A dream come true and a long journey to World Heritage

I must admit this past week I’ve been holding my breath while waiting to hear if the Kenya Lakes System  (Elmentieta, Nakuru and Bogoria) World Heritage Site would be inscribed. Then late last night while I was sitting in the dark because there was a power cut, I suppose due to the heavy storm,  I turned on my computer, hoping there was a little battery power to check my mail. There in my inbox was a brief note ” You are now part of a World Heritage Site, Congratulations!” At first I was a bit stunned having prepared myself for disappointment.

I couldn’t wait for dawn to rush down to the lake and experience a World Heritage Site. It was like  seeing everything for the very first time…my first World Heritage flamingo, my first world heritage giraffe, eland, tommie, impala, leopard tracks. I wanted to tell those little pelican babies that they would have a safe home. Magical!

It was a hard choice to just soak it in or snap a few photos as I had to rush back to Elmenteita town for a MOGTEKA meeting.

I guess you will need to Blog William Kimosop at Bogoria to hear how long a journey this has been for him, many many years…but for me, I was asked to a meeting back in 2006 when it was decided to try for WH status once again. The last attempt failed due to the unprotected status of Lake Elmenteita. Now began the long process of gazetting Lake Elmenteita Wildlife Sanctuary.

While this was in the process our Greater Lake Elmenteita Conservaton Area Committee and Stakeholders  worked with National Museums of Kenya and Kenya Wildlife Service for years in developing  Management Plan for the Conservation Area which includes the Core zone of the Lake and Riparian Land, The Buffer Zone , Riverine Zone and Controlled Development Zone.

We will be posting more information and links and photos to inform you of our progress.

Here is a link to the UNESCO Site.


We will be looking for help to ensure the World Heritage Status.

Yours in Conserving our World Heritage,

Kat Combes

Birdlife at Soysambu Conservancy– Lake Elmenteita

I love nature….who came about by referring to it as Mother Nature? Is there Father Nature juxtaposed?  

Lake Elmenteita is 20 Km South East of Nakuru Town. It gets its water from Kekopey hot springs at the Southern end and two small streams – Mereroni & Kariandusi flowing from the eastern plateau. Siltation of the Lake from soil erosion is high especially now because of subsistence farming on the upper catchment. We do hope that the water off-take from Mereroni stream will not cause the Lake to dry up again once the rains subside; and that, the Mereroni -Mbaruk Water Resource Users Association (MBARUA) will ensure there is enough water inflow from the streams.

There are about 49 waterfowl species recorded including palearctic migrant, of international importance are populations Greater & Lesser Flamingo and the Pied Avocet.

Greater White PelicanPelecanus onocrotalus

They are currently in hundreds at Lake Elmenteita.

The adults are mainly white almost identical to the Pink-Backed Pelican which are greyish white.

Breeding is high during the wet season as the water levels of the Lake are high and rocky outcrops (islands) in the eastern sector are flooded to form islets which are ideal for safe nesting.

They often feed in tightly packed groups, submerging heads and necks in unison. The scene is breathtaking for bird lovers as the waves in the Lake make everything astounding.

Grey Crowned CraneBalearica regulorum gibbericeps

We spotted four (4) of them today at the riparian area but they flew away without a snap-shot….Grrhhhh.


Lake Elmenteita is now blossoming!! It’s amazing that in a short span of the rainy season there is a great difference with waterfowls celebrating the new lease of life. Infact, if you were to be given a photo shot in December 2009 and May 2010, you cannot tell it is the same place.

The Lake has been known to be a stopover site for migratory birds from Asia, South Africa, USA and Europe. Furthermore, it is a breeding site for the Great White Pelican! the Lesser and Greater Flamingo mingle with the Great White Pelican and other waterfowls.

Did you know that the Lesser Flamingo is recorded as a Threatened species? Thus the great need to conserve and preserve Lake Elmenteita, which is almost three quarter within Soysambu Conservancy. I have never heard of a Conservancy, which has a Lake within it except Soysambu Conservancy. Do you know of any? You will then agree with me it’s a very unique feature.

As Kenya pushes for the three lakes to join the World Heritage Site, we are glad that Lake Elmenteita is nominated among them as it’s a place with ecological significance.


The Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp luxury Tented Camp construction commenced in April and is scheduled for opening in December 2010.
As the construction is coming up, you can imagine the magnificence of the Camp when it will be completed. Talking to one of the engineers the plans they have, makes me dream rather wish of spending just a night in the Camp. My imagination tells me it will be a small paradise on earth.

The Camp is located along the shores of Lake Elmenteita which hosts the beautiful Lesser and Greater Flamingos and the Breeding site of the Pelican and other water fowls As you sit back and relax, you can see the beautiful sceneries and its reflection in the lake that nature offers.

It’s approximately 120km from Nairobi and 25 km from Nakuru. The Soysambu Conservancy is centrally located as tourists can easily access the Central, Mountain, Eastern tourist circuits and the Mara.

The Serena’s will be exclusively offer their customers the best services and nature will ensure you relax and forget all your sorrows, fears and stress. I hope the moment you leave this place you will be a new you, ready to face the future with courage and confidence.

Pelican breeding Site

pelican breeding

Help us secure the fragile ecosystem for Flamingo, breeding grounds for the Great White, Pink backed Pelicans and other aquatic life. This will ensure the ecosystem is protected from destructive human activities such as diversion of river water at the catchment area, cultivating up to riverbeds, destruction of trees around the Riparian area etc.

Support us to put up a Research Centre where students can carry out research activities, have veterinary services to cater for sick and injured wildlife, monitor zoonotic diseases e.t.c.