Lake Naivasha National Park
Lake Naivasha National Park is a sheer adventure, positioned outside the town of Naivasha in Nakuru Country, in the northwest of Nairobi City. Lake Naivasha is one of the great rift valley lake found in Kenya standing at the highest elevation that rises 1,884 meters in the combination of volcanic rocks and sedimentary deposits that flows from a large Pleistocene Era Lake. Apart from being water streams, the lake is fed to other closer rivers that is Maleewa and Gilgil rivers. Get this right, there are no visible outlet, but the main issue is that Lake Naivasha water is relatively fresh to assume it’s an underground outflow. However, the park is cantered in the fresh water lake at the bottom in the center of the park. The fresh water lake is named Lake Naivasha which means ‘’rough water’’ by the maasai locals who live around the park. To note, Lake Naivasha is among the few fresh water lakes found in Kenya positioned a few kilometers away from the town of Naivasha. And it is one of Kenya’s national park that are visited frequently.
Furthermore, lake Naivasha is also part of the great rift valley features which can be adventured by tourist visit to Kenya destination. The word ‘’Naiposha’’ is derived from the Maasai local language which means ‘’rough water’ ’because of unpredictable sudden storms that rises usually. The park is surrounded by other two small lakes that is Lake Oloidied and Lake Sonichi which are called green crater lake.
Lake Naivasha rises from the floor of the Great Rift Valley from the extinct volcano of Mount Longonot. The park offers a unique feature like thick forest that sits within the crater of the mountain. And at the rim of the crater it provides great rewardable views across the beautiful Rift valley all way to Lake Naivasha. Major highlight of wildlife to see at Mount Longonot are buffaloes, Common Zebras, giraffe, elands, lion, leopard, bushbucks, Grant’s gazelles among others.
In general, the park was established on 10th April 1995, on a surface area of 140 square kilometers and surrounded by stunning swamp area which covers an area of 64 square kilometers that provides great sight-seeing of bird life. The largest part of the park is covered by the fresh water lake not very deep and seasonal. The water tends to increase on its level during the rainy season and decreases during the dry season. Lake Naivasha national park is positioned in the Northwest side of Nairobi along the great Rift Valley region. Interestingly it sounds as one of the best birding Kenya tourism destination with more than 400 unique different bird species which can be spotted along the shores of the lake and it is a place with high populations of hippos, Lake naivasha national park is closer to Hells gate national park.
Lake Naivasha National Park is an ideal destination one to enjoy Nairobi city life for a fresh new environment. Since it is approximately 1:30hour drive from Kenya capital city ‘’Nairobi’’ with spectacular view of the beautiful Rift Valley escarpment. One can decide to relax for two days’ safari adventure at Lake Naivasha national park.
Tourists Attractions at Lake Naivasha National Park
The national park looks to be small inside but gifted with numerous attractions which makes your short safari quite wonderful. It has become a famous destination as transit route that differentiates between Lake Naivasha national park and Hells gate national park since they are closer to each other and both can be adventured in the same day.
Highlight Attractions in Lake Naivasha national park is as follows;
Crescent Island: This is one of interesting private Island sanctuary that sits along the great Rift valley region and is quite rewarding. It is unfenced Island thus allowing animals to roam freely around. The Island can be accessed by the boat or by 4×4 wheel drive through the narrow swampy route that leads to the sanctuary. This route/road is commonly used by buffaloes and other number of animals; it becomes poor during rainy season. Along this Island tourist can enjoy scenic nature walk with great views of the Island.
Elsamere: This looks to be stippled trees with sisal that form the forest along the edge of lake Naivasha. In short, it is a forest composed of more tree species such as yellow fever trees and Candelabra Euphorbia and many others. The national park is popular destination for being a home of the great conservationist Joy Adamson who wrote about the bestselling book Born Free fame.
Lake Naivasha: This is the park’s highlight since the park was named after the blue water lake. The shallow lake can be seasonal though very rough during wet season. The water banks are covered by papyrus and other forest species that attract various species of birds and mammals. Here, birders have to get a boat at Lake Naivasha in order to access swamp bird species along the lake banks.
Crater Lake Game Sanctuary: The name crater lake means small size but offers a thrilling jade-colored lake formed by the process of volcanic activity. Sits in the center of the park and it’s a main touristic destination for birders with over 150 bird species recorded around. It is also a right place to explore large game animals such as giraffes, leopards, Zebras and anymore.
Mount Longonot: This is extremely an extinct volcano with the height of 2776 meters above sea level. It is noted that, Mount Longonot last erupted in the 1860’s. And now days it has been recognized as a national park of its self-named by Maasai locals with the name OIo Nongot which means ‘’Mountain of the Many summits’’. It offers a unique large crater edge on top with no water, depending on hiking experience along this Mountain can take between 2 to 4 hours to access the summit.
Animals: Lake Naivasha is deep blue water rich in acacia forests at its bank and imposes bottomless gorges that bring drams at the park. The national park hosts over 100 species of grazers and hunters. Big cats which can be sighted here include leopards and lions and others to be spotted are hippos, giraffes, zebras, buffalos and many more.
Lake Naivasha Activities
Though Lake Naivasha national park is a small park but offers gainful experience to the travelers. It becomes silent when one is interested in adventuring African ‘’big five’’ but has more species of wildlife, it can be booked as a combined tour by visiting hells gate national park, Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara.
Below are the park’s activities to engaged in by the tourists;
Game Viewing: Game viewing is the most done activity in here and best enjoyed early morning or full day game drives which brings out real adventure of the park. The park is a home of various species of animals which are best spotted throughout the year, though the best time is dry season when the park is out of water source. Some animals to see include waterbuck, wildebeest, giraffes, zebras among others. Game viewing can be on bike, foot, horse ride and safari vehicles.
Horseback riding safari: This is one of unique activities done in a few Kenya national park. An activity that gets you closer to wildlife in the park while on the back of the horse with escorted ranger who brings you close to animals and directs you to all best game viewing areas in the park. This horse back experience is also good for honeymooners as they get to enjoy cool breeze air of African environment.
Hike Mountain Longonot: To someone who wishes to achieve his or her dream of hiking one of African mountain till top, Mountain Longonot is one of the great chance since does not need any experience but needs some physical fitness. The hike takes between 2 to 4 hours depending on hiker’s/travelers physical fitness. At the top you will have great aerial view of the entire Lake Naivasha national park, the mountain also offers scenic large crater on top of the mountain and at the volcano base are habitant to zebras, buffalos, giraffes, hartebeest and others.
Bird watching: The park is a home to over 400 bird species, which can be spotted along swampy areas, acacia trees and many others. Some of sighted birds include; herons, flamingo, fish eagles, doves, marabou stork, flamingos, kingfishers, weaver mentioned but few. This is one of the best birding protected areas on Kenya safaris.
Boat cruise: The lake contains fresh water which dominates the largest side of the park to allow boat rides mostly during the wet season. While enjoying your boat ride experience, you can be able to sight see water species of birds along the water banks.
Lake Naivasha national park is one day stopping safari destination, it needs a traveler to combine or drive to other big game national park such as Maasai Mara National Reserve or Amboseli National park for more adventurous experience on Kenya safaris or even Uganda’s Gorilla Safari Bwindi impenetrable forest national park which is a 3-hour drive or 1:30 hour flying from Entebbe International Airport from Uganda to Kenya neighboring country.