Geoparks.Africa
Geoparks and Geotourism in Africa. World Heritage Sites

Fingers crossed for Kenya’s Baringo Geopark

The elongated Ol Kokwe Island in the center of Lake Baringo SW of Korosi volcano

With only two Geoparks on the African Continent, one in Tanzania and the other in Morocco, Kenya now wants to also establish the third such Geo Site around the country’s Lake Baringo.

 The proposed ‘Baringo Geopark,’ is however pending an approval from the United Nations, Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which endorses such geological sisters of cultural and international values.

A Geopark is a UNESCO-designated area containing one or more sites of particular international geological importance, intended to conserve the geological heritage and promote public awareness of it, typically through tourism.

Should it be approved, then Baringo will join Morocco’s M’Goun and Tanzania’s Ngorongoro-Lengai to become the only three active Geopark in Africa.

However, Tanzania is already in the process of applying for the second Geopark around the country’s second highest peak, the Mount Meru.

And Kenya is meanwhile working on the first Geopark.

According to data from UNESCO, there are 170 Global Geoparks site in the world so far.

Out of those, only two are in Africa, the M’Goun of Morocco and Ngorongoro-Lengai in Tanzania.

Again of the two, only one, the Tanzanian site which is located in Sub-Saharan Region.

Kenya’s Baringo candidate is located within the Rift Valley. Baringo Geopark, once approved will come out with two lakes and plenty of rivers, hills, waterfalls, and caves.

Such natural features are the requirements that UNESCO considers when endorsing Global Geoparks.

Like Ngorongoro, Baringo is also believed to be cradle for mankind with the earliest human remains of speculated to be nearly six million years old, were also discovered in the region.

Lake Baringo, the thrid African Geopark in the making

The landscape is also quite spectacular and it is reported that the geology of the area is quite unique.

Lake Baringo has several islands such as Ol Kokwe Island which has hot springs and fumaroles, some of which have precipitated sulphur deposits.

The area is also important for its archaeological and paleontological sites, where important hominid fossil discoveries have been made.

Proposed Baringo Geopark area which also includes Lake Naivasha, is becoming more popular as a tourist destination despite floods

Geo tourism, on the other hand, is picking up globally, attracting mostly visitors from the Far-East and Asian countries.