The Great Rift Valley is a huge attraction for those on a luxury safari in Kenya or Tanzania – it is every bit as beautiful as one imagines and the sizes of the lakes and escarpments cannot be sniffed at. Many of these lakes and escarpments also provide havens for plentiful wildlife and this is what also attracts discerning luxury safari goers. The bird life on the lakes is phenomenal and you may be lucky to see hundreds of flamingos, wading happily near hippos and other game species. Here are our top five Great Rift Valley Lakes:
Lake Naivasha, Kenya
Lake Naivasha is often overlooked in favour of Lake Nakuru, but Lake Naivasha is more exclusive, more remote and bigger – you don’t get the number of people you often find in Nakuru and will have wonderful days spent on boats watching pelicans and storks fly over you. Hippos are here in great abundance and lazy days are spent enjoying the tranquillity of such a huge area of water.
Lake Elementaita, Kenya
Lake Elementaita is seriously beautiful, although there are no extremely luxurious places to stay you can stay in small personal lodges and feel that you are in the middle of no where. It is located between Naivasha and Nakuru and certainly doesn’t disappoint when it comes to birdlife. Here you can enjoy feeling like you’ve experienced something that not many others have.
Lake Manyara, Tanzania
Now this is a tricky one, it’s lovely to go into Lake Manyara National Park but it is often quite busy with tourists and minibuses. The Lake is overlooked by a huge escarpment which is exceptionally scenic and the flamingos make for wonderful photos. We recommend staying somewhere like Manyara Ranch or Chem Chem, both of these private concessions border Lake Manyara but as they are totally private you don’t have the crowds you have once in the park itself. Lake Manyara is undeniably beautiful and very charming with its small size and abundance of flamingos, hippos and elephant.
Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania
This is one of the most remote lakes you will find anywhere in the world. Bordered by Zambia, Burundi and the Congo, as well as the mind blowing Mahale Mountains it really doesn’t get more remote or wild than this. The lake is home to 350 species of tropical fish and is the longest freshwater lake in the world, and the second deepest. You will spend days tracking chimps in the Mahale Mountains, or lazing on boats, having stunning sundowners in one of the most remote paradises on earth.
Lake Victoria, Tanzania & Kenya
Lake Victoria is vast, and provides a huge fishing industry for local people who have lived this way of life for hundreds of years. Highlights on Lake Victoria are staying on any one of the few luxury lodges which are located on islands, and offer a true Robinson Crusoe experience that very few will have had before you. Some of the islands even have elephants on them, as well as amazing bird life and a chance to learn about the local fishermen from an authentic perspective.