Baringo County is generally an unexplored Kenyan tourist destination. With many of us opting to travel down to the coast or set up camp in Naivasha, it is not surprising that there aren’t many local tourists going up to the famous Rift Valley escarpments.
So why should you?
Baringo County is situated at the heart of the Rift Valley escarpment, offering cool and temperate weather conditions throughout the year. Surrounded by hills and lakes on either side of its borders, the people of Baringo maintain the rich culture of this area. With an estimated population of about half a million, a majority of its occupants are the Njemps, Tugen and Pokot people.
Baringo is not just a destination; it’s a cultural experience, an illustration of the true Kenyan spirit through the indigenous communities still present and the welcoming nature of their people.
What to do while in Baringo
- Visit Lake Baringo and Bogoria
Lake Baringo is one of the two freshwater lakes in Kenya. It serves as a habitat for several freshwater fish species and has several small islands including Ol Kokwe which has several hot springs – a popular site at the lake.
A few kilometres west of the lake lay the Tugen Hills, an important archaeological and paleontological site dating and hosting fossils from different historical periods.
Lake Bogoria, on the other hand, is a saline lake and is home to the largest population of lesser flamingos. The lake also has geysers and hot springs, similar to those in Baringo and is home to the Lake Bogoria National Reserve.
- Visit the Kerio Valley National Reserve
This area lies between the Cherangani Hills and the Tugen Hills and is popular for its high number of elephants, birdlife and beautiful yet dramatic scenery. Protected by the Kenya Wildlife Service, this part of Kerio Valley is natural in its habitats and sites; with elephant migrations, the Rimoi reserve and Torok falls.
Tourists also paraglide above the valley to really enjoy the scenic site.
- Visit the Kabarnet Museum
Opened in 1996, the Museum showcases the Rift Valley people, their culture and environment as well as hosting several indigenous archaeological and paleontological sites. The public galleries feature indigenous knowledge on the people of this district including the Keiyo/Marakwet, Samburu, Pokot and Kipsigis.
The Museum is located near both lakes [Baringo and Bogoria] and the Tugen Hills.
With outdoor features such as a playground and a park, there is ample space for outdoor activities for the entire family or for your group of friends.
Where to Stay?
There is a wide array of hotels within Baringo that offer adequate accommodation at affordable prices.
I set up camp at the Soi Safari Lodge which is strategically placed next to a small lake and offers the best amenities including free internet, a swimming pool and a bar and lounge. With different rates depending on the type of room and the duration of stay, Soi offered serenity and ambience in the heart of Baringo. You can also book [a] room[s] online through Trip Advisor.
Other spots include Kibelion Hotel, Sandai Resort and Island Camp Baringo – all available for booking on Trip Advisor.
You can travel up to Baringo with your family, friends or solo, either option making for a great road trip and a great relaxing yet learning experience. So why not pack up a bag and see some new sites?
It might be a long trip so here is 14 ways to ensure your safety as you journey.