Lake Naivasha or (E) Nai’posha, rippling, heaving rough waters, in the language of the Maasai, forever corrupted by Early Europeans who recorded not the locals’ place-name, but the mispronunciation of their Swahili porters is a freshwater lake, located in the Rift Valley. The name denotes the sudden storms, which can turn the placid waters into a churning mass of waves.
The lake is famous for its pods of hippo and abundant birdlife.
Naivasha is the second site listed by Kenya as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1996 and is ranked as the 48th Important Bird Area in the country.
If Naivasha’s islands seem never to be quite in the same place, it is because they are papyrus-clamps, constantly splitting and drifting.
And if reliable guidebooks never mention its depth or height above sea-level, it’s because Enaiposha rises and spreads, or sinks and shrinks, with the rainfall.
Enaiposha supports resident hippos, and at times, the largest waterfowl population in Kenya. It is the ideal safari destination for birdwatchers.
The waters of Lake Naivasha draw a great array of game to the shoreline. Buffaloes wallow in the swamps, while the large hippo population lazes their days away in the shallows. Giraffes wander among the acacia, whilst Colobus monkeys swing from the canopies above.
Wherever you stay around the lake, you will find a boat ride a relaxing way to spend an afternoon, as you ride past families of hippos, lazily swimming with just the tip of the heads out of the water. Serious birders can enjoy Naivasha’s spectacular birdlife during an early morning boat ride.
You can take nature and bird walks along the lakeshore, and in the natural forest surrounding the lake, as the resident waterbucks and giraffes watch you with interest.
Go for game drives or leisurely bicycle rides, walks, picnics in the nearby Hells’ Gate National Park or revel at the geothermal activity of the park’s hot springs Spa where you can take in the therapeutic waters.
Rock climbers can test their skills at Fischer’s Tower, a rock column (37 meters) marvel of volcanic activity, named after the naturalist Gustav Fischer!
Sunsets over Lake Naivasha are always stunning, with the haunting call of a fish eagle high above bringing the day to perfect end.