Lake Bogoria is a saline, alkaline lake that lies in a volcanic region
in a half-graben basin south of Lake Baringo, Kenya, a little south of
the equator. Lake Bogoria, like Lake Nakuru, Lake Elmenteita, and Lake
Magadi further south in the Rift Valley, and
Lake Logipi to the north,
is home at times to one of the world's largest populations of lesser
flamingos. The lake is a Ramsar site and
Lake Bogoria National Reserve
has been a protected National Reserve since November 29, 1973. Lake
Bogoria is shallow (about 10 m depth), and is about 34 km long by
3.5 km wide, with a drainage basin of [[1 E8 m2700 km2]].
Satellite image of
Lake Bogoria taken from World Wind.
Local features include the Kesubo Swamp to the north and the Siracho
Escarpment to the east, both within the National Reserve. The lake is
also famous for geysers and hot springs along the bank of the lake and
in the lake. In four locations around the lake can be observed at
least 10 geysers, which erupt up to 5 m high.
Geyser activity is
affected by the fluctuations of lake level, which may inundate or
expose some geysers.
The lake waters contain large concentrations of Na+, HCO3− and
CO32− ions. They originate from inflow from the
Sandai and Emsos
rivers, and from about 200 alkaline hot springs that are present at
three onshore sites: Loburu, Chemurkeu, and a southern group
(Ng'wasis, Koibobei, Losaramat). Other springs discharge directly from
the lake floor.
Lake Bogoria also contains the highest concentration
of true geysers in Africa (at least 18 are known). The lake waters are
alkaline (pH:10.5) and saline (up to 100 g/L total dissolved salts).
The lake has no surface outlet so the water becomes saline mainly
through evaporation, which is high in this semi-arid region. The lake
itself is meromictic (stratified) with less dense surface waters lying
on a denser more saline bottom waters. Although hypersaline, the lake
is highly productive with abundant cyanobacteria (Arthrospira
fusiformis) that feed the flamingoes, but few other organisms inhabit
the lake e.g. the monogonont rotifer species
Brachionus sp. Austria
(belonging to the
Brachionus plicatilis cryptic species complex) is
found in high densities.
The lake has not always been saline. Sediment cores from the lake
floor have shown that freshwater conditions existed for several
periods during the past 10,000 years, and that lake level was up to
about 9 m higher than its present level of about 990 m above
sea-level. At times it might have overflowed northward towards Lake
Baringo. At times, during the late
Pleistocene it might have been
united with a larger precursor of modern Lake Baringo, but this is
The lake area was the traditional home of the Endorois people, who
were forced to leave the area in the 1970s and are now challenging
their removal at the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.
Hotel accommodation is available near Loboi village at the north end
of the lake. Camping is permitted at the southern end of the lake (see
North Lewis, 1998, for details).
Lake Bogoria panorama.
Rift Valley Lakes
East African Rift
Rivers of Kenya
Geysers and Hot Springs, Lake Bogoria". Wondermondo.
Tiercelin, J.J. and Vincens, A. (Eds) 1987. Le demi–graben de
Baringo–Bogoria, Rift Gregory, Kenya: 30,000 ans d’histoire
hydrologique et sédimentaire. Bulletin des Centres de Recherches
Exploration-Production Elf-Aquitaine, v. 11, p. 249–540.
Renaut, R.W. and Tiercelin, J.-J. 1993. Lake Bogoria, Kenya: soda, hot
springs and about a million flamingoes. Geology Today, v. 9,
Renaut, R.W. and Tiercelin, J.-J. 1994. Lake Bogoria,
Valley: a sedimentological overview. In: Sedimentology and
Geochemistry of Modern and Ancient Saline Lakes. (Eds R.W. Renaut and
W.M. Last), SEPM
Special Publication, v. 50, p. 101–123.
North Lewis, M. 1998. A Guide to
Lake Baringo and Lake Bogoria.
Horizon Books. (ISBN 9966-868-17-8)
Harper, D.M., Childress, R.B.. Harper, M.M., Boar, R.R., Hickley, P.,
Mills, S.C., Otieno, N., Drane, T., Vareschi, E., Nasirwa, O.1,
Mwatha, W.E., Darlington, J.P.E.C., and Escuté-Gasulla, X. 2003.
Aquatic biodiversity and saline lakes:
Lake Bogoria National Reserve,
Kenya. Hydrobiologia, v. 500, p. 259-276.
Renaut, R.W. and Owen, R.B. 2005. The geysers of Lake Bogoria, Kenya
Rift Valley, Africa. GOSA Transactions, v. 9, 4–18.
Minority Rights Group on the Endorois and Lake Bogoria
Lakes of Kenya
Great Rift Valley, Kenya
Hills and escarpments
Southern Ewaso Ng'iro
Kerio Valley National Reserve
Lake Baringo National Park
Lake Bogoria National Reserve
Lake Nakuru National Park
Mount Kipipiri Forest Reserve
Kigio Wildlife Conservancy
Lake Naivasha National Park
Hell's Gate National Park
Mount Longonot National Park
Paleontological and Archeological Sites