Lake Naivasha safaris, tours & holiday packagesAn ideal lakeside first stop out of Nairobi
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Wildlife-rich Lake Naivasha is both a scenic stop in its own right and a great base for hikes to Hell’s Gate National Park and Mount Longonot.
Set in the Rift Valley floor 90 kilometres northwest of Nairobi, Naivasha is a near-circular freshwater lake fringed by lush forests of fever trees and overlooked by the ragged-edged of the volcanic Mount Longonot. Though it is accorded no official protection, the lake supports a fair amount of indigenous wildlife. Giraffe, hippo and waterbuck may be seen almost anywhere on the lakeshore, which is also one of the most rewarding bird sites in Kenya, offering an opportunity for the experienced to clock up 100 species before breakfast. Conspicuous water-associated birds include African fish eagle and the great white pelican, while noisy Fischer’s and yellow-collared lovebirds are among the most decorative and common woodland species.
Popular Lake Naivasha National Park safaris
These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates
It's easy to see why so many visitors flock to Kenya from around the world to experience a truly unique African adventure in one of the world’s most pristine safari destinations.
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When last I held an office job in London, between African trips in the late 1980s, Lake Naivasha was the first image that sprung to mind when I thought about returning to Kenya. It didn’t disappoint me when eventually I did return, and it hasn't on several repeat visits.
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Crescent Island, the partially submerged rim of an extinct volcanic caldera, is home to giraffe, buffalo and plenty of birds. Elsamere, named after the lioness Elsa of Born Free fame, and once the lakeside home of controversial naturalist Joy Adamson, is now a low-key museum and guesthouse serving lavish buffet teas in a forest patch inhabited by handsome black-and-white colobus monkeys.
Only slightly further afield, Hell’s Gate National Park protects a geologically dramatic 68-square-kilometre landscape where visitors can walk or bicycle unguided through seasonally impressive herds of big game, including buffalo, giraffe, zebra, various antelope species and very occasionally elephant and lion. Also protected as a national park, the 2,776-metre-high Mount Longonot, which last erupted in the 1860s, can be ascended and descended in around three hours. The private Green Crater Lake Sanctuary, named after the alkaline Songasoi Crater Lake, attracts huge aggregations of lesser flamingo, especially from June to August. Guided game walks are on offer, as are bird walks around the crater rim.
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