Lake Elementaita Wildlife Sanctuary (LEWS)

Lake Elementaita basin has one of the oldest archeological sites belonging to the Oldowan period, with stone tools dating to 700,000 years ago found at Kariandusi. The Obsidian mines at the Eburru Mountains are evidence of Obsidian trade dating over 3000 years ago. Subsequently, the region was occupied by pastoral Neolithic, later the Maasai pastoral community who called it “Elementaita”. During the colonial occupation, the whole area between Elementaita and Naivasha was taken over and used for livestock and wildlife ranching by Lord Delamere.

The area around Lake Elementaita was designated an Important Bird Area (IBA), a site of global significance for bird and biodiversity conservation, in 1999. The lake was designated a Ramsar site (wetland of international importance) in 2005. It was gazetted as a National Wildlife Sanctuary in 2010 and listed together with Lakes Nakuru and Bogoria as the Kenya Lakes System in the Great Rift Valley World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2011.

Key features

Lake Elementaita is an important natural habitat for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including globally and regionally threatened species of outstanding universal value. It consistently holds internationally important populations of Greater and Lesser Flamingo, Great White Pelican, African Spoonbill, Pied Avocet as well as other water bird species that occur in smaller populations.

The terrestrial habitats support the conservation of herbivores such as the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe as well as Elands, Buffaloes, Common Zebras, Impalas, Reedbuck, bushbuck and Colobus monkeys. Carnivores are represented by Lions, Leopards, hyenas and jackals. The endemic Kenyan Horned Viper (Bitis worthingtonii) is also found here. Most of these wildlife are found in Soysambu conservancy side.

Birding: Lake Elementaita supports one of the major breeding colonies of the Great White Pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus) in the world and is the only place in Kenya where Pelicans breed. Up to 8,000 pairs of Great White Pelican have bred there when the water levels are high and the rocky outcrops in the eastern sector are flooded to form islets on which the birds can safely nest.

Hot springs: The park ha permanent hot water springs that act as the breeding area for tilapia, which are preyed on by the pelicans

Hiking & Walking -on several hills within the sanctuary and shoreline walks along the lake

Protected Area Type

What to take with you

Personal effects, clean drinking water, food, camping equipment.

Also, important are; Camera, binoculars, sunscreen, insect repellant, first aid kit, sunglasses, sunscreen, guide-books, warm clothing (temperatures drop rapidly at night), walking boots, compass and maps and additional fuel if you intend to stay in the park longer.

  • Bird watching
  • Hiking

How to get there

By Road: LEWSE is approximately 120km north of Nairobi, 40 km north of Naivasha and 45km south of Nakuru. It is accessed by the Trans-African Highway (A104).

The nearest administrative town is Gilgil within Nakuru County

By Air: The nearest airstrip are Nakuru (Lanet) and Soysambu Airstrip

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    <th class="tg-7btt">Citizen<br>Ksh<br></th>
    <th class="tg-7btt">Resident<br>Ksh<br></th>
    <th class="tg-7btt">Non-Residents<br>USD<br></th>
    <td class="tg-6ic8">Adult</td>
    <td class="tg-c3ow">250</td>
    <td class="tg-c3ow">250</td>
    <td class="tg-c3ow">25</td>
    <td class="tg-6ic8">Child/Student<br></td>
    <td class="tg-c3ow">125</td>
    <td class="tg-c3ow">125</td>
    <td class="tg-c3ow">15</td>

Park Entry Fee




Toll Free Number : 0800597000

WhatsApp Number : +254 726610509


Park Gallery