Lake Naivasha and Mount Longonot
Lake Naivasha sits at the highest elevation of the Kenyan Rift valley at 1,884 metres (6,181 ft) and around 90km north west of Nairobi. The name Naivasha comes from the word Nai’posha meaning rough water in the language of the Maasai, and the surface of the 50-square mile lake can often be subject to unexpected squalls and storms.
In early colonial times the lake became a popular retreat for white settlers with a number of beautiful and unusual houses being built along the lake shore, such as the notorious Djinn Palace. In the 1930s the lake began to be used by Imperial Airways as a landing place for their flying boats travelling between England and South Africa.
Crescent Island Naivasha
Naivasha and the surrounding area remains popular with weekenders from Nairobi and there are numerous water sports and related activities on hand for visitors. Boating, sailing, fishing, and bird watching are available at various locations around the lake – as is horse riding, biking and hiking. Golf takes place in a spectacular location at the Great Rift Valley Golf Resort off North Lake Road.
Lake Naivasha Sunset
Apart from tourism, the major business of Naivasha is floriculture – numerous flower farms are to be found close to the lake shore and export large quantities of flowers, especially roses, to Europe daily. Another major commercial enterprise on the lake is the geothermal plant, which was commissioned in 1981 and now generates a substantial amount of electricity.
Lake Oloidien Naivasha
The lake and its surroundings are home to a wide variety of wildlife and game including a large population of hippopotamus and several species of fish. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded here, and the lake is home to Pelicans and Kenya’s largest concentration of African Fish Eagles. You will often see large flocks of Flamingos on Lake Oloidien which adjoins the South West corner of the lake.
Hell’s Gate National Park Naivasha
Hells Gate National Park is one of the few National Parks that permits walking, bicycling and rock climbing. Both Fischer’s Tower and Central Tower make challenging ascents for rock climbers, as does the escarpment. The gorge, slicing through striking rock formations, contains a series of hot springs that heat the surrounding rocks, and local guides are available to guide walkers through the gorge. The park is home to plains game and other wildlife, and is particularly known for vultures, eagles and buzzards. The setting for the film The Lion King was heavily based on the area.
Crater Lake Naivasha
Crescent Island, an arc of land linked to the mainland lake shore by a causeway, has a number of animals but no predators, and makes a lovely place to walk and picnic. Crater Lake, to the West of Lake Naivasha, also has wildlife, birdlike and attractive walks. Mount Longonot, between Naivasha and Nairobi, is an inactive volcano whose crater makes for a lovely but quite strenuous walk with spectacular views both into the crater and across the surrounding area.
Mount Longonot Naivasha
For food and general supplies there is good shopping in Naivasha Town and at the new Buffalo Mall which has a large Tusky’s supermarket. There is an excellent new Farm Shop and Butchery on South Lake Road, where you will also find attractive crafts for sale at Lake Elementaita Weavers and Fired Earth Pottery. Recommended places to eat off South Lake Road include Carnelly’s Restaurant, The Ranch House Bistro and The Club House Cafe.
Club House Cafe Naivasha