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Lakes in Kenya

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Indeed lakes are important geographical features that are formed through certain processes. A lake is defined by Chave (2001) as a body of inland standing water while oxford dictionaries (2013) defines them as huge masses of water surrounded by dry land. Kenya is a country in Africa that that has several lakes and they are Baringo, Bogoria, Chala, Chew Bahir, Elementaita, Jipe, Kamnarock, Logipi, Magadi, Naivasha, Nakuru, Turkana and Victoria. This paper is going to look at three lakes in Kenya which are Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Victoria, their formation, properties, and their economic benefits. Lakes can either be natural or artificial and Chave (2001) says that natural lakes are a result of natural processes while artificial lakes are constructed by man for various purposes such as hydropower generation. The lakes discussed here are natural lakes which have an ecosystem. Lake Bogoria This is a lake in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya and is amongst what some are calling Rift Valley lakes. These lakes are small, shallow and occupy slightly sloping depressions on the Rift Valley floor (Crafter, 1992). The lake has a length of 21.13 miles and a width of 2.175 it lays north of the equator and it is an alkaline lake. The lake is a tourist attraction site because of its soda water that attracts flamingoes. Another major tourist attraction in Lake Bogoria is the hot water geyser, and steams that are bubbling hot. Geysers are violent gushes of water from under the surface and can get to a height of between 30-60 metres.

These geysers are a result of hydrological activities underground. In areas experiencing volcanic activity, water may be heated underground and through fissures get to the surface in form of jets of hot water (McLeish, 1992).It is common sight to see visitors boil eggs in the hot water. Apart from flamingoes there are fish eagles. There are also other wild animals such as gazelles, Kudu, Zebra and Baboons (Magicalkenya .com 2013). Lake Baringo-hot springs (courtesy of Kenyaphotos.wordpress.com) Lake Nakuru This lake which is 1754 m above sea level is found on the Rift Valley and it very popular with tourists to Kenya because of the large of flamingoes it hosts. The lake is in Nakuru County and it is within Lake Nakuru national park. According to magicalkenya.com this is also a soda lake which is alkaline. An alkaline lake is that whose water has a ph of 7 and above. Therefore certain animal and plant species thrive in them while others do not. Living within the park are wild animals such as both black and white rhinos, warthogs, waterbuck, zebra, buffalo and the endangered Rothschild giraffe amongst others. The lake resulted from tensional forces on rocks leading to formation of normal faults secondary faulting followed leading to more subsidence and formation of a hollow that is filled with water (Opati, 2007). This process is characteristic of other rift valley lakes. The park is a source of revenue for the Nakuru County and a source of employment to many residents. Lake Nakuru if fed by only one river known as river Njoro (inlet) and it does not have an outlet and this is the reason as to why it does not have fish. Lake Nakuru (Picture courtesy of tripadvisor.com) Lake Victoria This is a huge lake whose size is 67,493 sq kms and it is shared by three countries which are Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. According to WorldAtlas (2013), Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the largest tropical lake in the world. Importantly, it is the second largest fresh water lake in the world after Lake Superior in America.Its water flows down the Nile River into Egypt. It was the explorer John Hanning Speke who discovered Lake Victoria as the source of river Nile.

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