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Lake Magadi, The Great Rift Valley Lakes, Kenya Destinations

Dry Crusted Lake Magadi Bed, The Great Rift Valley Lakes, Kenya Destinations 

 Deep in the heart of Southern Kenya’s Maasai land and north of Tanzania's Lake Natron is the unearthly Lake Magadi a shallow alkaline lake and one of the hottest places in Kenya. This 104 sq km soda lake is completely surrounded by vast natural salt flats. It is a wild area with a number of Maasai communities, after the Salton Sea in the USA. Scenery is dramatic, there is only one small but spectacular lodge luxury – this is a place for the truly adventurous.

The lake water is a dense sodium carbonate brine, precipitates vast quantities of the mineral trona (sodium sesquicarbonate). In places, the salt is up to 40 m thick. The lake is recharged mainly by saline hot springs (temperatures up to 86°C) that discharge into alkaline "lagoons" around the lake margins, there being little surface runoff in this arid region. Most hot springs lie along the northwestern and southern shorelines of the lake. During the rainy season, a thin (<1 m) layer of brine covers much of the saline pan, but this evaporates rapidly leaving a vast expanse of white salt that cracks to produce large polygons. A single species of fish, a cichlid Alcolapia grahami, inhabits the hot, highly alkaline waters of this lake basin and is commonly seen in some of the hot spring pools around the shoreline, where the water temperature is less than 45°C.

The sweltering hot plains prevent any animals reaching the alkaline lake at its centre and for this reason; thousands of flamingo descend on the lake each year to nest on elevated mud mounds at the lake’s edge safe from any potential predators.

Freshwater springs at the Lake’s shore also attract a host of other birds’ especially migratory ones.

Magadi township lies on the lake's east shore, and is home to the Magadi Soda factory, that produces soda ash, which has a range of industrial uses from glass making to making chemicals.

A journey to Magadi is to enter another world. The baking salt plains stretch into horizons of shimmering heat haze, while the shallow lake heaves with the pink waves of nesting flamingo. The otherworldly atmosphere is compounded by the intense heat and the isolation.

Many visitors come to Magadi specifically for its birdlife, Hot springs and unique scenery. Magadi is often the final destination for treks from the Nguruman escarpment, the Shompole Conservation Area or the Loita hills.

Proximity to Nairobi means that trekkers can leave the heat of Magadi behind and ascend 1000 meters to the highland cool of the capital…


Why Visit Lake Magadi, The Great Rift Valley Lakes, Kenya.

  • Visit the second largest soda ash producer in the world.
  • The dramatic and spectacular scenery.
  • To see the breading and nesting place of the flamingoes.
  • Visit one of the best places to migratory birds.
  • For the hot springs that spring out from the lakes shores.
  • To undertake walking treks from the Nguruman escarpment, the Shompole Conservation Area or the Loita hills.

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