Away from the plus coast line is one of the most attractive geographical features of the country, there is more than half a million square kilometers of absolute marvel waiting for you if you look deeper into the country. The Rift Valley has so much to offer that we wouldn’t exhaust its marvels in a whole book. Here are some of the uncommon/unknown/unexplored sites that will leave you breathless… Iten View Point Iten is a small town located about 50km north of Eldoret town. Although it is well-known as the home of Kenya’s world-class athletes, it also owes its reputation for great viewpoints of the Rift Valley, a geographical feature in East Africa The view point is one of the highest altitudes closest to escarpment where visitors view Kerio Valley. As the tarmac road meanders downhill, you get a perfect view of spectacular natural landmarks including the valley, Lake Kamnarok, Kerio River which hosts deadly crocodiles, Tugen Hills and Cherangani Hills. The magically laid out fault steps, steep escarpments and valleys covered with acacia vegetation paint a magnificent picture. Iten viewpoint allows you to see more of the Great Rift Valley than any other place on the ground. In fact, you can only see more of the Rift Valley if you are on a plane.
Kerio Valley and Kerio valley National Reserve Kerio Valley, one of the landmark features of the Great Rift, descends 4,000 ft, and is near the towns of Eldoret and Iten, The magically laid fault steps, steep escarpment facing and valley extensively covered with acacia vegetation paints a magnificent land on the Kenya Rift Valley. The floor of the Kerio Valley is covered by dry thorn bushes while the slopes have semitropical vegetation. Kerio Valley National Reserve offers a spectacular view of the Kerio valley in Kenya. You can also view the Torok Falls as well as the Chebloch Gorge while at the Kerio Valley National Reserve in Rift Valley part of Kenya. For the lucky few who happen to visit the reserve, you can experience the elephant migration via the Rimgoi reserve in Kenya Wildlife population including elephants, leopards and buffaloes, yellow baboons, bush backs, waterbucks and warthogs can be seen in the park. Kerio River Kerio River occupies the lowest level in Kerio Valley and hosts deadly Crocodiles. How Kerio River formed is extraordinary and mythical, Tugen and Keiyo communities have grounds to believe that long time ago, the two had undying boundary conflict and so a god locally known as Ilat became angry with the ongoing wrangles and stricken hard on the ground to demarcate Keiyo land from Tugen land hence end the dispute.
Rimoi Game Reserve
Its home to thousands of species of Rift Valley’s flora and fauna. Gazetted in 1983, the reserve boasts a variety of animals including elephants, buffalos and dikdiks. There are also impalas, monkeys, baboons. Bird life is abundant and various, with weavers, sunbirds, pigeons, honey guides, hornbills and turacos particularly prevalent
Saiwa Swamp National Park
Saiwa Swamp National Park is a forested paradise filled with exotic flowers, trees and bird. Arguably the smallest National Park in the Country, Saiwa Swamp gives the visitors a great chance to see one of nature’s peculiar creatures, the Sitatunga antelope which is semi aquatic. You can also see the white bearded De Brazza’s monkey that can only be found in this region. Within this tropical wetlands and mosaic of riverine forest, sedges and acacia woodlands, with fringing dense rushes and grass bedsBird life is abundant. Water birds include the lesser jacana, grey heron and the African black duck while the forest shelters the Narina trogons, the collared and orange-tufted sunbird, the yellow bishop, Hatlaub’s marsh widow bird and the Noisy Ross’s turacos which are difficult to miss.
Kipkoikoi Rock On the cliff side near Tambach, there towers a mythical Kipkoikoi Rock, a fairly cylindrical tip-pointed rock with a tabular platform at the foot. Our forefathers quips that Kipkoikoi Rock was a Holy Shrine of Keiyo people. This is where they used to offer sacrifices to Supreme Being locally known as Asis. They would pour some milk or lay some green grass on the tabular rock beside Kipkoikoi and have their sins forgiven and fortune go their way. It is also bluntly believed that none would dare climb up to top of such rock, or else it befalls on him or her.
About 15 miles away from Iten town downhill, you’ll never hesitate to stop at Kolol Viewpoint. The tarmac road curves at a fairly level platform that provides an open view of fascinating Torok waterfall on escarpment on the South West direction and diminishing Lake Kamnarok. Just ahead, lays a ‘snake-like’ tarmac road meandering down to Chebloch Gorge on Kerio River before leading to Kabarnet town.
The Cherangani Hills
They are the fourth highest mountain range in Kenya and include rolling hills as well as dramatic mountain peaks, and forms the highest, most breathtaking and spectacular escarpments of the Rift Valley. Unlike most of Kenya’s mountains and ranges, the Cherangani Hills are not volcanic in origin. They are centred upon a forested escarpment and surrounded on three sides by sheer cliff faces. They are criss-crossed by walking paths, and ease of direction and undemanding slopes make this excellent country for relaxing hill walking. The paths cross open farmland, pass through sheltered valleys and wind their way up to forested peaks. All the main routes cross the 3000m contour, with decreased oxygen supplies
Cherangani Hills Forest
This is a collection of thirteen forest reserve blocks on the western ridge of The Great Rift Valey. The forested area is about 1,200 square kilometres. These forests form the upper catchments of the Kerio and Nzoia and Turkwel rivers. Attractions include, Beautiful Landscapes and scenery, Plenty of wildlife and bird watching.
Popping from approximately five kilometers off the range of Cherangany hills is a huge, steep, rocky and extraordinary mountain..A Mountain barring an extraordinary narrative of its origin spanning lots of generations ago. Mt. Kipteber strategically sits on the Elgeyo/Marakwet- Pokot counties borderline
This gorge was cut down into the hard, basalt rock by the power of the Kerio River itself. When in flood, the river increases tremendously in height and volume and carries a heavy load of fine, highly-abrasive silt which grinds down the river bed. Steel beams of the old colonial-age bridge are close by and in place to offer a perilous perch from which to view the gorge. Below the bridge, usually about 20m below, much less in the rainy season, are the muddy brown, crocodile-infested waters of the Kerio River. Young boys with primitive fishing rods compete with the crocodiles for the mudfish and catfish that are seasonally abundant.
The Chalbi Desert
Chalbi desert is located in northern Kenya, east of Lake Turkana. Chalbi in the local Gabbra language means “bare and salty.” It is among the hottest and most regions in Kenya, a salty pan surrounded by volcano and lava flows . Amazingly, you might still come across oryx, ostrich or even endangered Grevy zebra galloping across the great, shimmering whiteness. After the rains, the bone dry land turns into a shallow lake. On its northern fringes, where the wind piles up sand dunes, a chain of oases nourishes vast palm grooves.
Chyulu Hills is located in Eastern Kenya, a mountain range that forms a 100Km long volcanic field. This destination is one of the prettiest places in Kenya, seeing the enchanted land of black frozen lava speckled with flaring poker trees is really something special. Ancient and new volcanic cinder cones and craters dot the landscape with black lava flow spilling down their flanks. Chyulu Hills provide to nature lovers. Large mammals include buffalo, bushbucks, elands, elephants, leopards, giant forest hogs, bush pigs, reedbucks and giraffes along with various reptiles and insects. Horse riding, camping, mountain climbing and bird watching can be enjoyed in this hidden part of paradise.
Kapsowar Kapsower is a beautiful small town located in Rift Valley Province, Kenya. It’s a picture-perfect town; filled with quaint charm, crisp breeze and amazing scenic beauty. It’s one of the best places to explore the most breathtaking landscapes and unique attractions such as charming flowing rivers, herds of cows and gorgeous hills.
One of the largest lakes in Africa, and the planet’s biggest permanent lake in a desert, Turkana lies in the Rift Valley, mostly in northern Kenya but with the tip running into southern Ethiopia. It is a spectacular place with some extraordinary landscapes, jade coloured waters, plentiful crocodiles, and incredible populations of massive Nile perch. It’s surrounded by some of the harshest terrain on earth where, somehow, some of the toughest but most delightful people manage to live too.
The Loita Hills are one of Kenya’s last remaining true wilderness areas which form an important part of the Maasai Mara Ecosystem. There are pockets of remote forests, wide open plains surrounded by the stunning hillsides. The escarpment is dotted with abundant wildlife and has a rich variety of different bird species. You can take a walking safari into the hills. Local people and their donkeys carry the luggage and the camp, leaving you free to explore the beauty of the hills and forests. Walking with people who live here is the best way to do it, and you’ll learn a huge amount about life in such a beautiful and remote place, one that’s truly off the map.
Olorgesailie pre-historic site is world renown as the “factory of stone tools” and the only place in the world with the largest number. The prominence and accumulation of human tools represents actual camping places of early men and evidence that human species had a tropical origin. The site is in a lake basin that existed about 100,000 to 200’000 years ago. Olorgesailie has excellently preserved biological and cultural evidence about the evolution of man. This was made possible by heavy falls of alkaline volcanic ash from the nearby Mt. Suswa and Mt. Longonot, which might have contributed much to the accumulated ash in the lake basin.
A true hidden gem, Mount Suswa is an excellent destination to add to your wish list, especially if you like camping. Another inactive volcano in the Rift Valley, Mount Suswa boasts a unique double-caldera, with an outer crater surrounding a second, inner peak. Hire local Maasai guide to help you find the road up to the crater, its isolation is a big part of Mount Suswa’s appeal. Its zigzagging hike along the outer crater rim will give you exceptional views of the volcano. Drive around the caldera to find Suswa’s famous lava tube caves and hike down into the caverns, which are full of bats, stalactites, and some interesting cave drawings of dubious origins. Not for the faint of heart, and not for those without a 4WD, Mount Suswa is a badge you’ll wear with honor.
Koobi Fora Historic Sites
Koobi Fora in the local language, means a place of the commiphora a source of myrrh, which is a common plant in this hot and arid area. The rich sedimentary rocks have yielded more than 10,000 Vertebrate and Hominid fossils. Most interesting here is a Stone Age burial site.
Loiyangalani Desert Museum
This museum was built on a bluff with a backdrop of Lake Turkana, the “Jade Sea.” The name Loiyangalani means “a place of many trees” in the native Samburu language. The museum is hosted in this area by the El Molos, an almost extinct community in Kenya.
Kapedo hot springs
Two boiling hot waterfalls that plunge over a small escarpment before merging with Suguta river! Kapedo itself is a picturesque village where traditional grass thatched huts prevail. The surrounding has also a lot of charm with Silali volcano to the east and Tiati hills to the west which both are a rewarding hiking terrain. After walking the hills you can treat your tired legs with a swim in the huge bathing tub of Mother Nature, the warm waters of Suguta river. Whether you prefer it boiling hot or lukewarm, you will find the right water temperature depending on how close you are to the merger of the hot streams with Suguta river!