Lake Naivasha is a fresh water lake in central Kenya that lies just on the eastern edge of the Great Rift Valley; the lake is elevated at 1,884 meters making it one with the highest elevation in the rift valley. Lake Naivasha covers an area of 139 km2 and is surrounded by papyrus swamps and forests of the yellow barked Acacia Xanthophlea commonly called the yellow fever trees. The unique flora together with the lake make a perfect habitat for wide number of bird and mammal species. The Lake’s waters and surrounding fertile soils also enhance agricultural activities in the area.
Lake Naivasha is named after a Maasai word “Nai’posha” which means “Rough waters” and the lake was given this name because in some seasons there are sudden storms that arise on the lake waters.
Lake Naivasha is mainly fed by river Malewa and river Gilgil, and it is said in some seasons a couple of streams are seen to flow into the Lake. Though a fresh water body, Lake Naivasha doesn’t have a known water outlet. And because it’s a fresh water body, nature scholars believe the lake has an underground outlet where it lets its waters out. In the past years the Njorowa gorge had formed the Lake’s outlet but has since risen above the lake’s levels.
Lake Naivasha is located between Lake Nakuru and Maasai Mara, which compliments the Lake’s rich diversity and also for one having a safari, it makes it easy for you to connect to all the three places for a combined safari; In fact Naivasha is a popular stop of Kenyan safaris. Lake Naivasha is also a link between Kisumu and Nairobi.
Lake Naivasha and its surrounding harbour numerous bird species that include kingfishers, pelicans, great cormorants, fish Eagles, Pelicans, Grey-backed fiscal, hawks, cuckoos, woodpeckers, shrikes and many more. The animals around the lake include waterbucks, impalas, zebras, some buffaloes, giraffes, colobus monkeys and many more. The lake waters are a habitat for giant hippos and crocodiles. The fresh waters are a great source of black bass, tilapia and crayfish.
All this coupled with the Lake’s deep blue waters have made the lake a top tourism spot in Nakuru and Kenya. Another aspect of Lake Naivasha is the landing site that was in the years before; Lake Naivisha was a famous landing site for flying boats between the 1930s and 1950s. The boats were operated by Imperial Airways whose mail route was Southampton United, Kingdom to South Africa, Africa.
Famous Author Joy Adamson lived along the lake Naivasha’s shores in the 1960s, Joy was a famous British naturalist and author; she wrote the international bestseller “Born Free” a book that described her trials and tribulations of raising a lion cub. The place where she said was turned into a conservation centre to support efforts of conserving Lake Naivasha. The lake was also awarded Because of the RAMSAR site status for wetland conservation to further support its conservation.
Lake Naivasha as stated is a top tourism spot and most of the tourism activities done at the lake include but not limited to:-
Boat rides on Lake Naivasha are refreshing experiences that take you on the cosy breezy lake waters as you explore the unique and diverse flora, birdlife and wildlife on the lake and its surroundings. The guided boat rides on the lake take place daily on the lake; however, they are more exhaustive during the dry seasons. You can take a whole boat ride, half day boat ride or even a few hours boat ride depending on your preference and intent for the boat ride.
Lake Oloidien and Lake Sonachi
Explore the surrounding small lakes around Lake Naivasha thus Lake Oloidien and Lake Sonachi. These lakes give beautiful sceneries and also harbor some birds so you will also have a bird watching spree.
Birding and Game viewing
Taking a tour around the lake or a boat ride on the lake gives you a great chance to explore the different bird species on and around the lake as well as animals.
Birding and game viewing never gets old, you will be amazed at the variety of species that wow you and make you tour one to die off.
Taking walks at the crescent Island with Giraffes, Zebras, and wildebeests. This Island is a sanctuary for these animals so you don’t expect to encounter any predators on your walk with the mammals.
The walk also gives you a great opportunity to appreciate the nature at the Island and around the Island.
Hell’s Gate National Park
Lake Naivasha is close to Hell’s Gate National Park, a park that is endowed with beautiful volcanic landscapes and sceneries and hiking trails. A visit to this park is not just refreshing but adventurous and relaxing which makes your experience really memorable. As stated the park is close to Lake Naivasha so your trip to the Lake can always be coupled with a tour of the park.
You can also have a spa at Ol Karia Geothermal Spa, the largest geothermal spa known in Africa currently; the spa gets its heat from the volcanic activity around hence the name Hell’s gate
You can also take the adventurous climb up Mt. Longonot a dormant volcano. The hike takes about 4 to 5 hours to reach the crater of the mountain. The hike is memorable, you climb up as you view several animals like leopards, buffaloes, antelopes, and others.
There are many other activities that you can do on the lake and around the lake or even in the close proxy of Lake Naivasha.