Lake Naivasha Safari

Lake Naivasha Safari

Things to do - general


Watch over 450 bird species, magnificent volcanic landscapes, papyrus swamps and wild game on a Lake Naivasha safari.

Naivasha comes from the Maasai word, ‘Enaiposha’ which means ‘heaving’ or ‘rough water’. The shore was previously Maasai grazing land until Laibon Ole Gilisho, the British appointed chief of the Maasai in Naivasha gave up his people’s grazing rights.

Consequently, there was an influx of white settlers in the area. In the 1930s, white settlers used Lake Naivasha as a landing place for their flying boats between London and Durban.

Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake in the Kenya section of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, and it lies at 1,890 meters above sea level. The lake is at the highest point in the Kenyan rift and is set in a complex geological combination of volcanic rocks and sedimentary deposits from a much larger Pleistocene era lake.

The outlet for this ancient lake, now called Njorwa Gorge, is much higher than the lake and it now forms the entrance to the Hell’s Gate National Park. Hell’s Gate has some of the most spectacular water and weather-worn rock formations, flora and fauna and resident breeding pairs of Lammergeyers, otherwise known as bearded vultures.

Lake Naivasha is fed by the perennial Malewa and Gilgil rivers and currently has no visible outlet. It is assumed however that this large water body has an underground outflow through a volcanic fissure, emerging through the hot water springs at Lake Magadi.

The area around the lake is volcanic, evidenced by Mount Longonot, an extinct volcano to the South East, Crater Lake to the west and Olkaria Geothermal Complex to the south.

A Lake Naivasha safari will treat you to breathtaking game viewing. The lake area is home to a wide variety of wildlife, fish and birds. Beyond its shores, you will find acacia woodlands, papyrus swamps, cacti, sand olive trees and forests.


Must See

  • Long-tailed mongoose
  • Bat-eared fox
  • Rock hyrax
  • Crescent Island
  • Brimstone canary
  • Goliath Heron
  • Bee-eater
  • Eagle owl
  • Hippos
  • Buffalos
  • Giraffes
  • Zebras
  • Mount Longonot
  • Bearded vultures
  • Black bass
  • Tilapia
  • Crayfish
  • Long-tailed cormorant
  • Great cormorant
  • Fish eagle
  • Pelicans
  • Kingfishers
  • Woodpeckers
  • Spectacled weaver
  • Grey-backed fiscal
  • Black-lored babbler
  • Acacia woodlands
  • Bushbaby
  • Vervet monkeys

Must Do

  • Birdwatching
  • Camping
  • Bush picnic
  • Nature walks
  • Explore Lake Naivasha on horseback
  • Hiking at Hells Gate
  • Game viewing
  • Boating excursion
  • Flower farm visits
  • Wildlife photography
  • Visit Elsamere Museum


When to schedule a Lake Naivasha safari

Lake Naivasha has two rainy seasons from April to June and November to December. This coincides with the birth of new animals especially antelopes. Conservation fees, activities and guide service charges remain constant throughout the year but accommodation prices may go lower in wetter months.

In the dry seasons, wildlife visibility is more pronounced because there is less vegetation, pasture and lower water levels. Animals tend to congregate around the few waterholes remaining. Roads are also passable during this time. You will find resident bird species all year round and migratory species from October to March.

Due to its proximity to Nairobi, most visitors to the lake combine a Lake Naivasha safari with a tour of Maasai Mara. The best time to combine these two tours would be from August to October during the Great Wildebeest Migration.


How to get to Lake Naivasha

You can access Lake Naivasha by:

  • Road: From Nairobi, take the A104 Nairobi-Nakuru road. Stop at Limuru and take in views of the Rift Valley from View Point. If you take the B3 route(old Nairobi-Naivasha road), you can stop at the little Italian built chapel and have a picnic. You will then continue north to Mai Mahiu and take the C88 to Naivasha.
  • Air: You can take a cheap flight from Wilson Airport in Nairobi to Naivasha Airport.

Places to stay while at Lake Naivasha

  • Kongoni Lodge
  • Sawela Lodge
  • Enashipai Resort and Spa
  • Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge
  • Lake Naivasha Simba Lodge
  • Lake Naivasha Resort
  • Lake Naivasha Country Club
  • Eseriani Hotel
  • Sweet Lake Resort
  • Fish Eagle Inn
  • Chui Lodge
  • Loldia Lodge
  • Hippo Point & Dodo’s Tower
  • Sanctuary Farm
  • Olerai House
  • Malewa Wildlife Lodge
  • Kigio Wildlife Camp
  • Kiboko Luxury Camp
  • Kiangazi House
  • Great Rift Valley Lodge & Golf Resort
  • Crater Lake Camp 


What to pack for a Lake Naivasha safari

  • Binoculars
  • Insect repellant
  • Antihistamines (for insect bites)
  • Camera
  • Colour neutral safari wear (avoid bright colours)
  • Fleece or warm jacket
  • Travel journal
  • Flashlight
  • Wet wipes
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Light raincoat
  • Smart casual outfits for dinner
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunblock
  • Wide-brimmed hat


If this bird watcher’s paradise is on your wish list, check out the Lake Naivasha safari packages available or call an agent to customize your trip.

Country Kenya
Languages spokenEnglish, Swahili
Currency usedksh
Area (km2)139
6 Day Safari Tour To Amboseli, Lake Naivasha & Masai Mara

6 Day Safari Tour To Amboseli, Lake Naivasha & Masai Mara

Things To Do In Kenya, Lake Naivasha Safari, Amboseli Safari, Masai Mara Safari
Combine the great wildebeest migration, spectacular elephant herds and Lake Naivasha’s diverse More info