Like a cult-like ritual, we have this norm where on a yearly basis a few of my friends and I pick a destination to visit around Kenya that’s affordable just to crown the academic year that was. Last year it was sinking our feet in the rough sand at the vast beaches of Diani, the year before was camping at Hells gate and this time round it was lake Bogoria; a suggestion from me. I had been to Lake Nakuru and Lake Baringo and even camped at Lake Elementaita all within less than 2 hour drive differences as they are located in Rift valley. However, never had I been to Lake Bogoria and as such it was the only natural choice. The experience was amazing! If you appreciate being close to nature then you will love a trip to this place. Standing at roughly two and half hours from Nakuru town, we started our journey at about 9 am in the morning. You could as well drive from Nairobi directly which is 266kmaway such that if you leave by 7.am then just like us by noon you will have arrived. The sun was burning its way through the clouds when we arrived at marigat; the town that hosts the glorious lake. After such a long drive we needed to first replenish before proceeding. This is a decision that I really appreciated as there are only few affordable places you could eat around the reserve. Payrus inn was the place we had our local dish of ugali and fish at only 5 dollars.
What to expect at Lake Bogoria upon arrival
I understand there are two entry points that you could use to the national reserve. There is one in the southern part of the lake called emsos and loboi in the north .We used the emsos one. At the gate you are required to pay an entrance fee of about 10 dollars for the locals and being students we paid slightly less. As for the international visitors the fee stands at about 50 dollars per person but definitely worth every penny. Upon payment of our fees we had to drive about 18km to get to the lake itself. This ride was bumpy for the roads here are without tarmac but surprisingly I found it exciting and interesting. It shook things up a bit. While I did not know what to expect at Lake Bogoria, I would never have imagined it such heaven. My whole afternoon was occupied with beautiful sights to see!
Flamingoes and more flamingoes at the lake
Have you ever imagined what a pink cloud in the sky would look like? its breadth stopping. This is what to expect at Lake Bogoria. The impression you will get after seeing the tens of thousands of birds all standing gracefully in one location and appearing to be picking things from the magnificent Kesubo swamp north of the lake is just incomparable. I had always known Lake Bogoria was home to myriads of birds from my geography classes in high school but never had I imagined such a huge number. In fact the number is said to go up to 2 million accommodating more than 135 different species of birds according to the world life fund for nature. This has to be heaven for anybody that is crazily obsessed with birds.
Lake Bogoria’s Geysers and hot springs
Aside from flamingoes, the other feature that defines this lake is geysers and hot springs. Most of the geysers are strategically located along the bank of the lake although I could spot some within the lake as well. The geysers are those points in the lake that you will notice boiling water with steam. I could spot at least 10 geysers with an eruption of about 4m high. I could also see some visitors bathe in the hot springs meaning it’s allowed. I could not do this though because the temperatures were somewhat high about 30 degrees. But we had some eggs with us so we took this chance to get surprised watching an egg boil in less than two minutes! It was quite hot around the geysers and hot springs thus I advise anybody visiting this place in Kenya to carry with them sunscreen.
Wildlife gracing the lake
While the geysers and the flamingoes form the big chunk of activities at the lake, there are other things too. There is a tone of wildlife and some I could spot while in the car were warthogs, gazelles, leopards, caracal amongst others. These however are not close to the lake thus you can comfortably walk around the lake without fear. In other parts of the reserve however, while you could walk or cycle, there is a point beyond which you cannot go past unprotected. Normally it’s beyond the springs for if you will insist on walking the wardens recommended you enlist the help of an armed ranger.
Hotel accommodation at Lake Bogoria
By the time we were done taking a plethora of pictures and taking in all that nature had to offer it was around 6. Pm and we were quite tired. A trip back to Nakuru was not something any of us were up for. It’s even more unrealistic if you came directly from Nairobi which is several hours away. We thus decided to spend the night in the accommodation options available. While there are not too many close to the reserve, you will not miss hotel accommodation. You could even drive to the little town of Marigat or Loboi village and take advantage of the cheap lodge accommodation going for as low as 10 dollars a night. At the reserve we had the choice of camping or spending at a hotel. In fact I could spot about three public campsites on the south area of the lake one whose name was conspicuous was figtree camp. Other option s for accommodation was payrus inn and Lake Bogoria resort and spa which we settled on.
Only natural spa in Kenya
After the long day I needed to unwind and what better way than a Jacuzzi! And this resort was just it! Apparently the spa in this resort is naturally heated a phenomenon that is unlike any other spa in Kenya. It was exciting! We booked ourselves into comfortable rooms at 50 dollars per head. Here we also had hot fresh food and a few drinks at the bar. In the morning we started off with hot spring geysers for a last sauna experience before getting ready for our drive back.
I have to say everything about this trip for me was therapeutic. The breathtaking views of Siracho escarpment, the flamingoes, the geysers, food and accommodation were fantastic! It was just what I needed to unwind after a long academic year