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South of Nairobi, near the Tanzania border, Lake Magadi is the southern-most and lowest of Kenya's Rift Valley Lakes and covers an area of 104 square km. Out of nowhere in its semi-arid landscape, it emerges a vision in pink. Lake Magadi is a saline, alkaline lake and an example of a saline pan which was formed, and is constantly supplied by volcanic springs with a thick crust of carbonate soda. This crust is removed by a floating dredge and is pumped into refineries, where it is processed into soda ash - which is used in glass making.

The lake is replenished by saline hot springs - up to around 80 degrees celsius. During the dry season it is 80% covered by soda and in some places the salt is up to 40 metres thick. During the rainy season, a thin layer of brine coats the lake, although this evaporates quickly, leaving a vast expanse of polygon-shaped, cracked white salt.

The Magadi township lies on the lakes east shore and is home to the Magadi Soda Factory, which is the major local employer. The lake is also featured in the film The Constant Gardener - although the film footage was supposed to be at Lake Turkana. The lake is also home to plenty of water birds including flamingo, spoonbill and pelican.

If you are not visiting duirng the heat of a summer's day (otherwise it might be too hot), it might be possible to take a dip in the hot springs at the southern side of the lake. You can often see the local Masai bathing here too!

Wildebeest Safari's    
  1 Day - Olorgesailie & Lake Magadi   read more »  



Fact File

Location: 120km south of Nairobi, near the Tanzanian border

Highlights: Lake views, hot springs, soda lake

Animals: Wildebeest, dik dik, impala, gazelle. Birds include pelican, spoonbill, flamingo, plover, heron, crane