Gorgeous Scenery, Wildlife and Outdoor activities at the Naivasha Lake

Safari to Naivasha Lake - Views of Lake Naivasha
Exploring Lake Naivasha

Nestled in the heart of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley, is Lake Naivasha, an alluring freshwater lake surrounded by lush greenery and volcanic mountains. From water safaris to tracking wildlife, nature walks, and hikes Lake Naivasha is the perfect start to your Kenya safari. Dive into this guide to explore the diverse attractions and activities that make Lake Naivasha a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike

Visit Lake Naivasha With Us

To explore the beauty of Lake Naivasha and enjoy a range of outdoor activities we invite you to contact us via phone or WhatsApp at +254-704-532-105. You can also connect with us via email at safarioffers@kenyaluxurysafari.co.uk or safarioffers@ajkenyasafaris.com.  

Our Senior Consultant, Jame Gatheru, is available to discuss and help you plan a thrilling safari to Lake Naivasha and other national parks in Kenya.

Tour of Lake Naivasha - Photos

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Exploring the Wonders of Lake Naivasha

Wildlife at Lake Naivasha Kenya - Giraffes at Elsamere Lodge
Giraffes sauntering by at Elsamere Lodge, Naivasha

Among the Maasai people who dwelt close to this lake, the water body was known as “Nai posha”, meaning ‘rough water. The otherwise tranquil alkaline lake would (and still does) experience sudden storms in certain seasons. Naivasha stemmed from the British peoples’ attempt to pronounce Nai posha and Lake Naivasha it became.

The shallow Lake Naivasha has the highest elevation in the entire rift valley with an average depth of depth that deepens to around 30 meters near Crescent Island. It’s surrounded by papyrus swamps and yellow fever trees that provide a habitat for a vast number of water birds, hippos, and other animals in the area.

Curiously, lake Naivasha has no known water outlet despite being a freshwater lake. Nature scholars believe that there may be an underground outlet somewhere down there.

The scenic beauty of Lake Naivasha is unparalleled, with panoramic views of the Great Rift Valley and Mount Longonot in the distance. Lush greenery lines the lake’s shores, providing a verdant backdrop to the azure waters and vibrant sunsets that paint the sky in hues of orange and pink.

Lake Naivasha is close to Lake Nakuru National Park and the Masai Mara National Reserve making it a popular stop for Kenyan safaris.

Thanks to its prime location along the Nairobi Nakuru highway, Lake Naivasha is a popular stop for safaris to Lake Nakuru National Park and the Masai Mara. This makes it an excellent way to start your safari into Kenya’s wild lands. It’s also a link between western Kenya and the country’s capital Nairobi.

Best Safari Activities at Lake Naivasha & Beyond

Lake Naivasha’s picturesque setting is the perfect backdrop for adventure and relaxation. Here are some invigorating activities you can enjoy at Lake Naivasha:

Water Safaris at Lake Naivasha

Boat safaris in Naivasha - Boat ride in Lake Naivasha
Gorgeous scenery, water, and wildlife in Lake Naivasha

Jetting out onto Lake Naivasha is a fantastic way to enjoy the scenic beauty of the surrounding Eburru volcanic mountain range, and spot hippos as they dunk by the reeds, crocodiles and bird life.

Some of the more common birds you can see here include the Kingfishers (especially the pied kingfishers), Jacanas, Cormorants, Herons, and Fish Eagles. Sport fishing is permitted at the lake and your tour operator can help you secure one, but you’re not allowed to take the fish with you. Fish species you’re likely to see here include the common carp, tilapia, and the large-mouth bass. The common carp is considered an invasive species in these waters as it is destroying Tilapia breeding grounds.

Lake Naivasha’s shores are littered with wild animals. A boat safari is a great way to see giraffes, cape buffalo, waterbucks, and zebras quenching their thirst or grazing nearby.

Bird Watching

Bird watching in Lake Naivasha Kenya - a bird resting on a tree
Lake Naivasha is excellent for birders

Lake Naivasha is a haven for birdwatchers, with over 400 bird species recorded in the area. The lake’s wetlands, reed beds, and shoreline habitats attract a wide variety of resident and migratory birds. It’s simply a paradise for birdwatching enthusiasts. Some of the bird species you can find here include

  • Fulvous Whistling-Duck
  • White-backed Duck
  • Knob-billed Duck
  • African Fish Eagle
  • Great White Pelican
  • Grey-headed Gull
  • African Jacana
  • Pied Kingfisher
  • African Spoonbill
  • Yellow-billed Stork

Visiting Crescent Island Game Sanctuary

Tourist attractions near Lake Naivasha - wildlife in Crescent Island
Spotting wildlife close the shores of Crescent Island

Seldom, do you get an opportunity to walk among wild animals yet that is what Crescent Island Game Sanctuary offers you. Situated on Lake Naivasha’s eastern shore, visitors can access Crescent Island by boat or take the long way around by car. A boat ride is way more fun as you’re likely to ride past pelicans and hippos while being serenaded by tons of birds in the trees.

As you explore the island on foot, you’re likely to encounter free-roaming wild animals including wildebeest, waterbucks, gazelles, zebras, bushbucks, dik-diks and giraffes. Not to mention birdlife. Afterwards, you can enjoy a picnic lunch by the shores of this tranquil island. Crescent Island charges an entry fee of $33 for adults and $16 for kids.

Exploring Hell’s Gate National Park

Day trips to Hell’s Gate Park Nakuru Kenya - Giraffes in Hell’s Gate National Park
Hanging out with wildlife at Hell’s Gate Park

Lake Naivasha’s thrills are not confined to its waters alone. A stone’s throw away lies Hell’s Gate National Park, a dramatic landscape dotted with gorges, sculptured volcanic columns, soaring cliffs, dusty valleys, and hot springs.

The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife including the African buffalo, hartebeest, elands, zebra, giraffes, antelopes, mountain reedbucks, and bird life. Unlike most national parks in Kenya, Hells Gate National Park has no known predators except for a leopard or two. Even then, leopard sightings are very rare- which makes walking explorations possible.

There are loads of unparalleled safari experiences at Hell’s Gate. On a day trip to the park, you can enjoy:

  • Game drives to view the park’s wildlife
  • Hiking safaris to enjoy the park’s scenic beauty and spot wild animals
  • Rock climbing
  • Guided cycling safaris
  • Picnicking
  • Visiting Olkaria Hot Springs Spa

This surreal park is managed by the Kenya Wildlife Services who watch over the animals and encourage conservation efforts. The entry fee to Hells Gate National Park for non-residents is $26 for adults and $17 for children.

Hiking up Mount Longonot

Climbing Mount Longonot in Nakuru Kenya - Views of Mount Longonot
Hiking along the Crater Rim of Mount Longonot

Sitting at 2776m above sea level is the monolithic extinct volcano that is Mount Longonot, a perfect site for fitness enthusiasts to get some exercise in. Mount Longonot features a unique and thick forest inside the crater of the mountain.

As you hike along the crater’s rim you can see the top of the trees whose roots go deep into the crater’s floor. The crater’s rim (particularly the peak) offers magnificent views of the Rift Valley and gives a “larger than life” sense. The Kenya Wildlife Services provides armed escort for the hike (at a cost) since wildlife can be found here including lions, leopards, buffalos, zebra, elands, gazelles, and giraffes.

Day trip to Lake Oloiden

Visiting top attractions close to Lake Naivasha - Lake Oloiden
Views of the surreal Lake Oloiden by Governors Camp

A short distance from Lake Naivasha (approximately 200 meters) is Lake Oloiden, a salty water lake that was initially part of Lake Naivasha. The smaller and calmer Lake Oloiden has a surface area of about 5 square kilometres and hosts hundreds of bird species. The common cormorant and the white-necked cormorant breed here the African fish eagle and pelicans find their meals here as do the greater and lesser flamingo.

A boat trip in Lake Oloiden allows you to watch these birds alongside resident hippo families. You may also spot waterbucks, impalas, gazelles, elands, zebras, warthogs, and giraffes moving in and out of the surrounding yellow-green acacias.

Safari to Nakuru National Park

Visiting the world-famous Lake Nakuru National Park - a lone rhino at Lake Nakuru National Park
Black and white rhinos thrive in Lake Nakuru National Park

Just under a two-hour drive from Lake Naivasha is the world-famous Lake Nakuru National Park. The park is renowned for its vibrant birdlife and wildlife and is one of the conservation areas for the black and white rhinos. The rhino sanctuary at the Lake Nakuru National Park was established to tackle the catastrophic decline of rhinos no thanks to poaching activities. Today, white rhinos and black rhinos live and thrive at this park.

The equally endangered Rothschild giraffes call Lake Nakuru National Park home. You can spot these elegant creatures alongside other wild animals such as lions, leopards, buffalos, impalas, waterbucks, cheetahs, baboons and colobus monkeys. The shallow Lake Nakuru is a haven for flamingos. You can see greater and lesser flamingos squawking and splashing around as they savour the plentiful blue-green algae.

Lake Nakuru National Park is accessible by road or air. The Naishi airstrip makes it convenient for visitors to fly in and out of the park. If you’re coming into the park by road you can use one of the three gates (the main gate, Lanet Gate and Nderit Gate) depending on your present location.

The Main Gate is located only 4 km from Nakuru town and the Kenya Wildlife Services HQ is located here. People coming from Nakuru town and beyond use this gate. Lanet Gate also says plenty of traffic from visitors using the Nairobi Nakuru highway. Nderit Gate is the least used but most ideal for safari goers who want to go the Maasai Mara from Lake Nakuru National Park.

Say, your safari itinerary comprises Lake Naivasha, Lake Nakuru and Maasai Mara – you can spend a day (or more) at Lake Naivasha sampling different activities then head to Lake Nakuru National Park. After an overnight stay at Lake Nakuru National Park, you can use the Nderit Gate to access the Maasai Mara. Better yet, you can fly into the Masaai Mara from Naishi Airstrip

Top activities at Lake Nakuru National Park include

  • Going on a game drive
  • Visiting Makalia River to see the falls
  • Bird watching along the lake’s waters, and surrounding forests and woodlands
  • Guided nature walks
  • Picnicking at Baboon Cliff, Lion Hill, and other picnic sites.
  • Camping

Note: We recommend exercising care when picnicking at Baboon Cliff since baboons frequent the area and are known to snatch food from visitors.

Accommodation Options Near Lake Naivasha

A comfortable place to rest and rejuvenate is essential after a day filled with exploration and adventure. Thankfully, Lake Naivasha offers a variety of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. From upscale lakeside retreats to budget-friendly camping sites, you’re sure to find a place that feels like home.

Lakeside Retreats

Best Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru lodges - Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort
Wildlife viewing from your room at Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort

For those seeking a luxurious stay, the lakeside retreats near Lake Naivasha are worth considering. These retreats offer stunning views, comfortable accommodations, and a host of amenities such as dining facilities, swimming pools, free Wi-Fi, and breakfast. With zebras and waterbucks often seen from the balconies, these retreats offer a unique wildlife experience right at your doorstep.

Some of the highly-rated retreats include Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort, Chui Lodge, Naivasha Kongoni Lodge, and Panorama Park Hotel. The Elsamere (once home for George and Joy Adamson), Malu Ranch, Dove Nest Lodge, Hippo Point, Loldia House, and Enashipai Resort & Spa

Closer to Lake Nakuru National Park are the Sarova Lion Hill Lodge, Lake Nakuru Lodge, and Lake Nakuru Sopa Lodge

Camping by the Lake

Nakuru lodges and camps - Oloiden Camping Site
Camping by Lake Naivasha is fun

Camping offers an excellent option for those seeking a closer encounter with nature. The camping sites around Lake Naivasha offer an immersive experience in the heart of nature, exploring the breathtaking beauty of a rift valley.

Surrounded by the tranquil ambience and the sound of birds chirping, you’ll feel like you’re a part of the lake’s vibrant ecosystem. Some of the best campsites around Lake Naivasha include:

  • Camp Carnellys
  • Fisherman’s Camp
  • Hell’s Gate National Park camp
  • Naivasha West Beach Camp
  • Lake Naivasha Crescent Camp
  • Kiboko Luxury Camp

If you’re looking for camping facilities around Lake Nakuru National Park, here are some worthwhile options

  • Mbweha Camp
  • Nakuru tented camp
  • Flamingo Hill Tented Camp
  • Lakira Camp
  • Enjoro Campsite
  • Rhino campsite
  • Makalia Falls campsite

Planning Your Visit to Lake Naivasha; Best Time to Explore

When to visit Lake Naivasha Kenya - Hippos in Lake Naivasha
June to Oct are optimal safari months

Timing plays a crucial role in the exploration of Lake Naivasha. Both Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru National Park experience pleasant temperatures year-round. If you intend to head on to the Masai Mara Game Reserve. we recommend visiting between June and October, during the long, cool dry season. This period coincides with the Great Wildebeest Migration which offers a remarkable wildlife experience.


From its tranquil waters teeming with diverse wildlife to its lush surroundings offering a plethora of activities, Lake Naivasha is a slice of paradise in the heart of Kenya’s Rift Valley. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or a birdwatcher, the lake offers a unique experience that merges relaxation and adventure in an unforgettable package.

Call us today to plan your visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Special About Lake Naivasha?

Lake Naivasha is special because of its high altitude, freshwater status and the rich diversity of wildlife it hosts, including hippos and various bird species. Visitors can also enjoy a water safari and observe zebra and antelope grazing nearby.

What Is the Problem Facing Lake Naivasha?

The problem facing Lake Naivasha is a combination of massive pollution, human encroachment, and fishing activities, threatening the wetlands. Further, the water hyacinth, considered an invasive species covers much surface area on the water body making navigation and fishing more challenging.

Why Is Lake Nakuru Famous?

Lake Nakuru is famous for the large flocks of pink flamingos which inhabit the lake, making them the most sought-after attraction in the area. The lake and by extension Lake Nakuru National Park is best known for its thousands of flamingos nesting along the shores along with diverse wildlife making it worth visiting.

What Is the Best Time To Visit Lake Naivasha?

The best time to visit Lake Naivasha is between June and October, during the long, cool dry season, to enjoy pleasant weather and wildlife viewing opportunities. This time frame is also great for visiting the Lake Nakuru National Park, Masai Mara, and other national parks in Kenya.

What Are Some of the Activities I Can Enjoy at Lake Naivasha?

At Lake Naivasha, you can enjoy activities such as boating, fishing, horse riding, nature walks, and visiting nearby attractions.