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Lake Jibe

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Deep in the south of Kenya just north of the Tanzanian mountains there is a little known place of incredibly unspoiled beauty away from the crowds – Lake Jibe. Tucked perfectly at the southern edge of Tsavo West National Park, the lake is a wonderfully quiet place not frequented by many visitors on safari.

Lake Jipe is a small, shallow lake (area 28 sq. km and average depth less than 3 m), lying astride the Kenya-Tanzania border, just to the east of the northern Pare Mountains of Tanzania (Mwanga district, in the Kilimanjaro region). It is 12 km long and 2.5 km wide, 12 square km belong to Tanzania and 14 square km to Kenya. Tsavo West National Park of Kenya borders the southern portion of the lake while Mt Kilimanjaro dominates the horizon some distance to the northwest.

Lake Jipe is framed by tall reeds, with plenty of hippo, elephant and birdlife painting its shallow waters. The lake is one of Kenya's most important wetlands, providing refuge for numerous water and marsh birds. It also unfortunately attracts a terrifying number of mosquitoes and lake flies. There is a motor boat for hire at the gate, or you could do it the local way and hire a dug out from the local fishermen in the village two kilometres from here.

The lake receives its main inflow from Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania via River Lumi passing through Kenya. The other main inflow is via River Muvulani from the Pare Mountains. Several temporary streams, mainly from the Pare Mountains, also drain into Lake Jipe. The lake has one outflow, the River Ruvu, located in Tanzania to the south of River Lumi, the main inflow. The Pangani River Basin provides water for hydropower plants at Nyumba ya Mungu that generates 8 MW, Hale 17 MW and Pangani Falls 66 MW, which accounts for at least 20 per cent of the country’s power output.

Lake Jipe is transboundary water mass of international importance and it serves an essential environmental function, being a permanent water reservoir for wildlife in two National Parks (Tsavo West in Kenya and Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania). It has been a major source of livelihood as it has been supporting a thriving fishing industry and water transport business enterprises.

This is a place, the more discerning traveler would deeply appreciate its tranquility and beauty.
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