Bird watching in Lake Baringo

Bird watching in Lake Baringo, Kenya : Bird watching in Lake Baringo is a delightful Kenya wildlife safari experience for nature enthusiasts and bird lovers. Lake Baringo is located in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya and is renowned for its rich avian diversity. Here’s some information to help you make the most of your bird-watching adventure:

Getting There

Lake Baringo is approximately 270 kilometers (168 miles) northwest of Nairobi. You can reach the lake by road. The nearest town is Marigat, which is around 14 kilometers (9 miles) from the lake.

By Road: Lake Baringo is approximately 270 kilometers (168 miles) northwest of Nairobi. You can travel by road from Nairobi, which takes around 4-5 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. The route typically involves driving through Nakuru and then heading north towards Marigat, the nearest town to Lake Baringo.

If you choose to travel by road, it’s recommended to have a reliable vehicle, as some parts of the road may be rough or unpaved. It’s also a good idea to have a map or GPS navigation system to ensure you stay on the correct route. Additionally, be aware of any current travel advisories or road conditions before your trip.

Once you reach Marigat, you can arrange for transportation to Lake Baringo. Many lodges and accommodations in the area provide pick-up services from Marigat or can help arrange transportation for you.

Remember to plan your travel well in advance, considering the time it takes to reach Lake Baringo and any specific requirements or preferences you may have for your journey.

Best Time to Visit

The birdlife at Lake Baringo is excellent year-round, but the ideal time for bird watching is during the dry season, which typically runs from January to March and July to October. During this period, the water levels are lower, and the birds are concentrated around the lake.

January to March: This is the hot and dry season in Kenya. During this time, the vegetation around Lake Baringo is drier, and the water levels in the lake are lower. These conditions concentrate birdlife around the available water sources, making it an excellent time for bird watching. Migratory birds from Europe and northern Africa are also present during this period.

July to October: This is the other dry season in the region, characterized by warm and pleasant weather. Similar to the earlier dry season, the lower water levels and reduced vegetation make it easier to spot birds around Lake Baringo. The resident bird species are also active and can be observed during this time.

During the dry seasons, the chances of encountering rain are minimal, which allows for more comfortable exploration and bird watching activities. However, it’s important to note that Lake Baringo’s climate can be unpredictable, and weather patterns may vary from year to year. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast and be prepared for any unexpected changes.

If you plan to visit during other months, such as the wet seasons, which occur from April to June and November to December, you may experience occasional showers and increased vegetation. While the birdlife is still abundant, the rainy weather and thicker foliage might make bird spotting a bit more challenging.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Lake Baringo for bird watching depends on your preferences and priorities. However, the dry seasons generally offer more favourable conditions for bird enthusiasts, with increased bird activity and easier observation opportunities.

Bird Species

Lake Baringo, located in Kenya, is a renowned destination for birdwatching due to its diverse avian population. Here are some bird species you might encounter in and around Lake Baringo:

·       African Fish Eagle

·       Goliath Heron

·       Great White Pelican

·       Pink-backed Pelican

·       African Jacana

·       African Spoonbill

·       Little Bittern

·       African Pygmy Goose

·       Malachite Kingfisher

·       Pied Kingfisher

·       African Fish Owl

·       White-faced Whistling Duck

·       White-fronted Bee-eater

Bird watching in Lake Baringo
White-fronted Bee-eater

·       Jackson’s Hornbill

·       Hemprich’s Hornbill

·       Northern Red Bishop

·       Yellow-billed Stork

·       Greater Flamingo

·       Spur-winged Plover

·       Grey-headed Kingfisher

These are just a few examples of the many bird species that can be found in the Lake Baringo area. The lake and its surrounding habitats provide an excellent environment for a wide variety of birdlife, making it a popular destination for bird enthusiasts and ornithologists. Lake Baringo is home to over 470 bird species, making it a birding hotspot.

Birding Hotspots

Lake Baringo, located in Kenya, is a renowned birding hotspot due to its diverse avian population. Here are some of the popular birding hotspots in the Lake Baringo region:

Lake Baringo: The lake itself is a major attraction for birdwatchers. It supports a wide variety of bird species, including both resident and migratory birds. Common sightings include African fish eagles, Goliath herons, African jacanas, yellow-billed storks, and pied kingfishers.

Ol Kokwe Island: This small island in Lake Baringo is home to several bird species, making it a fantastic spot for birding. You can find species like African darters, black-headed herons, great white pelicans, and various types of kingfishers.

Ruko Conservancy: Located on the eastern side of Lake Baringo, Ruko Conservancy offers excellent birding opportunities. The diverse habitats, including acacia woodlands and open grasslands, attract a variety of bird species such as vulturine guineafowl, yellow-necked spurfowls, bristle-crowned starlings, and northern white-faced scops owls.

Tugen Hills: The Tugen Hills, surrounding Lake Baringo, provide a different birding experience. The rugged terrain and montane forest offer a habitat for species like Jackson’s francolins, red-fronted parrots, emerald cuckoos, and Tacazze sunbirds.

Samatian Island: Situated near the south-eastern shores of Lake Baringo, Samatian Island is another hotspot for birdwatchers. The island is a breeding ground for water birds, and you can spot African spoonbills, African skimmers, African pygmy geese, and little grebes, among others.

Soi Safari Lodge: This lodge is located on the western shores of Lake Baringo and provides easy access to a variety of bird species. From the lodge, you can observe species such as pink-backed pelicans, marabou storks, black-headed gonoleks, and white-browed coucals.

It’s worth noting that bird sightings can vary depending on the time of year and migration patterns. It’s a good idea to consult local birding guides or experts for the most up-to-date information on birding hotspots and current species sightings in Lake Baringo.

Guided Tours and Boat Trips

To enhance your bird-watching experience, consider hiring a local bird guide or joining a guided tour. They have in-depth knowledge about the area and can help you spot and identify different bird species. Boat trips on Lake Baringo are also popular and offer a unique perspective for bird watching.

When visiting Lake Baringo, you can take advantage of guided tours and boat trips to enhance your birdwatching and overall experience. Here’s some information regarding guided tours and boat trips in the Lake Baringo area:

Local Guides: It’s highly recommended to hire a local birding guide who is familiar with the region’s avifauna and can assist you in spotting and identifying bird species. These guides have extensive knowledge about the area and can take you to the best birding hotspots.

Boat Trips: Taking a boat trip on Lake Baringo is an excellent way to explore the lake and observe birds. There are several operators offering boat tours, both private and shared. These trips allow you to get closer to the water birds and enjoy sightings of various species, including fish eagles, herons, kingfishers, and pelicans.

Island Visits: Some boat tours include visits to islands within Lake Baringo, such as Ol Kokwe Island and Samatian Island. These islands provide unique birding opportunities as they host specific species and offer a different perspective of the lake’s avian life.

Walking Safaris: In addition to boat trips, some Guided Kenya tours offer walking safaris around the Lake Baringo area. These safaris allow you to explore the diverse habitats and encounter bird species that are not easily spotted from the water. Walking safaris can be arranged with experienced guides who will accompany you on birding excursions.

Multi-Day Birding Tours: To make the most of your birdwatching experience, you can opt for multi-day birding tours that cover Lake Baringo and its surrounding areas. These tours typically include accommodation, meals, transportation, and guided birding activities. They offer a comprehensive exploration of the region’s avian biodiversity and often visit other nearby birding hotspots like Lake Bogoria or Kakamega Forest.

To organize guided tours and boat trips, it’s advisable to contact local tour operators, lodges, or birding companies specializing in Kenya’s birdwatching destinations. They can provide you with detailed itineraries, pricing, and help tailor the trip according to your interests and preferences.


Several lodges and campsites are available around Lake Baringo, offering comfortable accommodation options for visitors. Some popular choices include Lake Baringo Club, Soi Safari Lodge, and Island Camp Baringo.

When visiting Lake Baringo, there are various accommodation options available to suit different preferences and budgets. Here are a few popular accommodation choices in the Lake Baringo area:

Lake Baringo Club: Lake Baringo Club is a historic lodge situated on the lake’s eastern shore. It offers comfortable rooms, cottages, and camping facilities. The lodge provides beautiful lake views, a swimming pool, a restaurant, and guided boat trips.

Soi Safari Lodge: Located on the western shores of Lake Baringo, Soi Safari Lodge offers a serene and picturesque setting. It features cosy rooms, cottages, and a campsite. The lodge provides amenities like a swimming pool, restaurant, bar, and guided birding tours.

Island Camp Baringo: Island Camp Baringo is situated on Ol Kokwe Island in Lake Baringo. It offers eco-friendly accommodation in comfortable safari tents. The camp provides stunning views of the lake, delicious meals, and guided birding and boat trips.

Robert’s Camp: Robert’s Camp is a budget-friendly accommodation option located on the southern shores of Lake Baringo. It offers various types of accommodation, including camping, bandas (thatched huts), and self-contained cottages. The camp features a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, and boat trips.

Tumbili Cliff Lodge: Tumbili Cliff Lodge is perched on a cliff overlooking Lake Baringo. It provides luxurious accommodation with spacious rooms, private balconies, and panoramic lake views. The lodge offers a swimming pool, restaurant, bar, and guided birding excursions.

Lake Baringo Safari Lodge: Lake Baringo Safari Lodge is nestled on a peninsula on the lake’s eastern side. It offers comfortable rooms with lake views, a restaurant, a bar, a swimming pool, and boat trips for birding and wildlife viewing.

These are just a few examples of the accommodation options available near Lake Baringo. It’s recommended to research and book in advance, especially during peak birdwatching seasons, to secure your preferred choice. Additionally, it’s advisable to check with the accommodation providers regarding their current availability, amenities, and any specific requirements you may have.

Remember to bring your binoculars, field guidebooks, and a camera to capture the stunning birdlife. It’s also advisable to wear comfortable clothing, carry sunscreen, and stay hydrated during your bird-watching excursions.

Enjoy your bird-watching adventure at Lake Baringo, and may you spot a wide array of fascinating bird species!

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