($90 pp)

Highlights: Semi-arid landscape, birdlife, culture, Rift Valley & lake, archaeology & history

Depart from Nairobi in the morning, heading south towards the Ngong Hills. Before you descend over the escarpment, stop for photos and views across the Great Rift Valley. Descend over the Ngong Hills continuing south into a semi-arid landscape, where you stop mid-morning at the Olorgesailie Prehistoric Site. After learning about the ancient inhabitants and geography of the area, continue on to Lake Magadi. You approach the lake from the eastern side via the Magadi town and past the Magadi Soda factory. Enter the Lake Magadi reserve area and continue on to the hot springs where you will stop for lunch and wadding in the springs. You may have an opportunity to meet the local Masai who use the lake daily for swimming. Mid afternoon, return to Nairobi.

The Olorgesailie Prehistoric Site is Kenya’s most important and largest geological site covering 21 hectares. It was discovered in 1919 by geologist JW Gregory and excavated further in the 1940s by Mary and Louis Leakey. A team from the USA Smithsonian Institute continues to work there. It is believed that a lake covered this area in prehistoric times and the remains of many animals including hippo, crocodiles and elephants have been found - many much larger than their modern relatives. This presence of animals also attracted early hunters who left behind many stone tools and axes – although mysteriously no human remains have ever been found. A raised walkway has been erected for guests to view artifacts where they were found.

Lake Magadi is the southern-most and lowest of Kenya’s Rift Valley lakes and covers an area of 104 square km (40 square miles). A vision in pink, it is a saline, alkaline lake and an example of a saline pan. It was formed by, and is constantly supplied by volcanic springs with a thick crust of carbonate soda. This crust is removed by a floating dredge and is pumped into refineries, where it is processed into soda ash - which is used in glass making. The lake is replenished by saline hot springs - up to around 80 degrees celsius. During the dry season it is 80% covered by soda and in some places the salt is up to 40 metres thick. During the rainy season, a thin layer of brine coats the lake, although this evaporates quickly, leaving a vast expanse of polygon-shaped, cracked white salt. The lake is also home to plenty of wading birds including flamingos. The Magadi township lies on the lakes east shore and is home to the Magadi Soda Factory, which is the major local employer. The lake is also featured in the film The Constant Gardener - although in the film it reports the lake as being Lake Turkana in Kenya’s far north.

  • Included: Transport to/from Nairobi, guide, all entry fees, lunch.
  • Not Included: Personal insurance, items of a personal nature.
  • Don't Forget: Sunhat, sunscreen, swimming items, towel, warm fleece or jumper for cool evenings, drinking water, camera and binoculars.

Olorgeisalilie Prehistoric Site
Olorgeisalilie Prehistoric Site Boma
View of Lake Magadi
View of Lake Magadi

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