1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Baringo

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BARINGO, a lake of British East Africa, some 30 m. N. of the equator in the eastern rift-valley. It is one of a chain of lakes which stud the floor of the valley and has an elevation of 3325 ft. above the sea. It is about 16 m. long by 9 broad and has an irregular outline, the northern shore being deeply indented. Its waters are brackish. Fed by several small streams it has no outlet. The largest of the rivers which enter it, the Tigrish and the Nyuki, run north through a flat marshy country which extends south of the lake. This district, inhabited by the negro tribe of Njamusi, was by the first explorers called Njemps. It is a fertile grain-growing region containing two considerable villages. The Njamusi are peaceful agriculturists who show marked friendliness to Europeans. N. of the lake rise the Karosi hills; to the E. the land rises in terraces to the edge of the Laikipia escarpment. A characteristic of the country in the neighbourhood of the lake are the "hills" of the termites (white ants). They are hollow columns 10 to 12 ft. high and from 1 ft. to 18 in. broad. The greater kudu, almost unknown elsewhere in East Africa, inhabits the flanks of the Laikipia escarpment to the east of the lake and comes to the foot-hills around Baringo to feed.

The existence of Lake Baringo was first reported in Europe by Ludwig Krapf and J. Rebmann, German missionaries stationed at Mombasa, about 1850; in J. H. Speke's map of the Nile sources (1863) Baringo is confused with Kavirondo Gulf of Victoria Nyanza; it figures in Sir H. M. Stanley's map (1877) as a large sheet of water N.E. of Victoria Nyanza. Joseph Thomson, in his journey through the Masai country in 1883, was the first white man to see the lake and to correct the exaggerated notions as to its size. Native tradition, however, asserts that the lake formerly covered a much larger area.