Sumot Falls, Releng Springs, Kipsaraman Museum, Kolloa Monument, Lake Kamnarok, Chebloch Gorge, Kerio Valley, Mektei Ridge, Lembus Forest, Eldama Ravine, St. Swithin’s Church, Koibatek Forest, Chemususu Dam, Timboroa

Attractions in Baringo County

A Section of Chebloch Gorge – Landmarks in Kenya
A Section of Chebloch Gorge – Landmarks in Kenya

31. Sumot Falls

That Baringo County has breathtaking cliffs needs no introduction. One of the unsurpassed examples, earmarked to be the first Geo Park in Kenya, is the out-of-this-world Sumot Falls. Standing at the un-fenced edge of the cliff, where the 200 ms twin falls cantilevers over, it holds to ransom that “a strong man and a waterfall channel their own path”. Here, way off-the-beaten-paths, in the back country, its spectacular beauty is both a marvel and a riddle of nature. The falls, the cliff, and the blissful pools at the bottom, with the sun rays glinting brightly in the clear waters, deep in the untouched country, captures every imagination. Sumot Falls is Baringo’s best-kept secret. Forbye, Sumot Music Festival held at Sumot Falls in early January has started to pick up steam. It brings together the locals to Sumot Falls to celebrate culture, musical talent, and nature of Baringo. Sumot Falls is found 15 kms north of Kabarnet Town, near Ossen Centre. From Ossen, the road to Sumot Falls is rough and ready and rudely rocky, yet, for all the difficulties of getting here, this sight is guaranteed to take your breath away.

Sumot Twin Falls in Baringo County. Published by KTN

32. Releng Hot Springs

Situated 10 kms north of Ossen Center, deep in the rural region of Bartolimo in Kitibei Village, the rumpty rough-hewn Releng Hot Springs is, all the same, a catchy spot to enjoy a no-frills outdoor bath. A liked day-spa by the natives, who literally strip down to the state of nature, all to be amused by it, Releng Springs lack little in adventure. Traditionally, gender dictates how revelers take a bath. Men bath up-stream. Notwithstanding, it is a place of laughter, playfulness and sheer joy. Here, the friendly and welcoming folk let their guard down and take in nature with a big-spoon. It is also set within an easy-on-the-eye country that is inviting for hill climbing excursions, fly-fishing, camping, cultural tours and nature photography.  On a lesser note, Releng is historically known for sighting of the African black and Martial eagles. Getting to Releng Springs is easier from Chambai Village from where it takes a 20-25 minutes walk down into the valley.

33. Kipsaraman Museum

Kipsaraman, sometimes spelt Kipsaramon, is one of the most significant fossil sites in Tugen Hills and in Rift Valley region of Kenya. Kipsaraman is located at the north edge of Tugen Hills and about 30 kms north of Kabarnet Town nearby Kapsomin. Kipsaraman Museum was gazetted as a national monument in 1990 following the discovery of a farrago of fossils related to primitive man. It gained global fame as a preeminent site in the study of evolution and climatic changes.  Significantly, in 2000, the ‘Orrorin Tugenensis’, also known as the ‘Millennium Man‘ – named so because the fossilised remains were found at the turn of this millennium – was excavated here and dated back 5 million years ago. “The first remains were discovered in the Tugen Hills of Kenya’s Baringo on October 25, 2000, by a troupe from College de France in Paris and the Museums of Kenya”.

French and Kenyan scientists have unearthed fossilized remains of mankind’s earliest known ancestor that predate previous discoveries by more than 1.5 million years. The discovery of “Millennium Man,” as the creature has been nicknamed, could change the way scientists think about evolution and the origin of species. – Deseret News, Utah

34. Kolloa Monument

Kolloa Monument is a solemn aide-memoire of the 1950 massacre styled as the Kolloa Afray. The government of the day, unarguably antagonistic to all native movements, had confronted followers of Lukas Pketch, a sedulously influential tribal master. Although Pketch’s motivations were not, or not exclusively, anti-European, he was thought as being so by the colonial coterie, and so he and his followers were as a rule suppressed. As a consequence, they became growingly associated with the idea of anti-European resistance. According to the locals, more than 100 Pokot’s lost their lives in the ill-fated events of Kolloa Afray. “It happened on April 24th, at Kolloa, where colonial forces confronted Pkech and 300 spear-carrying followers. Or maybe Pkech confronted them; the exact order of events is unclear. Whether Pkech’s men actually attacked the British force, or threatened to, or whether they cold-bloodedly ordered the men to fire, or whether someone panicked under the pressure, depends on whose account one believes”. What was clear by the end of the afternoon was the carnage. After this war broke-off, Dini ya Msambwa, which was headed by Pkecth, in Baringo, wound down its pursuit at Kolloa. Kolloa is located 111 kms from Marigat Town.

Spatial Location of Kolloa in Baringo County
Spatial Location of Kolloa in Baringo County

35. Lake Kamnarok

From Kabarnet Town on the way to Iten, the first views of the Kerio Valley are stupefying. In parched contrast to the verdant wooded and precipitous Tugen Hills, it unfolds as a flat, sun-scorched and in-hospitable valley, where even the birds plying its skies seem aware of its hardship. On the Kerio Valley, the 1 km2 Lake Kamnarok stands out, much like a mirror would in the meadow. This tiny freshwater oxbow lake was formed in 1961 as a consequence of the Kerio River remodeling and altering its course. Lake Kamnarok is part of the 66 km2 Kerio Valley National Reserve, also known as Kerio Valley Conservation Area, which was gazetted in 1984 to preserve the beauty of this scenic and ecological gamut. The tiny Lake Kamnarok is widely-known for its history of tragedy and loss, and for its historic comeback and wake from the brink of extinction. During the late 1980’s, Lake Kamnarok is said to been a momentous waterhole for an estimated population of 500 elephants that routinely watered here.  As with several lakes around the fast-growing Rift Valley region, its actuality had been jeopardized by impeding farming pursuits. Following its near disintegration in 2008, Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet Counties re-doubled their efforts to avert the calamity, successfully reviving Lake Kamnarok at a cost of Kshs. 11 million. Although not where it used to be in varied flora and fauna, life is slowly returning to the Lake.

A Sectional View of Lake Kamnarok. Image Courtesy
A Sectional View of Lake Kamnarok. Image Courtesy

36. Chebloch Gorge

The 71 m high and 3 m wide Chebloch Gorge, set along the boundary of Elgeyo Marakwet and Baringo Counties, is a deep taper gulch hewing the Kerio Valley floodplain.  Chebloch Gorge is distinguishable by its bizarrely eroded and spiky rocks caused by the attrition of the rapidly streaming Kerio River. The obvious highlight at Chebloch is, of course, the team of daring local divers who plunge 70 ms through the narrowed gorge, into the Kerio River.  While the thought of following suit would make most trippers literally jump-out-of-their-own-skins, considering how thin the gorge is, the divers make light work of this extremely dangerous leap, again and again. It doesn’t help either that the rocks at the top of Chebloch Gorge are quite slippery. It is located 15 kms from Kabarnet Town.

Location of Chebloch Gorge in Baringo County
Spatial Location of Chebloch Gorge in Baringo County

37. Kerio Valley

Kerio Valley, an appendage of the Great Rift Valley in north-western Kenya, is arguably the most distinguishable scenery in Elgeyo Marakwet. It stretches out northwards from Kimwarer, near the head of Kerio River, to Chesegon, at the base of Cherangani Hills and to the border between Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot. On the whole, it spans a total distance of 100 kms. Generally speaking, Kerio Valley is a vast platteland, set hard on a fairly flat resplendent lowland between Elgeyo Escarpment and Tugen Hills, on an elevation of about 1000 ms.

38. Mektei Ridge

Both ends of Elgeyo Marakwet County – top and bottom – are marked by steep upland ridges. To the north, the Cherangani Hills terminate its frontier along the boundary with West Pokot. To the south, the rutted Mektei Ridge marks its southern boundary with Baringo. Best seen along the Nyaru-Kabarnet Road or along C51 Eldama Ravine-Nyaru-Eldoret Road, the heavily wooded and deeply gullied Mektei Ridge leaps up to 3500 ms. The Metkei Forest is an inaccessible forest in the back of beyond, on top of a very steep escarpment, where the Kerio River has its source. From the Mektei Ridge, the land then falls in a series of steep slopes and flat plateaus that comprise the Elgeyo Escarpment, thereafter culminating in the splendorous Kerio Valley, which averages about 1000 ms asl.

39. Lembus Forest

One of the rhapsodized about brill drives in Baringo County is the short road from Emening (along Nakuru-Sigor Road), taking to the eastern side of Lembus Forest, en-route Tenges Town, which has been cut into the steep hillside. This narrow road with barely enough space for two vehicles, only had enough space for one car up until the late 1980’s. “It is only wide enough for one vehicle, often with no passing places for several miles, and a driver is well advised to ascertain before leaving Sigoro that there is no other car on the road ahead” – J.T. Walsh.

Video of the Tenges-Kabarnet Road. Published by Alex Tibwitta

40. Eldama Ravine

For the discerning intrepid, Eldama Ravine Town, simply known as Ravine, is a treasure trove.  What is more, it is a start-off point to the scenic Ravine-Eldoret Road and Ravine-Kabarnet Road that are rare treats for travellers who would rather explore new circuits. The growth of Ravine was the result of it becoming a small railway halting point and the headquarters of a much larger district of the Uganda Protectorate. Amusing to note, is that Ravine area was once part of Nakuru County, an error resulting from many changes in its boundaries when it was the main town for the laying of Kenya to Uganda Railway; where it’s rooted. Ravine is named after the steep-sided gorge cut by the Eldama River, about 2 kms north of the town, and which, when joined by the Chemosusu River a few kilometres downstream, is nearly 1,000 feet deep, with precipitous sides. Rally enthusiasts and travellers alike best know Ravine for the legendary “Tugumoi Down” which is a 40 kms run down into the Kerio Valley through Tugumoi and Sigoro terminating near Tenges and the Kenya Flouspar Company at Kimwarer.

41. St. Swithin’s Church

Without a brief on its novel past, this ‘simple brick Church on a hill’ in Ravine Town commends little attention. At the time of its completion, in 1957, Eldama Ravine was an unpeopled village and the building of the Swithin Church was a momentous community (harambee) effort by both its locals and settler farmers. It was pioneered by Tusen Family whose graves are within the premises.  Close by the Church is a derelict house that was formerly used as the D.C’s residence that was also the birthplace of Joseph Z. Murumbi, Kenya’s 2nd Vice President.

42. Koibatek Forest

Koibatek Forest marking the southern limits of Baringo along the border with Kericho and Nakuru Counties is the headwaters for the Molo River which flows down and drains into Lake Baringo.  The Kenya Forest Station at Sabatia – one of its seven forest stations – is a great jumping-off point to explore this 41 km2 floral rich forest. Also noteworthy is the “Maji Mazuri” settlement along Ravine-Makutano-Kampi ya Moto Road which has been inhabited by a curious mix of varied communities and who have coexisted peacefully for many a generation. It covers an area of approximately 41 km2. The larger part of Koibatek Forest is dominated by planted forests that cover an approximated area of 21 km2, while the remaining section of approximately 20 km2 is covered by indigenous forest.

43. Chemususu Dam

Surprisingly untravelled is the rural lap along B53 Ravine-Eldoret Road, which travels past Chemususu Dam, Mektei Ridge (near Nyaru) and Kaptagat Forest (near Eldoret). Completed in 2014, about 15 kms northwest of Ravine, the 251-acres Chemususu Dam is the third largest dam in Kenya – after Ndakaini and Sasumua Dams. It is a 45-metres high dam with a capacity of 11 million cubic metres of water.  Constructed within the indigenous Chemususu Forest, it is expected to cater for close to 600,000 residents of Ravine and the surrounding region. One way to comprehend the beauty of Chemususu Dam and Forest is to get involved in the annual Chemususu Dam Marathon, whose invigorating 21 kms course loops around the dam. “This project marks the accomplishment of one of the Millenium Development Goals of increasing water supply in Kenya and it is the largest project undertaken within the Rift Valley region” – E.A.E.C.

44. Timboroa Railway Station

About 95 kms from Nakuru by way of the A104 Nakuru-Eldoret Road you reach Timboroa Town and the southeast gateway into Uasin Gishu County. The drive is arguably more enjoyable after Mau Summit (57 kms from Nakuru) as the B1 Londiani-Kericho-Kisumu offloads much of the traffic on the great procession to Western Kenya. At Timboroa there is a hidden gem often sold short at the old Timboroa Railway Station. Remarkably still in good shape, this modest wooden country-style railway station was installed in 1961, and at an altitude of 9001 ft stands as the 11th highest (non-cable) railway point in the world and the highest in the British Commonwealth. Timboroa also lies along the Equator that made crossing of this small rural hamlet historically of much interest for travellers on the defunct Lunatic Express. The Equator runs across the platform at Timboroa Railway Station. A small diamond sign used to be just visible at the end of the rail platform. In 1925, through an official public information gazette, an official postal office was established close to the station; once a heavily guarded facility.

Vintage Image of Timboroa Railway Station. Image Courtesy of Kenyan Facts
Vintage Image of Timboroa Railway Station. Image Courtesy of Kenyan Facts

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Baringo County Map

Baringo County Map
Baringo County Map