The Rift Valley Lakes are a chain of lakes lying in the East African Rift which runs down the whole eastern side of the African continent from the Red Sea in the north to Mozambique in the south. These lakes include some of the oldest, largest and deepest lakes in the world, and many are freshwater ecoregions of great biodiversity, while others are alkaline or soda lakes supporting highly specialised species.

The World Wildlife Fund has designated the African Rift Valley Lakes one of its Global 200 priority ecoregions for conservation.

For reasons that aren't clear many of the lakes rose significantly in 2012 and reached levels not seen in fifty years. It is probable that these rises will have a long term impact on the lakes and the animal and bird-life they support. Historically past rises have taken many years to fall back. Even small changes can have a big impact on the surrounding ecosystem so it is very difficult to predict what the longer term effects of these big rises will be.

Each lake is different, has its own character and supports its own unique range of plant and animal species. Many are seen as so important they have been gazetted and protected as national parks and reserves. Others are vital sources of water and food for some of the people of the region.

Because the lakes are so different it is quite feasible for people to visit more than one lake and have a totally different experience at each.