Vegetation of the Conservancy

The vegetation on the estate can broadly be classified in two groups:

  1. Vegetation specific to Lake Elmenteita
  2. Vegetation beyond lake perimeter

Vegetation Specific to Lake Elmenteita

Around the lake itself, vegetation contains one of the few remaining stands of protected riverine forest. The yellow fever trees (Acacia xanthophloea) are the main feature of the riverine areas. They are found in fairly dense stands on the major rivers feeding into lake Elmenteita. The forest is important in maintaining water quality flowing into the lake.


The lake perimeter is surrounded by short, salt tolerant grass, including Sporobolus, spicatus while swamps cover part of the south eastern section of the lake, comprised mainly of Typha and Cyperus papyrus. The Cyperus species is widespread over the northern section and other parts of the lake. Most of the lake’s shoreline is open and muddy, with rocky outcrops on the Eastern and Western sides. There are no macrophytes and little emergent vegetation in most sections except for the above mentioned Typha beds near the inflow of the hot springs at the southeast corner.

Vegetation Beyond the Lake Perimeter

Euphorbia candelabrum are scattered and mainly located on kopjes overlooking the lake and in the rocky areas to the south. It could be the largest remaining stand in Kenya Acacia woodlands also extend around the mouths of rivers. The area contains high diversity of tree, vine and plant species. Acacia xanthophloea is the sole tree species in this semi-arid area, where the soils consist of dominantly alkaline volcanic and lacustrine deposits and water salinity can be very high. The understory here is dominated by climbers: Senecio petitiunus, Commicarpus pedunculosus, Ipomea cairica, Achyranthes aspera and Hypoestes verticillaris.


The acacia trees in areas of the conservancy (particularly on the western shores of Lake Elmenteita) are under threat of destruction by the growing giraffe population.


Further beyond the lake, the vegetation is dominated by open savannah grasslands. This part of the ecosystem sustains large numbers of grazers including cattle which are the primary income from Delamere Estates. Main grass types are Chloris Gayana, Themeda trianda, Cynodon Dactylon Pinesetum Nizianumand Pinesetum Catabais. Dry bushland covers parts of the eastern and most of the southern and western sides of the lake, which is composed of Rhus natalensis, Sesbania sesban, Lantana trifolia and Vernonia spp.


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