Travel to Lake Naivasha – Scenic Boat Trips & Hippos
Lake Naivasha is a beautiful freshwater lake, fringed by thick papyrus. The lake is almost 13 km across, but its waters are shallow with an average depth of only 5 metres. The waters of the lake draw a great range of game to these shores.
Giraffes wander among the acacia, buffalo wallow in the swamps and Colobus monkeys call from the treetops while the Lake Naivasha’s large hippo population sleep the day out in the shallows.
Naivasha is traditionally Masai land. The name of the lake is a colonial misinterpretation of the original Masai name Nai’posha, meaning ”Rough Water” in reference to the afternoon storms that can produce high white capped waves across the lake. The waters of Naivasha are a traditional watering place for Masai herds, and today many herds can still be see along the lakeside roads.
Naivasha is the centre of Kenya’s booming agricultural industry. The fertile conditions, altitude and proximity to Lake water have made this a major area for the growth and production of fresh cut flowers and vegetables.
The flower industry has become one of Kenya’s most profitable, with daily flights taking roses, carnations and other cuttings directly to the European Market. The industry has done a great deal for local economies and employment, and Naivasha has become the focus for the trade.
The Lake is also famous for its hippo population, and there are more than 400 here. Lake Naivasha boat trips can be taken from many lakeside lodges and campsites, providing an ideal opportunity to see large pods of Hippo lying half submerged in the water. At night they emerge to graze on the Lakeshore. At some Lakeshore lodges and campsites, the remarkable sight of these massive 3 tonne creatures grazing across the lawns is a nightly occurrence. Most visitors are amazed when they see just how large a hippo is when it emerges from the water. It is an awe-inspiring sight, even more so when they are grazing a few feet from the door of your tent. Hippos are a common cause of sleepless nights for lakeside campers.
Colobus monkeys are often seen in the canopy of the Acacia forests around the lake, and on the north shore of the lake Buffalo, Waterbuck and Eland are often seen grazing.
The region surrounding the Lake is well worth exploring. There are two more smaller lakes nearby, Oloidien, and Sonachi, a bright green cater lake.
Lake Naivasha is a birdwatchers dream come true. Some areas of Lake shore have recorded over 400 species. The acacia forests teem with Hoopoe, Woodpeckers, Rollers, Shrikes, Hawks, cuckoos and much more.
A walk along the shore, or even sitting and relaxing in a single place, will provide the birder with endlessly rich sightings. A trip out onto the Lake is even more impressive. The water is dotted with Pelicans, and the papyrus alive with Kingfisher, Heron, Jacanas and more, while high in the trees over the Lake you will find Africa’s largest concentration of African Fish Eagles. These mighty birds dominate the air over the Lake, their haunting cries echoing across the shores as they plunge to the surface and pull fish from the water.
Sunsets are always stunning, with the haunting call of a Fish Eagle high over the Lake bringing the day to a perfect end….
Lake Naivasha is an ideal place for boating, with wide open waters, fantastic surrounding scenery and plenty of channels to explore. Boats can be hired with driver/guides from many of Naivasha’s lakeside lodges and camps. This is an excellent way to see plenty of birdlife and hippos up close.
The open plains, acacia forests and wide stretches of lakeshore around Naivasha are excellent horse-riding country. Several lodges and ranches in the area have good stables, horses and guiding facilities. Several local farms are open to tourists to visit and tour the greenhouses and facilities. Some also like to show visitors the efforts they are making locally to protect the environment and using self regulation to make the industry sustainable and equitable.
Naivasha has good farmland with a plentiful supply of fresh local produce. Good meals are to be found in restaurants, lodges and hotels around the lake. Fresh fish and crayfish are a local speciality.
There are plenty of small curio markets and shops around Naivasha town and the Lake. The local Maasai population makes this a good place for buying Maasai Handicrafts.
Main road access to Naivasha is directly from Nairobi. The main highway continues from Naivasha to Nakuru. Naivasha is just over an hour’s drive from Nairobi. Most of the places in interest in Naivasha are around the Lakeshore, out of town.
- Home to huge pods of hippos seen from a boat cruise.
- Relax by a scenic freshwater lake fringed by papyrus.
- A birdwatchers dream come true with over 400 recorded species.