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Have you been to Lake Naivasha yet? If no, then pack your bags and get ready to dive into the beauty of deep blue lakes and rich acacia forests. A freshwater lake fringed by thick Papyrus in Kenya is a perfect destination that will make you gawk at its beauty. Lake Naivasha is a world-class birding destination that draws the attention of the residents of Nairobi to spend the weekends to enjoy the Africa boat safari here.
A great range of game is drawn to these shores by the waters of the lake. Giraffes wander among the acacia, the Lake's large hippo population sleep all day in the shallows. Experience a guided walking safari in Crescent Island to observe pelican Kenya and cormorants along the shore. You might get to see buffalo, zebra, giraffe, waterbucks, gazelle, and many others.
Nearest airport: Nairobi.
How to reach: from Nairobi by road
Famous for: African Fish Eagles, Pelicans, Cormorant colonies, Walking safaris, and boat rides
Months open: All year
Best time to Visit: June to Sept; Jan to mid-Mar
Bird watching, with over 400 species of birds
Large number of hippos, rhinos, zebras, impalas, and giraffes
Mount Longonot hike
Hells Gate National Park
Crescent Island walking safari
Boat rides on the lake
Naivasha attracts a variety of animals with its rich flora around the Lake. The birdlife here is full, varied and constant with over 400 species recorded which can be spotted along the shoreline - from pelicans, African fish eagles, flamingo Kenya, weavers, cormorants, and warblers. The lake also plays host to a variety of animals like buffalo, antelope, giraffe, warthog and monkey, and its protected hippo population which you will witness for sure. The hippos lazily watch the proceedings from the cooling water. They are remarkably sensitive creatures, despite their bulk and always know where to venture after dark with their good night vision. If you explore around the acacia woodlands in the southern reaches of the lake, you might get a glimpse of Naivasha rhino. Catch sight of the giraffes taking barbed wire and gates in their stride, floating blithely through the trees. Spot zebra, waterbuck, wildebeest grazing in the farms and expansive grounds of the campsites.
Lake Naivasha is home to a variety of freshwater fish like black bass, crayfish, and tilapia that invite many fish-eating birds like African Fish Eagles, Pelican Kenya, Kingfishers, and Cormorants. It offers you the beautiful sight of Great White Pelicans swimming silently in small groups, using their long beaks to test the waters for fish and catch them with their pouches, Doves cooing in the woods, splendid African Fish Eagles filling the air with their mournful cries like Seagulls. Once a bay of the main lake, Lake Oloiden, which is now a separate saline lake, frequently attracts wayward Flamingo Kenya. Unveil a plethora of the region's spectacular birdlife on a boating safari through the sparkling waters of the Naivasha Lake to observe them up and close.
Nearby destinations to Lake Naivasha:
Within a short drive from Lake Naivasha, you can explore other attractions like the Hell's Gate National Park and Crescent Island Game Sanctuary. A small gem of a park, Crescent Island is not a much-crowded one like other parks. Take an easy stroll or a guided walking safari alongside the rich birdlife and the grazing wildlife and observe the pelicans and cormorants along the shore while enjoying a little picnic. You’ll also come across zebra, buffalo, giraffe, impala, gazelle to name a few. Finish your day on the hilltop with its 360° views including Lake Naivasha and Hell’s Gate Park to experience a spectacular Africa moment.
A quick trip from Lake Naivasha is to Hell's Gate National Park, a park with rare predatory birds and guided trails. Catch the sight of the rare bearded vulture and Verreaux’s eagle. Take a dip in Africa’s largest natural mineral pool which has great columns of steam billow up from the springs and geysers. Go hiking, bicycling past the impala, baboon, eland, buffalo, and gazelle inhabiting the park or go climbing if that's your thing. Finish off your day at Hell’s Gate Gorge to view the rock formation, an inspiration behind ‘Pride Rock’ from the movie, “The Lion King".
Mount Longonot day hike: Climbed a volcano before? Well, Mount Longonot, an extinct volcano that last erupted in the 1860s offers you the best climbing experience. Mt. Longonot National Park protects the volcano and its environs. Experience hiking to the crater rim on a 3.1 km (1.9 mi) trail starting at the park’s entrance with views of the wide crater and a forest, covering the crater floor taking about 2 hours, or hike around the crater on a 7.2 km (4.5 m) loop for a challenging one. You'll also be on the watch for zebra, giraffe, buffalo, gazelle, hartebeest and occasionally a leopard. Dive in the wonderful views of the Rift Valley and Lake Naivasha while looking beyond the crater.
Where to stay:
Sopa Naivasha - Enjoy your stay in nature's lap amidst wildlife as this resort is situated on the shores of Lake Naivasha. Enjoy an open-air meal or get a sunbath in the swimming pool area or other activities provided by the resort and always be certain to come across giraffes, solemn Colobus monkeys on the estate wherever you go.
Crescent Camp - Experience the luxury canvas constructed tents with the chirping birds nestling in the acacia trees towering over them. Play pool at the bar while the chef will whip up anything you want, even a fish that you just caught. The luxurious accommodation is the icing on the cake.
Naivasha Country Club - Get carried away with a mesmerizing view of the Lake Naivasha sparkling in the sun from the top of the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley thousands of feet below. This place is perfect for both the active and leisure traveler as it offers an abundance of activities to please all tastes.