars.




Eagles point camp.

The camp offers an amazing view which overlook lake Elmenteita, with hosts who are friendly and welcoming. The camp is suited in Gilgil giving a restaurant, security, a bar, garden, a sun terrace, fire camp and a Wi-Fi. Each unit in the camp contains a balcony with mountain views, a television, a seating area with a well fitted kitchen with a private bathroom and the camp ground offers children’s playground.


Elmenteita Banda’s retreat and resort.

The is located near Nairobi Nakuru highway 1.6km from Kariandusi pre-historic site, offering best interaction with mother nature located in a safe walking distance to lake Elmenteita and Gilgil hills. The resort has 4 self-contained cottages, 7 guestrooms with variety of tents which come in different sizes ranging from individual to group tents. The resort also gives onsite bar, open kitchen restaurant with African cuisines, conference rooms, perfect environment for weddings, private parties among others.