Lake Naivasha, located just 55 miles (89 km) northwest of Nairobi is the first popular stop out of the city, this near-circular and shallow freshwater lake has a beautiful Rift Valley setting, with the distinctive volcanic outline of Mount Longonot rising to the south. The lake features fringing papyrus beds, secluded lagoons, and the picturesque Crescent Island. Lake Naivasha safari is Kenya’s best option for picnics and water sports for Nairobi residents, and it is a birdwatcher’s paradise.
Lake Naivasha Safari Tours
The Lake is a popular stop on tours to the Masai Mara and an excellent base for freshly landed travelers, with enough activities to keep them occupied for several days. The name Naivasha is a corruption of the Maasai enaiposha (restless water), in a possible reference to the rough waves that often sweep its surface in the afternoon. The Gilgil and Malewa rivers flow into Naivasha’s swampy northern shore, but there is no known outlet and the water most probably stays fresh due to a subterranean outlet that emerges at Lake Magadi
Crescent Island Game Park
A boat ride to Crescent Island and a walk around this game-and-bird sanctuary, which is host to zebra, giraffe, waterbuck, several antelope species and a few camels. Originally the rim of an extinct volcanic crater, as can be clearly seen from the air, Crescent Island encloses the deepest part of Lake Naivasha and supports a variety of wildlife, including waterbuck and giraffe. A popular half-day outing arranged as part of Lake Naivasha Safari is a must to do on a visit. The island is connected to the mainland by a marshy causeway that dries up completely when the lake is low. As there are no predatory animals, you are permitted to walk freely among the abundant wildlife, which includes giraffe, zebra, waterbuck, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle and buffalo, as well as a profusion of waterbirds.
Lake Naivasha Birds
Renowned as one of Kenya’s ornithological high points, Lake Naivasha supports around 500 bird species, with large flotillas of the handsome great white pelican being particularly conspicuous. Lake Naivasha birds include; African fish eagles, Waterfowl, plovers, sandpipers, avocet, terns, kingfishers, storks and ibis are plentiful. This is a freshwater lake with a suspected underground outlet, so it is less attractive to flamingos, which prefer soda lakes.
Green Crater Lake
Nestled at the base of a lush volcanic crater, this small, beautiful lake that is also part of the Lake Naivasha ecosystem forms the centerpiece of a private wildlife sanctuary whose attractions include colobus monkeys, giraffes, and flamingoes.
Oserengoni Wildlife Sanctuary
This private sanctuary within the Lake Naivasha Ecosystem offers the best game viewing around Naivasha, with naturally occurring populations of leopard, cheetah, plains zebra, and various grazers, as well as introduced herds of white rhino and Grevy’s zebra. Oserengoni Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1996 on a former dairy and beef farm and serviced by exclusive accommodation units, including the excellent Chui Lodge.
As a connecting game corridor between Hell’s Gate National Park and Lake Naivasha, Oserengoni supports a wide range of wildlife from leopard to Grevy’s zebra and Beisa oryx introduced from Northern Kenya and a herd of white rhino introduced from Mount Kenya. Some 300 bird species include the largest known population of the endangered grey-crested helmet-shrike. Game drives can be arranged here on your Lake Naivasha Safari in open vehicles and exciting bush walks are conducted by well-informed guides. However, day visitors may not be permitted in the sanctuary.
How to get to Lake Naivasha
Lake Naivasha is easily reached from Nairobi by road on a 3-hour drive along a smooth the tarmac led Naivasha road. Access to the lake is along the surfaced Moi South Lake Road, which runs southwest out of Naivasha town along the southern shore for about 30 km (19 miles) before veering northward as far as Kongoni Junction, where it becomes the Moi North Lake Road. This northern road is now surfaced in quality, with little traffic, especially after the entrance gate to Crater Lake Game Sanctuary.