Naivasha is the home to the Lake Naivasha. The Lake rests at an elevation of 1890 meters. This is the serene freshwater Lake Naivasha, one of the few in the floor of the Rift Valley. Naivasha is a superb oasis to include on your safari holiday in Kenya.
Just beyond its shores are papyrus swamps, acacia woodlands, forests and unique geologic features. Most of the latter are remnants of the area’s volcanic past. The nutrient-rich soil is fertilized by an abundance of water. These are supplied by the Gilgil and Malewa Rivers. It has created an ecosystem that is known around the world for a diverse avian presence, as well as terrestrial game animals.
Lake Naivasha is a RAMSAR site, a designation that reflects the ecological importance of the wetlands around the lake. More than 450 distinct birdlife species have been identified. The resident avi-fauna are joined by migratory species from October to March. The lake, high cliffs and forests are home to spectacled weavers, red-billed firefinches and grey-backed fiscals. We also have grey-capped warbler and many other interesting and colorful aerial creatures.
The most prominent, though, are the cormorants and pelicans. The African fish eagles are the most majestic of the raptors. As you tour through the acacia forests, you may sight hawks, cuckoos, woodpeckers, shrikes and other birds. You may not miss a solo giraffe may peer through the thorn-leaves branches out of curiosity. The papyrus swamps are where you find jacanas, herons and kingfishers.
Lake Naivasha is one of the primary drinking holes for buffalos, zebras, elands, impalas, waterbucks and other grazers. It is a favorite place for hippos to cool themselves during the day. You can take a night game drive on one of the surrounding private conservancies like Loldia and Oserian. Here, you will see these incredible animals slowly emerge from their wallowing sites in the lake to grass along the shores. On your game drive, you may also see the other plains and forest fauna. They include the elusive leopard.
Best Time to Visit Naivasha
Climate in Naivasha
Seasonal changes in equatorial Kenya are defined by the presence or absence of rainfall. During the year, Lake Naivasha experiences two dry seasons and two rainy seasons. The long, cool dry season occurs from July to October and is followed by a short rainy season in November and December.
January and February are the short hot-dry season, and April through June is the long rainy season; though welcoming and departure of rains start around the end of March and early July respectively.
Understanding these seasons is an important part of planning your ideal Kenyan safari, as the presence or absence of rain affects vegetation growth for visibility, pasture availability and water levels, as well as wildlife behavior.
When vegetation and water sources are abundant, such as during the long rainy season, the animals are more dispersed. During the dry season, though, water and vegetation is scarce, so the animals congregate around the few remaining waterholes. This behavior affects your wildlife-seeking trip to Lake Naivasha.
This is because fauna is either more demanding or easily accessible to locate, and you will either see animals scattered across a larger area or variety of animals concentrated in one location. Both the long dry season and long rainy season, though, have advantages and disadvantages. Wildlife viewing is finest during the long, cool-dry season, and the lack of rainfall also means that roads and trails are in good condition for your exploratory Lake Naivasha tour activities.
The flora, though, may be less vibrant and lush than during the rainy. Lastly, because the dry season coincides with concentrated wildlife, as well as summer break for European and American families, visitor levels at Naivasha are highest during this time of year. All things considered, we recommend the long dry season as the best time to visit Lake Naivasha, and also when combined with a safari to Masai Mara to view the Great Wildebeest Migration from August to October.
Oddly paralleled to other areas of Kenya, the Lake Naivasha expanse receives some added showers during the cool dry season of July to October. The arrival of the long rainy season that runs from April through May and June brings much-needed moisture and transforms the landscape into a beautiful setting of rich flora.
Wildlife is not as concentrated, but the long rainy season coincides with one of the most awe-inspiring events on the plains and forests of Naivasha – the birth of a new generation of animals, especially antelopes like impalas. Behaviors during this time are a thrilling combination of intimate bonding between mother and baby, as well as the anticipation of which babies will survive the challenges of living in the harsh environment.
Predators are always on the look-out for the weak and young, and many young animals fall victim to carnivorous hunts, extreme climate conditions and inability to survive the early days in the Kenyan bush. The low or green season is primarily in April and May, and may include most days in June. If you desire a secluded holiday at East Africa’s Lake Naivasha with a renewed freshness of nature at its best, these may be the optimum months to plan your travel.
There are also reduced prices for accommodations; though logistical costs, conservation fees, activities, guiding services etc. remains constant throughout the year. Visitor levels are an important consideration when planning your time in Kenya with AfricanMecca, and certain festive holidays bring an influx of local and worldwide tourists to Lake Naivasha, including Christmas, New Year’s and Easter.
Things to Do in Naivasha
Take a Boat Safari
The most popular attraction at Lake Naivasha is undoubtedly the chance to take a guided boat safari out onto the water.
Dead trees reach up out of the cool blue water like grasping hands as a huge assortment of bird life moves about. Everything from pelicans to cranes to smaller, more brightly coloured birds are on display.
The waters themselves are home to wallowing hippopotamuses, and along the shores, you'll spot Cape Buffalo and other herbivores.
Walk with the animals at Crescent Island
Easily combined with the boat safari, a visit to the Crescent Island Sanctuary offers a rare chance to literally walk with the animals.
The island sanctuary isn't home to any predators, so you can safely trade the safari car for your own two feet as you wander alongside zebras, giraffes, and wildebeest!
Explore Hell's Gate National Park
One of Kenya's most naturally beautiful parks, Hell's Gate isn't as intimidating as its name might suggest!
With its volcanic landscape, Hell's Gate might put you in mind of paying a visit to another planet. Red earth, towering stone pillars and cliffs, and a sparse animal population make it something completely different to what you'll find elsewhere.
Visitors to Hell's Gate National Park can cycle its dusty roads, hike its scenic canyons, climb its towering pillars, and more!
Climb Mt. Longonot
For the more adventurous, the opportunity to hike a dormant volcano might be too hard to resist!
A relatively challenging 4-5 hour hike, the ascent to the crater of Mount Longonot takes you through land inhabited by buffalo, antelopes, and even leopards.
An easy day trip from either Lake Naivasha or Nairobi, the half-day Mount Longonot hike can be combined with other local activities.
Look for flamingos at Lake Elementaita
While Lake Bogoria is the more famous haunt for both Greater and Lesser Flamingos, Lake Elementaita is also home to the vast flocks of brightly coloured birds during the year.
Depending on conditions, Lake Elementaita can be your best chance to spot the huge crowds of pink birds, but even when they're absent - Lake Elementaita is still a fantastic option for birdwatchers.
Take a dip at Ol Karia Geothermal Spa
Located within Hell's Gate National Park, Ol Karia (or Olkaria) is the largest geothermal spa of its kind in Africa.
Heated by the volcanic activity that gives Hell's Gate its name, the man-made pools of Ol Karia are a great place to soak in the warm waters and wash away the dust of the road.
Travel back in time at the Karlandusi Cradle of Mankind
Much like Oldupai Gorge in Tanzania, Karlandusi claims to be the Cradle of Mankind.
Dating back more than 1 million years, this Stone Age site is rumored to have been a prehistoric 'factory' where stone tools were produced for use elsewhere.
The attached Karlandusi Museum is an informative, government-run museum in which visitors can learn more about not only Karlandusi - but other historically significant sites nearby.
|Languages spoken||English, Kiswahili, Maasai, Kikuyu|
|Currency used||Kenya Shillings|