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Lake Naivasha

The fascinating Lake Naivasha is located in the Great Rift Valley at an altitude of 1,884 meters above sea level. The up to 139 km² large freshwater lake is embedded between swamps, forests and rock formations. Its size is strongly dependent on rainfall. Between 1937 and 1950, Lake Naivasha was a landing site for Imperial Airways planes. They flew from Durban to Dublin when this took several days. Today, the main source of income for the local population is largely the cultivation and export of flowers and vegetables.

Lake Naivasha is a popular destination for Nairobi residents. Here you can take an impressive boat safari among groups of hippos or join a guided walking safari. The lake is also great to combine with a visit to Hell’s Gate National Park and Crescent Island.

Crescent Island

Take a boat trip on Lake Naivasha followed by a walking safari on Crescent Island. Surrounded by water, the peninsula is currently only accessible by boat from the east or west side. The shores are home to abundant birdlife, including pelicans, cormorants and ospreys with their haunting calls. There are more animals per hectare here than in any other Kenyan park. This peninsula is also known as Kenya’s best kept secret. Here you can get up close to wildebeest, waterbuck, hippo, jackal, zebra, and gazelle, among others, and spot over 400 different species of birds such as osprey, herons, and lily pads. Be sure to bring your binoculars! Open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Hell’s Gate

Or visit Hell’s Gate National Park, located near Lake Naivasha, with its dramatic scenery. Volcanoes and lava flows dominate the landscape here. The name Hell’s Gate refers to the steeply sloping valley in the park. A walk at the foot of this valley is definitely worthwhile. The grassy plains of the park are also perfect for a bike ride amidst the beautiful wildlife. You can also go rock climbing: The rugged, steep lava ridges are ideal for testing your skills!

Common Animals in Lake Naivasha

  • Hippo
  • African buffalo
  • Wildebeest
  • Waterbucks
  • Jackals
  • Zebras
  • Gazelles
  • Colobus monkey
  • Baboons
  • Over 400 different bird species such as ospreys, pelicans, cormorants, herons and lily pads

Lake Naivasha Highlights

  • A beautiful lake nestled high in the Kenyan Rift Valley.
  • Diverse landscape with swamps, forests and rockformations.
  • Close to Crescent Island and Hell’s Gate National Park.

Facts about Lake Naivasha

  • The lake is home to a huge quantity of hippos and over 400 species of birds.
  • Naivasha is a freshwater lake of 139 square kilometers.
  • Possibility of a boat safari on the lake.
  • Take a guided walking safari on the shores or on Crescent Island.

Activities on and around Lake Naivasha

  • Guided hikes
  • Boat safaris on Lake Naivasha
  • Crescent Island
  • Lake Oloiden – a volcanic crater lake, is home to the largest flower farms in Kenya. It is a great destination for tourists who want to travel off the beaten and beaten path. A boat ride on the lake is an amazing experience.
  • Horseback safari

How to get there

Lake Naivasha is a beautiful three hours drive through the Rift Valley from Nairobi.

By plane it’s only a 20 minute flight from Wilson Airport in Nairobi.


The climate in Naivasha is pleasant and relatively dry. The average rainfall is just under 30 mm in the months of February and June / July. More than 60 mm rarely fall on average, but in April (rainy season) it can be about 110 mm. Temperatures are moderate due to the location in the highlands. Average daytime highs reach only about 19 °C in July/August and climb to little more than 24 °C in February/March. The average night temperatures vary only slightly. They range from about 16 °C in February / March to 14 °C in July / August.

Best time to visit Naivasha Lake

Lake Naivasha is good to visit all year round.