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Calm Lake Naivasha at sunset.
  Lake Naivasha
Size: Roughly 115 km2/44 sq mi, but the lake varies in size.
Best time to visit: All year round.
Wildlife: Very good bird life. Many hippos.
Getting there: 1.5 hours on fairly good road from Nairobi or from Lake Nakuru.
Lake Naivasha map
Lake Naivasha map.
Kenya map
Kenya map.
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Lake Naivasha
By Kenya Birds.
Safari glossary
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Lake Naivasha
Lake Naivasha is no park, but a lake surrounded by good birding areas. It is one of two freshwater lakes (the other one is Lake Baringo) in the Kenyan part of Great Rift Valley. Antelopes and waterbucks may be seen grazing along the shores, and some 500 hippos inhabit the lake and can easily be found and observed by boat. A rare mammal species sometimes observed is the marsh mongoose. Map of Africa Namibia Botswana South Africa Zambia Mozambique Malawi Rwanda Tanzania Kenya Uganda
Some 400 bird species have been recorded in and around the lake, making it a prime spot for birding. Some birds you should be able to see without much effort are different storks, white and pink-backed pelicans, African fish eagles and malachite kingfishers.

Other birds that you may see are long-tailed cormorant, African darter, black-crowned night-heron, squacco heron, hammerkop, African open-billed stork, red-billed teal, knob-billed duck, spur-winged goose, Egyptian goose, red-knobbed coot, purple swamphen, African black crake, African jacana, grey crowned crane, black-winged stilt, pied avocet, Kittlitz's plover, African skimmer, laughing dove, red-eyed dove, African marsh owl, Verreaux's eagle-owl, African paradise flycatcher, greater honeyguide, little swift and common fiscal. The giant kingfisher is sometimes observed, but you need much luck to see it.

Dangerous hippos
The first hour after sunrise is a nice time to enjoy Lake Naivasha. The light is soft, the birds loud and the lake itself calm. You may even see some of the hippos from land. Be careful to avoid hippos on land, though, whenever you approach the lake in the mornings, in the evenings or at night. Hippos go out of the water at night to graze on land, and you don't want to meet them there, as they are aggressive and very dangerous.

Lake Naivasha by boat
Many of the lodges around Lake Naivasha offer boat trips, which is a good way to explore the lake. A lot of birds may be seen along the shores, and the boat is a convenient way to visit the various hippo colonies around the lake.

Crescent Island, in the eastern part of Lake Naivasha, is home to herbivores only, and you may go there by boat to walk the island.

Parks nearby
Hell's Gate National Park is just south of Lake Naivasha. It's a rocky and barren area, where many birds of prey can be seen. Mount Longonot National Park protects an extinct volcano not very far from Lake Naivasha. You can both climb the crater rim and descend into the crater, which is forested and has a sparse but untouched wildlife.

Oserian Wildlife Sanctuary (80 km2/31 sq mi) south-west of Lake Naivasha has introduced or re-introduced a number of mammal species, including white rhino, Grevy's zebra and greater kudu. Cats such as leopards, cheetahs and servals are observed regularly.

Lodges and hotels
Accommodation is available in lodges, bandas, camping sites, hotels and private homes in and around the lake and in Naivasha Town.

Room at Lake Naivasha Country Club.Lake Naivasha Country Club has a large and pleasant garden facing the lake. All rooms are garden rooms. Birds, hippos and waterbucks may be seen by the lake, and birds of various kinds may be seen in the garden. The lodge, which is situated on the southern shore, has some 100 beds, a restaurant, bar and snooker table. There is a swimming pool.

Great Rift Valley Lodge & Golf Resort is a luxury lodge situated on the Eburu Escarpment west of Lake Naivasha. It has 30 rooms with ensuite bathrooms and private balconies, fine dining clubhouse, two bars, lounge, conference rooms, swimming pool, gift shop and Internet. There is a new 18-hole championship golf course and a driving range, and clay tennis courts. Besides golf, the activities offered include horse riding, walks and day trips to Lake Naivasha and other Great Rift Valley lakes.

Web site:

Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort is a very good hotel just south of the lake. It has 84 rooms (of which two have wheelchair access) in 21 two-floor cottages, all with ensuite bathroom, either balcony or veranda, mini bar, phone and safe. The resort has restaurant, lounge bar, a hotel garden, swimming pool, children's pool, gift shop, conference facilities and fitness centre.

Web site:

Loldia House is a farmhouse lodge north-west of Lake Naivasha. It has nine rooms in the main building and in two cottages. The rooms have ensuite bathrooms with bathtub and shower. The lodge interiors are English colonial style. There is a dining room, a lounge, and a small gift shop. The lodge offers outings in the area, for example birding or fishing boat trips on Lake Naivasha.

Web site:

Crater Lake Lodge is situated in a private sanctuary at an alkaline crater lake west of Lake Naivasha. It's a good tourist class lodge with eight furnished tents and two family bandas, all with ensuite bathroom. There is also a honeymoon tent, which has a whirlpool bath, bar and restaurant. The area around the crater lake is well vegetated, and offers good birding and some wildlife, for example many colobus monkeys. Other activities are nature walks, day and night game drives and boat tours.

Web site:

Naivasha Simba Lodge is a tourist class lodge on the shore of Lake Naivasha. It has 70 rooms, set in two-floor blocks of 10. All rooms have ensuite bathroom and television. The lodge has restaurant, bar, lounge, fitness centre with gym, sauna and massage, tennis court, swimming pool, gift shop and conference facilities for up to 200 people. The lodge offers nature and bird walks, boat tours, and outings in the area.

Web site:

Kiangazi House is a country house south-west of and not far from Lake Naivasha, situated in a game corridor between the lake and Hell's Gate National Park. It's a luxury lodge with five double rooms, all with ensuite bathroom. There is a dining room, sitting room, bar and library in the main building, and a tennis court and a swimming pool outside. Kiangazi House offers game drives, bush walks, bird watching, boat tours, and various outings in the surroundings.

Web site:

Chui Lodge is a luxury lodge situated in the private Oserian Wildlife Sanctuary south-west of Lake Naivasha. The lodge is built from local stone and wood, and has eight cottages with double rooms, ensuite bathrooms and verandas with views of the sanctuary. There are dining facilities, a bar, a heated swimming pool and an airstrip. The activities include game drives, bush walks, boat trips and outings in the area.

Web site:

Elsamere is known as the home of author Joy Adamson. It's situated on the southern shore of Lake Naivasha, and offers accommodation for 16 people in cottages in the garden around the main building. All rooms have ensuite bathroom and veranda facing the lake. There is also a room with wheelchair access in the main house. There are dining facilities, but no bar. The activities include bird watching and boat tours.

Web site:

Mundui Estate is situated on the western shore of Lake Naivasha. It's a 5 km2/2 sq mi conservation with a former hunting lodge. Accommodation is in a three bedroom cottage, available for exclusive use by one group at a time. The main activities are game viewing within the estate and outings in the Naivasha area.

African yellow-billed storks flying over Lake Naivasha.

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Page updated 18 February 2009