Lake Kamnarok is the only ox-bow lake in Kenya, located at the base of Kerio Valley. Kamnarok derives from the word narok, which is a water plant species that was prevalent in the lake in the early stages of its formation. The lake was 1 sq. km in size and had the second largest population of crocodiles in Africa after Lake Chad.

History of Lake Kamnarok

The low-lying oxbow lake was formed approximately millions of years ago, as a result of the cutting-off of Kerio River meander banks during heavy floods.

The floods of 1961 led to its enlargement leading to the evacuation of people living near the lake. In 1984, Lake Kamnarok Game Reserve was established, and the lake was gazetted. The reserve homes about 500 elephants.

About Lake Kamnarok

View of Lake Kamnarok from the Kerio Valley View Point
View of Lake Kamnarok from the Kerio Valley View Point | Photo By Vincent Sanya

The vanishing lake is fed by Oiwo, Ketipborok, Cheplogoi and Lelabei rivers. Lake Kamnarok can be noticed as you approach the Kerio Valley floor from Iten Town. Like other Kenyan Rift Valley lakes, Kamnarok’s existence is mainly threatened by some human activities such as farming activities in the area and charcoal burning. The human activities have directly led to the degradation of Lake Kamnarok and its considerable reduction in size to the verge of extinction.

Read: The Dwindling of Kenya’s Only Ox-Bow Lake, Lake Kamnarok