Baringo is a scenic region, home to a wide range of wildlife and is a major tourism attraction. The main reserves and sanctuaries are Lakes Bogoria, Baringo and Kapnarok, Ruko conservancy. These reserves and parks are home to Elephants, Zebra, Giraffe, Gazelles, Greater Kudus, Buffalos, Crocodile, Hippos among others and over 500 species of birds. The game reserves and other attraction are popular both to local people and foreigners. Average numbers of annual visitors to game reserves in a typical year are averagely increasing annually. To sustain this upward trend in tourist numbers, the County Department of Tourism will upscale investments in the sector by improving infrastructure in and around the game reserves as well as sensitizing communities on the need to preserve wildlife for both economic and posterity.
Lake Bogoria is perhaps Baringo County’s most popular tourist attraction site due to its active geysers. The geysers produce stream rich in Sulphur compounds, which are believed to be of medicinal value. Every year, thousands of both local and international visitors throng the lake to have an experience of the ‘healing water’. This has earned the County a lot of revenue from the proceeds that the visitors pay to tour and have a feel of the lake.
Lake Baringo also proudly reserves its right as a jewel in Baringo’s crown of beauty. After Lake Turkana, It is one of the two freshwater lakes in the Rift Valley, the other being Lake Naivasha, but with close to 500 species of Birds being recorded there, it is perhaps the most attractive spot for ornithologists in the world. The lake has 13 islands that endow it with magnificent and very unique scenery.
The above mentioned attractions, though major, are just but a tip of the iceberg in terms of what Baringo has to offer, tourism-wise. Yet, with its immense potential, the tourism sub-sector is not only under developed but uncompetitive. Our tourism destinations; products and scenic features; the lakes; the game parks are enormous but under-utilized.
To reverse this, our department will invest in tapping the potential in eco-tourism, cultural tourism, sports tourism, safaris, business and conference tourism; and build on new products. We shall implement facelifts in our national reserves and upgrade infrastructure and operationalize facilities within these areas, to improve visitor experiences.
In recognition of the role of the private sector in tourism development, the department of tourism will not only embrace and enhance cooperation, but also partner with them and all stakeholders in charting a clear roadmap to drive tourism for the benefit of the people of Baringo.
Baringo County is rich in wildlife and picturesque landscape that offers a unique countryside tourist product. The flora and Fauna species are well spread from highland to lowland because the County has favourable and varying ecosystems. The department of tourism is taking advantage of this to showcase the county’s diversity and actively market Baringo as tourist destination of choice.
Did you know that, of Kenya’s 1090 species of birds, 501, a huge share, are found in Baringo County? Of the 501, there are numerous rare species of birds. The green-caped Eromomela, Turners Eromomula, White-crested Helmet Shrikes and Grey-crested Helmet Shrikes, all in Kerio Valley along KamnarokNational Reserve, a virgin place where bird watching has not been explored at all. Somali Starling a rare species of Starling has been spoted on a number of ocassions in Lake Kamnarok
Apart from the known Lake Baringo and Bogoria Bird watching areas, Baringo County Government in collaboration with the Kenya Forest Services and other stakeholders plan to open up Katimok, Arabal, Mochongi, Kipng’ochoch and Lembus Forests for nature lovers to upscale highland bird watching which has great potential. These forests boast Green Bulls, Sunbirds, Tinkerbirds, Turacos and Trogons among others. There is need to secure these forests, make gates and nature trails inside the habitats so that guided walks may be done without any difficulty. This will attract tourists and boost county revenue.
In the face of the current climate change challenges, we have stepped up efforts to manage and conserve our environment and natural resources in a manner that supports productivity for sustainable economic growth.
We shall rally and support Baringo people to make tree planting a norm by increasing awareness creation, extension services and training; and availing of subsidized tree and fruit seedlings or providing them for free whenever possible. We shall involve schools, universities and colleges, corporate institutions and the entire community in promoting nature’s welfare. We shall marshal more resources to help us fast track the reclamation of depleted ecosystems and enhance conservation activities.