Lake Naivasha is one of the most popular escapes its close proximity to Nairobi.
Naivasha is one of the most popular escapes for its close proximity to Nairobi. Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake in the Nakuru County of the Great Rift Valley. Many of the private houses and safari homes are located along the lakeshore. An array of wildlife is to be found here including giraffes, zebras, antelopes and hippos. A variety of savannah and waterbirds permanently reside here. Naivasha is ideal for a quiet retreat in nature while offering a range of attractions within short driving distance. No matter how many times you visit Lake Naivasha it never really gets tiring.
The drive from Nairobi to Naivasha takes between 1.5 – 2hours, depending on traffic conditions. Travelling by road is the primary means of accessing Lake Naivasha. An early start is best to avoid the occasional congestion on the Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit Highway. Safarilink operates daily flights to Naivasha during the high season.
Lake Naivasha has typical equatorial climate. Days are generally sunny and warm but without humidity. Evenings and the early mornings are considerably cooler. Afternoon showers are not uncommon due to the influence of the lake. Even during the rainy seasons (March-May and October-November), the skies will often clear in the midday hours allowing you to get out and about. July and August are the coolest times of the year.
Best Time to Go
Lake Naivasha is a year-round destination and most accommodation facilities remain open from January to December. For the best outdoors enjoyment, the drier seasons from December to March and June to September are recommended for visits.
Things to Do
Crescent Island is a protected peninsula with a game reserve on the southeastern region of Lake Naivasha. It accessed by a 15-minute boat ride from the mainland. Giraffes, zebras and various antelopes reside here permanently. You can take guided walks, go biking, horseback riding and enjoy picnics under the groves of yellow-bark acacia.
This is the former home of Joy and George Adamson of the Born Free book and movie fame. A visit to Elsamere, built in 1963, is a step into the past with keepsakes, period furniture and Joy’s sketchbooks still in the house. Traditional afternoon tea served in the gardens that slope down to the lake.
Hell’s Gate National Park
This is the real life location that inspired the famous Disney movie, The Lion King. Hell’s Gate National Park is situated about 31km south-west of Lake Naivasha. There are hardly any predators in the park so you can park your car and explore on bicycle, take a guided hike or go rock climbing. Distinct features of Hell’s Gate is a marvellous volcanic column called Fischer’s Tower, lofty cliffs where vultures like to nest and the canyon-like river gorges.
The Leleshwa winery in the Morendat Farm, is located just off the Nairobi-Nakuru highway, about 15 minutes out of Naivasha. This is arguably the best know vineyard in Kenya. Leleshwa farm grows and produces a range of white and red wines. Wine tours with lunch take place on the weekends, from October to December. Advance bookings are required.
Smell the Roses
Naivasha is the heart of Kenya’s floriculture industry. A number of flower farms offer guided visits by reservation. Guests are taken round the floral green houses, learning about the process of growing cut roses and other flowers grown for export.
Places to Eat
Lazybones at Camp Carnelleys
There is a relaxed, partly outdoor ambience at Lazy Bones Restaurant of Camp Carnellys. This is a child-friendly location with seating at tables or big floor cushions. Tasty casual fare and an eco-bar, all together good value for money in Naivasha.
Matteo’s Italian Restaurant
Open all day, Matteo’s Restaurant on the main Moi South Lake Road is the only Italian restaurant in Naivasha. They are renowned for their pizzas and homemade pastas. Ample parking and a family-friendly atmosphere.
Just 2km away from Lake Naivasha, Buffalo Mall has number of restaurant options. Try fail-safe casual dining at Java House, Mbuzi Munch for some nyama choma (Kenyan style barbequed goat) or the Rift Valley Spur restaurant for South African inspired steaks and grills.
Located in the Enashipai Hotel and Resort, Senteu Restaurant serves a mix of Kenyan and international foods. Open to non-resident guests their buffet spread has something to suit every taste.