The Rimoi National Reserve is an animal conservation reserve that is located in the Elgeyo Marakwet County in Kenya. It is a relatively small reserve, covering 66 km2, and is protected by the Kenya Wildlife Service. It lies adjacent to Lake Kamnarock which has recently dried up and is part of a conservation area that is five larger than its size
Adjacent to Rimoi and part of the same ecosystem, but on the other side of the Kerio River (in Baringo District), is Lake Kamnarok. Six years ago, for the first time in recorded history it dried up --- to the great loss of the crocodiles and all other wildlife. Even in the worst years of drought and starvation in living memory, probably the Kipng'osia of 1918/19 and the Kiplel Kowo (white bones) of 1924/25, the lake was there to assist animals and people to survive --- so this was indeed an unexpected and unfortunate event. The great news is that for the last few years the Lake has been gradually reviving.
The larger mammals in Rimoi include Elephants, monkeys, warthogs, impala, zebra and giraffe. The latter two were recently introduced by the KWS and they seem to be doing well.
Without a doubt, it is the elephants which make Rimoi special. Including young ones, they number more than 500 and, very unusually, move in large "clan" groups (often exceeding 100 animals). Until recent times, they would move in and out of the Reserve and up and down the valley at will, in accordance with the availability of water and food. This has now changed with the completion of an electric fence along the northern. western and southern boundaries of the Reserve.(with a corridor being left for the elephants who feel an urge to migrate to ancestral breeding grounds to the south and north). Actually, the electric fence was installed to keep people and domestic animals out of the Reserve as much as to keep elephants in. In neither objective does the fence completely succeed ----- for the simple reason that the whole eastern border of Rimoi is the Kerio River and unfenced and easily crossed.
The elephants are very wild, because they don't like people (who they associate with the aggression and danger of hunters), and hard to see because they shelter in the riverine bush during the heat of the day and do much of their feeding in the late evening or night. They should not be sought without the assistance of the game rangers. In the past, to find them, hunters would have to climb one of the prominent hills in the area (such as Koisabul) and survey the panorama of bushland patiently for indicators of the elephants' presence, such as rising dust and /or disturbed flicks of birdsi; then they would stategise to get into position to stage an ambush of the animals. Often, it took too long reach the position and they found the elephants had moved on to a different area. Todays visitors (armed with cameras, we hope, rather than poisoned spears) may be equally frustrated to catch a sight of them, as the herds are very mobile and have plenty of cover. It is possible to be 50m away from a herd and see no sign. Then again, even if positively located, that 50m into the bush is unlikely to be driveable.