Firstly, let’s kick off with a quickfire round of commonly asked questions about L. Naivasha and Naivasha in general.
What is the meaning of Naivasha?
The name Naivasha is derived from the Maasai term Nai’posha which means ‘rough water.’ This is due to the fact that L. Naivasha is prone to sudden storms.
How far is it from Nairobi to Naivasha?
The distance from Nairobi’s CBD to Naivasha Town is about 92 km or about 57 miles. This is about an hour’s drive; give or take a few tens of minutes, of course, depending on one’s driving speed.
Are there flamingos in L. Naivasha?
Yes. Both the greater and lesser flamingo species are found on L. Naivasha.
Does Lake Naivasha have an outlet?
Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake. However, the lake has no visible outlets. It is, therefore, assumed that the lake has underground outlets. Noteworthy, the lake is fed by streams and the perennial Gilgil River and Malewa River.
Is there Uber in Naivasha?
While it seems possible to set a pickup location and a destination on the Uber app in Naivasha there are usually no Uber operators in Naivasha. Of course, this situation may change at any moment. On the other hand, there are plenty of offline, so to speak, taxi operators in the town. The price is set by negotiation.
Places To Visit While In Naivasha
1. Hell’s Gate National Park
Hell’s Gate National Park is perhaps the most popular tourist attraction in Naivasha. The park is ideal for camping, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, nature walks, and picnics. One can also visit the Maasai Center for a cultural experience. While the park is not particularly known for its wildlife, one can still spot animals such as zebras, giraffes, and warthogs among others. Lions and leopards also reside in the park but are rare to spot.
The park is characterized by water-gouged gouges, rock towers, and volcanic features.
2. Crescent Island Game Sanctuary
Crescent Island is a peninsula on Lake Naivasha accessible by boat or road. The sanctuary is known for its birdlife and is hence ideal for birdwatching. Some of the bird species include pelicans, cormorants, and fish eagles. The island is also home to an array of herbivorous wild animals such as giraffes, gazelles, waterbucks, zebras, and wildebeests. In fact, Crescent Island Game Sanctuary has more animals per acre than any other Kenyan park making it popular with animal documentaries film crews.
Some of the activities at the sanctuary include nature walks and picnics.
3. Lake Naivasha
Lake Naivasha is home to a fairly large population of hippos and over 400 bird species. Crocodiles have also been sighted at the lake. Boat rides are a popular activity on Lake Naivasha. The breathtaking scenery of the lake especially during sunrise and sunset is also worth seeing.
4. Lake Oloiden
Lake Oloiden is right next to Lake Naivasha, therefore, sharing the same ecosystem with Lake Naivasha. As such, much of the fauna and flora in Lake Naivasha is also found in and around Lake Oloiden. Albeit much smaller than Lake Naivasha, one can still enjoy boat rides as well as fishing and hippo and flamingo spotting.
Camping is also a popular activity at Lake Oloiden.
5. Mt. Longonot
Mt. Longonot is a stratovolcano (a volcano built up of alternate layers of lava and ash) rising from the floor of the Great Rift Valley 28 km from Naivasha town. The mountain is thought to have last erupted in the 1860s. The mountain gets its name from the Maasai who called it Oloonong’ot which translates to ‘mountain of many spurs’ or ‘steep ridges.’
The mountain’s crater is filled with a thick forest. Wild animals such as buffaloes, elands, lion, leopard, bushbucks, common zebra, giraffe, and Grant’s gazelles are found within the mountain’s ecosystem.
6. Crater Lake
Crater Lake is about 10 km from Naivasha town. The lake is a green soda lake situated at the bottom of a volcano. It is surrounded by Crater Lake Game Sanctuary which is home to over 150 bird species and wild animals such as giraffes, zebras, buffalos, and elands among other plains wildlife.
Crater Lake is held in high regard by the Maasai people who believe it has soothing powers for their ailing cattle.
7. Olkaria Geothermal Spa
Olkaria Geothermal Spa is located within Hell’s Gate National Park. It consists of three cascading lagoon-style pools of water naturally heated to varying degrees. The largest pool has heated water at about 35°C. Just a few feet away is a children’s pool to allow for a family-themed outing at the site.
Furthermore, the spa site also has a cafeteria, conference and exhibition halls, and a sauna.
8. Kigio Wildlife Sanctuary
Yet another wildlife sanctuary to choose from while in the Naivasha region. Kigio Wildlife Sanctuary is located near Gilgil which is about 30 km from Naivasha. The sanctuary is community-owned and is home to over 300 bird species, as well as gazelles, elands, African buffalos, hippos, impalas, and waterbucks among others.
9. Hotels and Lodges in Naivasha
While this may not be a wildlife sanctuary or a hiking trail, hotels and lodges in Naivasha are a real attraction to the region. Lodges around Lake Naivasha offer splendid views of the lake as well as the surrounding physical features. For a good number of them, guests can easily spot wild animals that wander into the lodges to graze on the lawns. The lodges offer a unique blend of modern world-class accommodation with an immersive experience into the local ecosystem for a truly authentic safari experience.
Also, the neighboring regions such as Nakuru and Elementaita also have equally fascinating game parks and lake ecosystems to warrant a visit.