|Location||Kenya, Rift Valley Province|
|Central coordinates||36o 15.00' East 0o 27.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2, A4i, A4iii|
|Altitude||1,775 - 1,950m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Site description Elmenteita is a shallow alkaline lake (1,800 ha; maximum depth 1.9 m) lying on the Rift Valley floor some 20 km south-east of Nakuru town. It is fed by the Kekopey hot springs at its southern end, and two small streams, the Meroronyi and Kariandusi, flowing from the eastern plateau. The surrounding landscape is characterized by dramatic rocky faults, volcanic outcrops and cones. Rainfall is erratic and averages less than 600 mm/year. To the east, the lake is flanked by small-scale agriculture, while several large ranches surround the remainder. The northern and south-eastern lakeshores are open and flat, a spectacular cliff rises to the north-east, and the western shores are broken and rocky. The natural vegetation is mainly Acacia and Tarconanthus camphoratus bushland interspersed with Themeda triandra grassland. Patches of Acacia xanthophloea woodland occur near the shore, and formerly covered a large area south of the lake. The IBA consists of the lake and its surrounding shoreline, including the hot springs and the cliffs, and the Soysambu Wildlife Sanctuary (5,400 ha), part of the Delamere Estate, that abuts the lake to the north and west.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis||winter||1990||3,000 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus||winter||1993||23,800 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor||winter||2000||588,400 individuals||-||A1, A4i||Near Threatened|
|African Spoonbill Platalea alba||winter||1994||260 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus||winter||1992||11,800 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus||breeding||1999||8,000 breeding pairs||unknown||A4i||Least Concern|
|Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta||winter||1997||4,200 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Grey-crested Helmet-shrike Prionops poliolophus||resident||1999||present||-||A1, A2||Near Threatened|
|Jackson's Widowbird Euplectes jacksoni||resident||1999||present||-||A1, A2||Near Threatened|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||winter||-||500,000-999,999 individuals||unknown||A4iii|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Lake Elementeita Wildlife Sanctuary||Game Sanctuary||2,534||protected area contained by site||2,534|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Savanna||Bushland & thicket - evergreen||-|
|Wetlands (inland)||Saline lakes||30%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Other biodiversity Soysambu holds good populations of large mammals, including an introduced population of Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi. The snake Bitis worthingtonii, endemic to the central Rift Valley above 1,500 m, is known from here. The cichlid fish Oreochromis alcalicus grahami, endemic to alkaline lakes in this part of the Rift Valley, occurs in the hot springs and has recently spread to the main lake.
References Bennun (1992a,c), Brown (1973), Hughes and Hughes (1992), Lincer et al. (1981), Nasirwa (1998), Nasirwa and Bennun (1994, 1995), Nasirwa and Owino (2000), National Biodiversity Unit (1991), Owino and Nasirwa (2001), Owino et al. (in press), Oyugi and Owino (1998a,b, 1999), Oyugi et al. (1993), Richards (1991), Spawls (1978), Vareschi (1978).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Elmenteita. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/10/2014
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