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Lake Profile


General Information

Description Lake Baringo is named after the local word ‘Mparingo’, meaning lake. The lake is located in the Eastern Rift Valley in Kenya and is one of the 7 inland drainage lakes within the Rift Valley drainage basin.

As a fresh water body, Lake Baringo is important to the communities in its basin as a source of water for domestic use and watering livestock consumption. Other important uses are income generation through tourism, biodiversity conservation and fishing.

Three indigenous human communities live in the basin namely the Ilchamus, Pokots and Tugens.

Country Kenya
Latitude 0° 37' 0" (0.6167)
Longitude 36° 38' 0" (36.6333)


 Baringo global index map (LakeNet Explorer)
 Baringo locator map
 Baringo & lakes of the region map
 Baringo Drainage Basin (Odada et al. 2003)

Physical Characteristics

Description Seasonal rivers that drain into the lake include: Ol Arabel, Makutan, Tangulbei, Endao and Chemeron. Perkerra and Molo are perennial and significantly lower discharges are characteristic during dry season. Lake Baringo experiences very high annual evaporation rates and therefore lake levels depend heavily on inflows. In 2003, befor ethe onset of long rains, the average depth was 1.7 meters.
Surface Area 108.00 km2
Depth Mean depth: 2.5 m
Maximum depth: 3.5 m
Type Fresh
Catchment Catchment size: 6,820.00 km2
Catchment/surface area ratio: 63:1


Economic Value Lake Baringo provides an important source of water for domestic use as well as for livestock. Water within the basin is also an important income generator via tourism. Fish are also an important resource as a source of food and income generator for the local people.
Major Cities

Watershed Management

Description The management of the lake and its basin is aimed at its sustainability and that of the biotic community while at the same time benefiting the community through wise use of its resources. For effective management of the resources, a management plan is necessary. This has not yet been prepared for Lake Baringo. The management has in the past been sectoral. The institutions which have been involved and their roles in managing the lake and its basin are outlined below.
Watershed Action Plan In development
Issues The major threats to Lake Baringo include: water quality degradation, biomass production, land use changes, sedimentation, abstractions and impacts on biodiversity, and socioeconomic pressures
Invasive Species Moderate Impact
Other Issues Biodiversity Conservation
Invasive Species
Lake Levels (water quantity)
Nutrient pollution
Sediment contamination
Monitoring The Lake management program operates based on Government legislation and policies. It is linked to other programs such as National Action Plan on Desertification, National Biodiversity Action Plan, Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and National Wetland Management. All these organisations have a common objective of sustainable use of natural resources to meet livelihood needs. The legislative framework to enforce management initiatives operates under various acts of the Kenya Government.

Biodiversity Conservation

Description National Reserve. Oreochromis niloticus (Tilapia) is endemic to Lake Baringo
Designations LakeNet Biodiversity Priority
Ramsar Site
Species of Concern Fish species within the lake include:Oreochromis niloticus, Protopterus aethiopicus, Clarias gariepinus, Barbus intermedius and Labeo cylindricus.

LakeNet Programs

World Lake Basin Management Initiative
LBMI Regional Experience Sharing and Review Workshop for Africa


Baringo  Experience Brief. Final. 2/27/2006.
Managing Lake Basins for Sustainable Use - Lake Basin Management Initiative Final Report (PDF)  Project Report. Final. English. 2/27/2006.


Baringo Ramsar Fact Sheet
Kenyan forests and international law
Lake Baringo Bird Diversity List
Lake Baringo Community Based Land & Water Management Project:
Lake Baringo GEF Project Description


4/23/2004 - Towards a Lake Basin Management Initiative
4/10/2003 - UNDP Representative warns that Lake Baringo is drying up
1/29/2003 - UN calls for action to save Lake Baringo
6/19/2002 - 220,000 lives threatened in Lake Baringo Basin
4/5/2001 - Alarm over sick birds at Bogoria
6/8/1984 - A taste of paradise in Kenya

Additional Data Sources

Birkett, C., and I. Mason. 1995. A new global lakes database for remote sensing programme studying climatically sensitive large lakes. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 21 (3) 307-318.
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The List of Wetlands of International Importance.

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