Lake Naivasha is one of Kenya's most stunning Rift
Valley freshwater lakes. It is surrounded by feathery
papyrus, marshy lagoons and grassy shores. The lake
itself is not technically a national park as most of the
land around the lake is privately owned, but there are
enough wildlife attractions to warrant a listing.
Strong afternoon winds cause the lake to get very rough
quite suddenly. The local Maasai called the lake
Nai'posha, meaning "rough water", which the British
later spelled incorrectly as Naivasha.
Lake Naivasha was once Kenya's international airport!
Flying boats from Europe used to land on the water. Even
today when the water is low you can see the wooden posts
that mapped out the runway. The area around Lake
Naivasha is fertile agricultural land,
particularly for vegetables, fruit and flowers. Thanks
to Kenya's new international airport at Eldoret,
European florists are selling flowers 24 hours after
they have been cut in plantations next to Lake Naivasha.
Lake Naivasha is about 13km across, but its waters are
shallow, with an average depth of five metres, and home
to many hippos. At the beginning of the 20th century,
Naivasha inexplicably completely dried up and the land
was farmed, until heavy rains a few years later caused
the lake to return.
Much of Lake Naivasha is surrounded by forests of the
yellow-barked Acacia tree, full of birds and black and
white colobus monkeys. The Acacias were once called
'yellow fever trees' after explorers who camped under
them caught malaria. You can take a boat on the lake to
see the hippos, pelicans and fish eagles at close
quarters and also to get to Crescent Island - a
protected reserve where you can walk amongst zebra,
antelope and giraffe that come to the water's edge to
drink. There are no predators, so this is one of the few
places in Kenya offering the opportunity to walk amongst
Of the other attractions near the lake, Elsamere, the
former home of Joy and George Adamson, is a must-see.
Once the home of Elsa the Lioness, this house
overlooking the lake has now been transformed into a
museum commemorating the story of 'Born Free'. It's also
a great place for a spot of cream tea on the grassy
lawns. The 68 sq km Hell's Gate National Park also lies
beside the lake. It was named for its pair of massive
red tinged cliffs and was proclaimed as a park to
protect the variety of vultures and eagles that breed in
these cliffs. The park is home to a profusion of plains
game and birdlife. Again, as there are no predators,
walking is permitted, making it ideal for hiking, biking
and rock climbing.
Trip to Crescent Island It's a short trip across the
lake Naivasha to Crescent Island, there you can walk
close to all sorts of wild animals, giraffes, zebras,
antelopes, wildebeests, etc. It's truly an unforgettable
experience. A trained Kenya Wildlife Service guide
accompanies you, so it's good to be prepared to give a
tip at the end of your time there.
Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge
Lake Naivasha Country Club
Apart from Amboseli National Park, Kenya boasts
of other parks which include