Lake Naivasha is a beautiful freshwater lake found within Nakuru County. Naivasha is a marvelous town with its own endemic beauty that is synonymous with the area. Its simplistic beauty draws many tourists to it and they have to pass through there on their way to other destinations. Lake Naivasha is a fresh water lake with sandy banks and fringed with papyrus. The lake is also surrounded by forests of the yellow barked Acacia Xanthophlea, also known as the yellow fever tree. These forests are abundant with bird life. The waters of the lake attract a wide range of game to the shores. Giraffes and waterbucks wander among the acacia. Buffalos are common. Colobus monkeys are seen on the treetops while the lakes large hippo population can be easily be seen.
Lake Naivasha derives its name from a Masai word Nai’posha that means ‘rough water’. This is because there are storms that arise from the lake indeterminately as a result of the afternoon winds experienced on it. At the start of the 20th Century, the lake had all but dried up and for a time disappeared creating an expanse that was consequently occupied by new estates. Upon its return into existence it swallowed up the said estates. This phenomenon has not occurred again. The area around Lake Naivasha is rich in agricultural bounty due to its fertile soils and water supply. Oloiden and Sinachi are other smaller crater lakes found within the area and would be worth visiting too while you are in Naivasha. The lake possesses a depth of 20 feet with the deepest part of the lake being found at the Crescent Island.
How to Get To Lake Naivasha
It is possible to get to Naivasha by Road
By Road: The town of Naivasha is located to the North East edge of the Lake. Lake Naivasha is located one and a half hours from Nairobi and if one is travelling by car which is the main means to get there then this is the amount of time to be covered. It is the highest elevation of the Rift Valley at a height of 6, 181 feet in a complex geological combination of sedimentary deposits and volcanic rocks. Aside from the various streams that feed the lake, it is fed by two perennial rivers namely; Malewa and Gilgil Rivers. The lake is surrounded by an area of swamp whose size is dependent on the rainfall that is received within the area.
By Rail: The new railway that has been built recently is located to the South of Naivasha and connected to the South in Suswa can also be another mode of getting to the Lake, although once one alights from the train they would have to be transferred to the Lake by road.
What to See and Do in and around Lake Naivasha
Lake Naivasha is home to one of Kenya’s best kept secrets which is the Crescent Island Game Sanctuary. Within this amazing gem, one can embark on walking tours with a guide of course and see some animals up close and personal. Some of the animals that one would be able to spot while within the Sanctuary are Impalas, Zebras, waterbucks, giraffes, wildebeest and the eland. The island is ideal for activities such as hiking; biking and weekend retreats as well and as such there can never be a dull moment. One access the island via boat rides across the lake which gives a marvelous view of the hippos and water birds found within the lake.
As earlier mentioned Lake Naivasha is a birding sanctuary and as such home to over 450 species of birds, providing any bird watcher with a world class experience. Some of the birds that are synonymous with the area include; Grey-capped warblers, pelicans, weavers, goliath heroine, brimstone canaries and the iconic fish eagles.
A visit to the clear crater lakes can also be on the itinerary since they are found quite close to the lake. The Crater Lake game sanctuary is also home to some fauna that you may not have been able to see within the Crescent Island Sanctuary.
Would you be interested in an adventure up a dormant volcano? Mt. Longonot is up for grabs all you have to do is take it so to speak. You can enjoy a hike up to the peak of the mountain and then interact with some animals along the way as well. The mountain is located 16.1km from the lake and as such the journey there can be further made enjoyable by engaging in different activities along the way.
On the accommodation front, you are definitely covered. From the properties located in and around Lake Naivasha you shall be absolutely well taken care of. You have your pick of budget, mid-range and luxury options that all offer top drawer services to all those who patronize these establishments.
Crescent Island Game Sanctuary Entry Fees
Citizens: Adults: Kshs. 600
Child: Kshs. 300
Residents: Adults: Kshs. 800
Child: Kshs. 400
Non-Residents: Adults: USD 20
Child: USD 12
Student: USD 15
Park rules/code of conduct
- Respect the privacy of the wildlife, this is their habitat.
- Beware of the animals, they are wild and can be unpredictable.
- Don’t crowd the animals or make sudden noises or movements.
- Don’t feed the animals, it upsets their diet and leads to human dependence.
- Keep quiet, noise disturbs the wildlife and may antagonize your fellow visitors.
- Stay in your vehicle at all times, except at designated picnic or walking areas.
- Keep below the maximum speed limit (40 kph/25 mph).
- Never drive off-road, this severely damages the habitat.
- When viewing wildlife keep to a minimum distance of 20 meters and pull to the side of the road so as to allow others to pass.
- Leave no litter and never leave fires unattended or discard burning objects.
- Respect the cultural heritage of Kenya, never take pictures of the local people or their habitat without asking their permission, respect the cultural traditions of Kenya and always dress with decorum.
- Stay over or leave before dusk, visitors must vacate the Park between 6.00 p.m. – 6.00 a.m. unless they are camping overnight. Night game driving is not allowed.