Lake Naivasha & Hell’s Gate National Park

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Lake Naivasha is about 90 km northwest of Nairobi and is one of the Great Rift Valley lakes. Most of the land surrounding the lake is privately owned with a high concentration of flower farms utilising the fresh-water of the lake. This 177 km² lake is home to a variety of wildlife particularly over 400 species of birds. On the shallow shores of the lake are Hippo which come out in the dark to graze around the lodges/camps built next to the lake. There are two smaller lakes in the vicinity of Lake Naivasha; Lake Sonachi (a green crater lake where flamingos abound) and Lake Oloidien. These two lakes located on the southern shore of Lake Naivasha are one of the most underrated travel places in Kenya. They are nicknamed “Secret Lakes”. An amazing place for a day hike when the flamingos are there. There is a trail around the lakes which is an easy walk. A very cool spot.

The Crescent Island, located within a 20 minute boat ride inside Lake Naivasha is home to giraffes and other herbivores namely Impala, Thomson‘s gazelle, Wildebeest, Buffalo and many species of birds among them, the Fish Eagle. One may undertake a refreshing guided nature walk which takes you to close proximity of the wildlife (please note there are no big cats on the island but a few hyenas are to be found).

Lake Naivasha is a gateway to Hell’s Gate National Park which lies 1 km south. It is a small national park with a wide variety of wildlife and beautiful scenery. This includes the Volcanic Fischer’s Tower where one may have a try at rock climbing assisted by a professional rock climber and Hell’s Gate Gorge where a visitor may walk through as a challenging but refreshing adventure. This unique scenery was the venue for Hollywood movie “Tomb Raider II” featuring Angelina Jolie. The park is home to Olkaria geothermal power stations. The park is equipped with basic campsites and a Maasai tribe’s rich culture education centre. Hiking, cycling and jogging is allowed in some sections. You may want to participate in the annual wheelbarrow race that is organised by The Kenya Wildlife Service to teach the local people on the importance of wildlife conservation. Animals to see are Buffalo, Zebra, Impala, Gazelle, Hyena and rarely, the elusive Leopard.