The Shompole Ecosystem
The Shompole Ecosystem is an hidden gem, located in the southern Rift Valley of Kenya, bordering Lake Natron (in Tanzania) to the South, the Western wall of the Great Rift Valley to the West and Lake Magadi to the East. It is made up of two Maasai communities, Shompole and Olkiramatian, both of whom have set aside conservancies for the purpose of hosting visitors, and giving their cattle a ‘grass bank’ for drought times.
The ecosystem is also located almost half way between the famous Amboseli National Park and the Maasai Mara National Reserve and thus is an important possible wildlife corridor between these two great wildlife refuges. The Ewaso Nyiro River runs from North to South through both communities. Originating in the Mau complex, it runs throughout the year the life line for this ecosystem. It ends its life in Lake Natron, having first been filtered through the Shompole swamps. For an arid area, there are also a surprising number of clear streams that feed into the ecosystem from the Western Rift valley wall (known as the Nguruman escarpment).
All of this make this area surprisingly diverse in terms of bird life, large mammals, key predators, the presence of elephants and of course all living alongside the Maasai and their livestock.