THE once magnificent Lake Olbollosat in Nyandarua county is almost now a pale shadow of its former self. The Thompson Gazelles, which used to inhabit the lake, have disappeared. It was initially characterised by croaking of frogs, chirping of birds, yawning of hippos and cool breezes that gave foreign and domestic tourists a feel of life and direct contact with nature whenever they paid it a visit. Sometimes, it is extremely shallow hence possible to drive cars on its dry bend with at least only six months of persistent drought, but thank God, the Nyandarua County government has come to its rescue.

Before independence, the lake was surrounded by savannah grasslands known as Salient and was deliberately ignored by the Settlement Land Trustee upon demarcation of surrounding lands after independence. However, through Governor Daniel Waithaka, the county government has embarked on a programme of planting one million trees around Satima peak of Aberdare ranges in an effort to promote Lake Ol Bollosat. Being the only lake in Mount Kenya region and among the very few others located on highlands at an altitude of 2300 metres above sea level, the county government now wants to make it a tourist destination.
This is after the county government held its debut Lake Ol Bollosat 21 kilometre marathon on Sunday which attracted more than 500 athletes from various counties across the country. The theme of the race was “Discover Lake Ol bollosat”. During the marathon race, Waithaka said the purpose of the event is to create awareness of the lake through massive tree planting. “The purpose of this marathon is show that we have a huge water mass in Nyandarua and it is important we let people know about it by creating tourism here”, he said.

It has emerged that Nyandarua county has been making correspondences to relevant ministries to have it recognised as a conservation area since 1981 with no response. But there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel with recent letters addressed to the National Land Commission and Ministry of Environment to gazette the Lake as National Reserve.

Waithaka said his government is collaborating with Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Kenya Forest Services and other stakeholders to ensure its rehabilitation is protected. The lake ishome to around 400 species of birds which include 100 waterbird species that migrate from Europe, Australia, America and Egypt and have ring labels on their feet.

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