Great Rift Valley
Created by major geological activity, The Great Rift Valley forms a wide trench down the length of Africa (about 8,700 kilometers long), from the Dead Sea in the Middle East, south through Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique.
Within Kenya, the Great Rift Valley includes a series of lakes, including Naivasha (freshwater) and Nakuru (soda). These same geological upheavals also resulted in the formation of volcanic mountains including Longonot and Mt Kenya. The scenery of the Rift Valley is spectacular. The approach, by road or rail, gently ascends the highlands, offering breathtaking views down into the lush green of the valley floor.
Situated 160km from Nairobi, Lake Nakuru is a soda lake below the cliffs of the Great Rift Valley. The high saline of the water sustains a rich population of algae and tiny crustaceans, which in turn, attract the many thousands of flamingos for which the lake has become famous. In addition to the pink flamingos, other residents of the Lake Nakuru National Park include rhinos, and carnivores such as lions and leopards.
By contrast, Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake, and is home to hippos and buffalos, as well as many different bird species, including fish eagles, herons, and cranes. The lake attracts a variety of other animal species, including herds of zebra, impala and giraffe.
Mount Kenya National Park
Mount Kenya is located 160 kilometers north of Nairobi, dominating the Kenyan Highlands, east of the Great Rift Valley. Formed a couple of million years ago, this now extinct volcano is protected by the Mount Kenya National Park.
Mount Kenya is Africa’s second highest mountain and has two main peaks – Batian (5200m) and Nelion (5188m). It offers easy or challenging ascents with superb scenic beauty. The mountain slopes are cloaked in a fascinating variety of flora, which changes with altitude from forest to bamboo, scrub and moorland, finally giving way to rock, ice and snow. Wildlife includes bushbuck, buffalo, elephant, black rhino, leopard, duiker, hyena, jackal, bush pigs, giant forest hogs and baboons. The forest canopy is home to colobus and Sykes monkeys. Birdlife is prolific.