Strengthening community participation in the conservation of Lake Elmenteita World Heritage Site
Strengthening community participation in the conservation of Lake Elmenteita World Heritage Site
Lake Elmenteita National Wildlife Sanctuary is a UNESCO World Heritage Site listed jointly with Lakes
Nakuru and Bogoria, namely The Kenya Lakes System in the Great Rift Valley World Heritage Site. Lake
Elmenteita is located in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya at 00°46'S 036°23'E. It is also a Ramsar site and an
Important Bird Area (IBA). The wildlife sanctuary is set aside to protect and sustainably conserve the water
body, the unique birdlife and the associated habitats. Lake Elmenteita Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of
approximately 25.33 km2 with a catchment area of 63 km2. The Lake and the Riparian area are 2968.41Ha. The
Lake is fed by two rivers namely Mereroni/Mbaruk and Kariandusi as well the hot springs in the southern end.
The wildlife sanctuary borders Soysambu Conservancy on the western and former Ututu ranch to the southern
shores respectively and parts of these properties forms an important buffer zone for the Lake and World
Heritage Site.
Biodiversity of importance includes threatened bird species such as the Lesser flamingo, Lesser kestrel, Greycrested
helmet-shrike, Jackson’s widowbird, and the Greater spotted eagle. At least 29 species of Palearctic
migrants have been recorded in the site. The lake is a key breeding site for the Great White Pelican with over
8,000 breeding pairs, the largest in Africa (GOK, 2010). The hot springs and marshes are a key breeding area
for the fish and birds. Lake Elmenteita’s riparian habitat hosts the Burchell’s Zebra, Thomson’s Gazelle, Eland,
Cape buffalo and endangered and threatened species such as the Rothschild’s giraffe, lion and leopard. The
concentrations of water birds in the lake and the presence of globally threatened species have contributed to the
scenic beauty of the landscape. The international recognition of the lake and presence of diverse attractions has
attracted over 20 tourist hotel facilities and the number is still increasing.
Despite its significance the Lake is threatened by habitat degradation, encroachment and developments in
riparian areas, siltation, water pollution, bathing in the hot springs, blockage of wildlife routes, habitat loss and
declining wildlife numbers around the south end of the lake. Other threats include increased human activities,
fences and rock walls in riparian areas, improper management of sewer by facilities, illegal logging, sand
harvesting and illegal grazing encroachment into the sanctuary. This is also contributed by the fact that the
gazetted boundary of the wildlife sanctuary has minimal areas of terrestrial land to act as a buffer for the lake.
The World Heritage Center had previously raised concerns on the threats of uncontrolled developments around
Lake Elmenteita. If this is not addressed, the continued degradation may eventually lead to delisting of Lake
Elmenteita as well as Lakes Nakuru and Bogoria from World Heritage Status.
To address some of the threats, GLECA is requesting for support of SGP to strengthen their capacity in order to
implement environmental conservation activities within the Lake Elmenteita component of the Kenya Lakes
System in the Great Rift Valley World Heritage Site.
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Project Snapshot

Greater Lake Elmenteita Conservation Area
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 29,999.00
Co-Financing Cash:
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 14,857.00
Project Number:
Currently under execution

Grantee Contact

Mrs. Kathryn Combes


PO Box 14693-20100 Nakuru, Lake Elmenteita, Nakuru County, Kenya
Nakuru ,

SGP Country office contact

Ms. Nancy Chege
(254-20) 7624473
(254-20) 621076
Ms. Salome Nyakundi


UNDP, P.O. Box 30218
Nairobi, 00100