Fresh water lakes in Kenya : Kenya is home to numerous freshwater lakes. Among the famous ones is Lake Victoria, which is the second-biggest freshwater lake in the world and the largest freshwater lake in Africa. The other significant lakes in Kenya include Lake Ellis in Mount Kenya, Lake Mukunganya in Lamu, Lake Naivasha, and Lake Baringo, each of which has distinct qualities and importance. These lakes not only supply an important water resource, but also stunning scenery and  support a variety of ecologies.

Lake Victoria

African Great Lakes include Lake Victoria. With a surface area of roughly 59,947 km2 (23,146 sq mi), Lake Victoria is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area, the largest tropical lake, and the largest lake in Africa. Lake Superior in North America is the largest freshwater lake by surface area. Lake Victoria is the ninth-largest continental lake in the world by volume, with a total water volume of 2,424 km3 (1.965 109 acre-feet).A little depression in Africa is home to Lake Victoria. The lake’s highest depth is 80–81 m (262-266 ft), with a average depth of 40 m (130 ft). 169,858 km2 (65,583 sq mi) make up its catchment area. When the lake’s shoreline is digitised at the 1:25,000 scale, it measures 7,142 km (4,438 mi), with islands making up 3.7% of that length.

Three nations share the lake’s area: Kenya takes up 6% (4,100 km2; 1,600 sq mi), Uganda takes up 45% (31,000 km2; 12,000 sq mi), and Tanzania takes up 49% (33,700 km2; 13,000 sq mi).

Lake Victoria has several native such as Dholuo; Nam Lolwe; Luganda: ‘Nnalubaale; Kinyarwanda and Ukerewe. The lake was named Queen Victoria in 1858 by the explorer John Hanning Speke, who was the first Briton to record it. Speke was on an expedition with Richard Francis Burton. Many fish species that are unique to the lake, especially cichlids, call it home. Many endemic species have perished due to invasive fish, such the Nile perch.

Direct rainfall accounts for 80% of Lake Victoria’s water supply. Nearly twice as much water evaporates from the lake each year as does precipitation in riparian areas, at a rate of 2.0 to 2.2 metres (6.6 to 7.2 feet) per year. Thousands of minor streams and rivers also contribute water to Lake Victoria. With its mouth on the lake’s western shore, the Kagera River is the largest river that empties into it. On its northern side, close to Jinja, Uganda, the Nile River is the only waterway that drains Lake Victoria. The Sio, Nzoia, Yala, Nyando, Sondu Miriu, Mogusi, and Migori are the principal rivers in the Kenya region.

Wildlife around Lake Victoria

The area around Lake Victoria is home to a wide variety of animal species, some of which are intimately related to the lake and the neighbouring wetlands. The hippopotamus, African clawless otter, spotted-necked otter, Sitatunga, bohor reedbuck, defassa waterbuck, cane rats, and gigantic otter shrew are some of the animals.

Nile crocodiles, African helmeted turtles, variable mud turtles, and Williams’ mud turtles are all abundant in Lake Victoria’s wetlands. Lake Victoria and adjacent lakes, rivers, and marshes in the upper Nile basin are the only places where the Williams’ mud turtle may be found. African tetras (Brycinus), cyprinids (Enteromius, Garra, Labeo, Labeobarbus, Rastrineobola, and Xenobarbus), air breathing catfish (Clariallabes, Clarias, and Xenoclarias), bagrid catfish (Bagrus), loach catfish (Amphilius and Zaireichthys), silver butter catfish

The majority of species are unique to Africa as a whole, with the exception of the uncommon Xenobarbus and Xenoclarias, which are endemic to the lake, and the common Rastrineobola, which is nearly endemic.

Ferries across Lake Victoria have been a crucial mode of transportation between Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda since the early 1900s. Kisumu, Mwanza, Bukoba, Entebbe, Port Bell, and Jinja are the principal ports on the lake. The MV Victoria, the fastest and most modern ferry, was classified as a Royal Mail Ship until 1963. With the debut of MV Uhuru and MV Umoja in 1966, train ferry services between Kenya and Tanzania were started.

Lake Naivasha

Outside of the town of Naivasha in the Nakuru County, which is located to the northwest of Nairobi, sits Lake Naivasha, a freshwater lake in Kenya within the Great Rift Valley. The name is derived from the Maasai name for the area, ɛnaɨpɔ́sha, which means “that which heaves” and is a common Maasai term for bodies of water large enough to see wave action during windy or stormy conditions. The British started to say the Maasai name, Naivasha, and it arose.

At 1,884 metres (6,181 feet), Lake Naivasha is the highest point in the Kenyan Rift Valley. Its geological composition is a complicated mix of volcanic rocks and sedimentary deposits from a bigger Pleistocene Era lake. The lake is supplied by the perennial Malewa and Gilgil rivers in addition to ephemeral streams. Although there isn’t a visible outlet, it is believed that there is one because the lake’s water is relatively fresh.

Prior to 2010, the lake’s surface area was typically 139 square kilometres (54 square miles); by 2020, it had grown to 198 square kilometres (76 square miles). A marsh surrounds it, with a total area of 64 square kilometres (25 square miles), though this can change significantly depending on rainfall. The lake is 6 metres (20 feet) deep on average, with Crescent Island having the deepest water with a maximum depth of 30 metres (98 feet). Formerly the lake’s exit, Njorowa Gorge now stands high above the water and serves as Hell’s Gate National Park’s entrance. The town of Naivasha, originally known as East Nakuru, is located on the lake’s north-eastern shore.

Fresh water lakes in Kenya
Lake Naivasha

Lake Baringo

Lake Baringo, with a surface size of 130 square kilometres (50 square miles) and a height of 970 metres (3,180 feet), is the second-most northern lake in the Kenyan Rift Valley after Lake Turkana. The Molo, Perkerra, and Ol Arabel are just a few of the rivers that feed the lake. Without a clear outlet, it is speculated that the water seeps through lake sediments and into the fractured volcanic bedrock. It is one of the two freshwater lakes—the other being Lake Naivasha—in Kenya’s Rift Valley.

The largest of the several tiny islands in the lake is Ol Kokwe Island. A number of hot springs and fumaroles, some of which have produced sulphur deposits, may be found in Ol Kokwe, an extinct volcanic centre connected to the Korosi volcano to the north of the lake. At Soro, which is located not far from the island’s north-eastern corner, a number of hot springs emit along the shore.

Marigat is the largest town close to the lake, whereas Loruk and Kampi ya Samaki are smaller settlements. The region is located in the southern tip of a region of Kenya that is primarily populated by ethnic pastoralist groups such as the Il Chamus, Rendille, Turkana, and Kalenjin. There are lodging options (hotels, camping grounds, and self-catering cottages) nearby Kampi-Ya-Samaki on the western side, as well as on a number of the lake’s islands.

Lake Ellis

Lake Ellis is a fresh water lake found on the eastern shores of Mount Kenya 3,470m above sea level in Meru County. Anyone brave enough to travel to Lake Ellis will be captivated by its splendour. Additionally, it provides direct and clean air and breath-taking views of the summit.

Lake Mukunganya

Southeast Kenya’s Lamu County is home to Lake Kenyatta, commonly known as Lake Mukunganya.

Lake Mukunganya is about 2.5 kilometres (2 mi) southwest of the village of Mpeketoni, in Lamu County. It is about 50 kilometres (31 mi) away and about  30 minutes drive by car. Hippopotamus, zebra, monkey, waterbuck, buffalo, and warthog herds are among the animals that live around the lake. Also present here are numerous bird species.

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