Kerio Valley National reserve is located near the town of Iten, approximately 30 kilometres from the town of Eldoret. It is also about more than 6 hours drive from Nairobi. It is a protected area under the management of Kenya wildlife service in Kerio Valley a branch of the Great Rift Valley. The National reserve was established in 1983 and occupies a distance of 66 Square kilometres. This remote region lies between Cherengani hills and Tugen hills, the slopes of the valley is covered with semi tropical vegetation while the floor of the Valley is covered with short dry thorn bushes.

The best time of the year to visit is during the months of July and August when the rains have ended but the Reserve is booming green. It is also during this period that the region also experience favourable temperatures as it is not too hot.

The Kerio Valley National reserve is located to the west of the crocodiles-infested Kerio River and east of Lake Kamnarok. Kerio Valley has an elevation of 1000 metres , from North to south it has a length of 80 kilometres and a width of 10 kilometres. The community living around the reserve are the kalenjin ,who are herders and the have been human- wildlife conflict in the area especially the Elephants which sometimes break into their farms destroying crops.

River Kerio

River kerio is one of the longest flowing rivers in Kenya, it has it source originating near Equator before flowing Northwards into Lake Turkana.  River kerio has it source rising from the Amasya hills west of Lake Bogoria. It then flows Northwards  through the Kerio Valley between Tugen hills and Elgeyo Escarpment. The Elgeyo escarpments at some point rises  to over 1830 metres at some point it rises above the kerio Valley.

The kerio River flows north and sometimes through thick and narrow valley until it pours into lake Turkana through a delta which is formed south of the lake by lokichar and Turkwel rivers. Kerio and Turkwel rivers contribute 98% of the water in Lake Turkana. In their lower courses both these rivers are seasonal  that means they depend entirely on  the seasonal rainfall for it to flow throughout the year.

The left bank of the Kerio River which is approximately 25 kilometres is found in South Turkana National Reserve. There are established irrigation farms especially in the Turkana district, where they have made use of the water from the two rivers Turkwel and kerio River for irrigation purposes. Lotubai and Morulem are the irrigation schemes in kerio in which their main crops are Maize and sorghum which account to 80% of the irrigated crops. Others being  bananas,  cowpeas,  green grams, mangoes, guavas and Oranges. Kerio river is fed by other two tributaries flowing down Elgeyo Escarpment which are Arror river and Embobut river. 

Lake Kamnarok

Kerio Valley National reserve
Kerio Valley National reserve

Lake Kamnarok is named after a kalenjin word Narok which means a species of water plant that used to grow around the lake. The thick mash surrounding the lake makes it accessibility a challenge, it has a surface area of 1km² but it was expanded by flood and increasing its size. The lake has been in existence since 1961. The lake was gazetted in 1984 it is also the same period that the Kamnarok game reserve was established this region has quite a number with more than 500 elephants. There are some seasonal tributaries that feed the lake which include ketipborok, Cheplogoi ,Oiwo and Lelabei.

This is one of the Kenya’s  kept secret ,but has a lot to offer in terms of  breath-taking sceneries on your way to Kerio Valley National reserve. There is the “world end” view point at Nyaru ,with wonderful view . At Cheploch one of the most famous tourist attractions in the region ,receiving thousands of tourist each year majority of them being local tourists. Cheploch is a 20 metres deep gorge found between the borders of Elgeyo marakwet and Baringo counties of Kenya. The region is famous for its local divers ,who entertain visitors by diving in between the narrow gorge into the muddy crocodile infested water at a small fee. The Highlands too has plenty to explore among the many hills and ranges. From  Kerio Valley view point ,one can see all the way from Tugen hills to Lake Baringo .

The other hills is Cherengani hills, which unlike most of the hills and mountains in the region are not formed through volcanic. This is a birding heaven, and whether you are a serious ornithologist or a hobby birder, you should not miss the Cherangani. There are excellent bird guides available locally. Wildlife enthusiasts can also visit the nearby Saiwa Swamp National Park.This is one of the few parks that permits walking, and is an ideal place for a day’s hike. This wild country is home to many and varied species, the best known being the very rare Sitatunga.


The area is known for its limited large mammals , it is one of the regions in Kenya with the biggest population of Elephants. The main attractions of the reserve its large population of Elephants, with other animals found in the reserve are Impalas, gazelles, warthogs, Leopards, Hyenas, zebras, Giraffes, among other animals. It is less visited safari tour destination or game reserve in kenya and therefore experiences less traffic and no over crowding.


Being in a semi arid region, it is one of the best birding area in Kenya. Some of the famously seen birds in the region include; weaver birds,  helmeted guinea fowl, kori Bustard, Ground pangolin, Crested helmet ,eagles and hawks among other birds .

Best time to visit Kerio Valley National reserve

The most ideal and the best time to visit Kerio Valley National reserve is between the months of July and August .

Kerio is also  home to many of Kenya’s world famous runners. This is probably the finest place on earth for high altitude athletic training, and many international athletes visit training camps around Iten and Kaptagat.

But the real beauty of these Highlands lies in the solitude, peace, and isolation to be found in the hills. This is ideal walking, trekking

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