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The untapped Lake in Central Kenya

24 May 2013, 18:31 Kelvin Wanjohi

It is the only Lake in Central province, situated in Nyandarua county. Lake Ol Bollosat stretches from Malewa in Kipipiri region to Ziwani in Nyahururu, about 50 kilometers.

And this is one of the natural resources that Nyandarua County is proud of.

Many would have expected the lake to be one of the major sources of funds for the County but unfortunately, this is not the case.

It has been one of the untapped resources in the region in the last several decades.

At one time, the Lake was on the verge of drying up after the destruction of the Aberdare forest due to human encroachment.

It is the home to an estimated one thousand hippos and hosts over 200 species of birds.

Most of the birds fly into the Lake in July from Europe and leave the Lake in November.

The Lake which was discovered in 1883 by Scottish explorer Joseph Thompson is the source of water for the famous Thompson Falls in Nyahururu.

And with all these, many expect that it would be one of the most tourist attraction sites in the country.

Unlike other Lakes which have attracted thousands of tourists like Lake Nakuru, Bogoria and Naivasha, this is not the case for the only Lake in Mt Kenya region.

According to the players in the tourism sector, this has been blamed on poor marketing and human encroachment which has at times threatened the Lake from drying up.

“Only a few people know about the features in this Lake and its uniqueness. People just get to hear about other Lakes in several parts of Kenya but none gets to hear of this one. In short, no marketing has been done,” says Joseph Mbugua, a player in the tourism sector.

He says that previous Governments have ignored the Lake and failed to conserve it leading to its drying up.

“Last year, the Lake was almost drying up and only a stretch of it had been left. It was only by luck that heavy rains rocked the area and saved the Lake from drying up some years back,” he notes.

He also points out that poor infrastructure in the area makes it inaccessible by both local and foreign tourists.

“There are no proper roads in the area and tourists often shun it and would rather visit Thompson Falls.The roads leading from the main Ol Kalou-Gilgil roads to the Lake are always in a poor condition,” he notes.

Mbugua who owns Nyahururu sports camp on shores of the Lake says that this has chased away investors.

So far, only his camp and that of Kichakani lodges on the shores of the Lake have been put up.

But with the new County Government, residents are optimistic that it will be exploited.

Nyandarua County Governor Daniel Waithaka has promised to revive the tourism sector in the region.

“This is one area that we will definitely exploit and substantial amount of money will be set aside for this. We have to attract more tourists to get to the Lake and view the birds as well as the hippos,” he notes.

He says that the County government has plans to build tourist lodges along the shores of the Lake in future to attract more income.

“For a long time, we have been sleeping on the gold and it is now time that we made money from it.We must take advantage of this great feature in our County to benefit residents,” he notes.

This, he says, will also create jobs for most of the youths.

He gives an example of the curio shops at Nyahururu Thompson Falls which he notes have created employment for most of the youths.

The Governor observes that funds will also be set aside to plant trees along the lake as well as the Aberdares.

“We at the same time have to conserve the only lake in central Kenyan by planting more trees to prevent it from drying up.This will be done in conjunction with Kenya Forest Service and Kenya Wildlife Service as well as the County Government,” he notes.

He regrets that the developments have not yet been done, blaming it on poor leadership. He says that proper marketing of the Lake will also be enhanced in the press and through the internet.

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