Naivasha Town Guide
Naivasha Town, is a town found in Nakuru County lying in the north west of Nairobi County. For the last two decades is more associated with the flower farms than the pristine freshwater lake it is home to. Situated 90 kilometres from Nairobi, Naivasha Kenya an hour’s drive through the Great Rift Valley. Lake Naivasha is ideal for bird watching and exploring the shores where wildlife is found in private sanctuaries and Elsamere, once the home of Joy and George Adamson of the Born Free fame.
Naivasha Town Climate and Geography
Naivasha is a market town North West of Nairobi on the shore of Lake Naivasha and part of Nakuru County. It is located at 0° 43′ 0″ S, 36° 26′ 0″ E which is 2084m above sea level. Naivasha is 76 km from Nairobi, 63 km from Nakuru town and 516 km from Mombasa. Naivasha has a population of about 158,679 people according to the 2009 Census of Kenya. Temperature ranges from 20-30°C and rainfall from 200mm – 700 mm.
Two rain seasons:
- Long rains: March to April.
- Short rains: November to December.
History of Naivasha Town
Naivasha is a market town to the North West of Nairobi on the shore of Lake Naivasha and part of the Nakuru County. Naivasha is 76 km from Nairobi, 63 km from Nakuru and 516 km from Mombasa. The original name of Naivasha was from the Maasai; “Nai’posha” which means “Rough Water”.
The main industry is agriculture, especially floriculture.
Naivasha is also a popular tourist destination. Hell’s Gate National Park, Mt Longonot National Park and Mount Longonot are nearby attractions. Tours also have included Lake Naivasha, to observe birdlife and hippopotamus behaviour as well as other wild animals.
In the late 1970s–1980s, Lake Naivasha was overrun with poachers and foreign creatures introduced into the lake to provide fishing. The migratory paths along lake Naivasha were being destroyed by the local rose industry. Naturalist, Joan Root (1936–2006), spent the last decade of her life trying to save the lake and its wildlife.
A resort in Naivasha was the location for much of the negotiations of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement ending the Second Sudanese Civil War, commonly known as the “Naivasha Agreement”.
Economic Activities in Naivasha Town
Flower farming in Naivasha is one of the major agricultural activities around the fresh water lake. This has boosted the economic activities in the Naivasha town which is also known for its leisure and conference tourism.
Places to Visit While in Naivasha Town
Hell’s Gate National Park
This stunning attraction is located south of Lake Naivasha. There is a lot to see and do in this park. Explore gorges, climb rocks, view wildlife, enjoy a nature walk and have a picnic in the park’s plains. Hell’s Gate is one of the best rock climbing destinations in Kenya. Wildlife to see in this park includes zebras in Kenya, buffalos in Kenya, gazelles and hartebeests.
Crescent Island is about 15 minutes by boat away from the shores of Lake Naivasha. It is one of the few places where you can enjoy a nature walk alongside wild animals. Animals to see here include wildebeests and giraffes.
Lake Naivasha is one of the freshwater lakes in the Great Rift Valley. It is one of the best places to visit in Naivasha, to see the lake’s dense population of hippos and birds. Hotels near Lake Naivasha include Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort and Naivasha Kongoni Lodge .
Lake Oloiden is one of the least popular, but pristine, places to visit in Naivasha. It is surrounded by flowers farms. Lake Oloiden’s most striking feature is its flamingos.
Crater Lake is just 10km from the town of Naivasha. The green coloured alkaline lake is within a game sanctuary. Enjoy game walks in this sanctuary to see birds, giraffes, zebras, buffaloes and elands.
Mount Longonot is one of the attractions you see when driving into the Great Rift Valley. The mauve silhouette of the 2,776m mountain stands out on the floor of the gorge, viewed from the Great Rift Valley View Point. Mount Longonot is about 90km from Nairobi, and this extinct volcano is part of Mount Longonot National Park. Animals to see here include buffalos, zebras, giraffes and gazelles. Mount Longonot is the best destination for a day hike.
Things to do in Naivasha Town
- Game drives, hiking and cycling
- Raptors nesting in cliffs
- Spectacular Gorge walk
- Hot springs
- The Olkaria Geothermal Station
- The Mervyn Carnelley Raptor Hide
- Fischer’s Tower
- Central Tower
- Tourist circuits, nature trails and picnic sites.
- Sanctuary Horseback Safaris
- Life Beads Kenya
- Crater Lake Game Sanctuary
- Lake Oloiden
- Hell’s gate National Park
Extinct volcano and crater forest, scenic landscape, views of lake Naivasha, Mount Eburru, Mount Suswa and the Great Rift Valley.
How to get Naivasha Town
Transport in Naivasha can be by road or air. There are minibus taxis (matatus), cars for hire and buses. The main highway continues from Naivasha to Nakuru. The nearest major airport is Nakuru Airport which is 63 km from the center of Naivasha, Kenya. Naivasha airstrip at Karagite however stopped operations 10 years ago. Air Kenya is set on rehabilitating it in a bid to improve tourism and flower exports.
Night Clubs and Nightlife in Naivasha Town
Accommodation and Hotels in Naivasha Town
Sweet Lake Resort
Burch’s Resort Naivasha
Fish Eagle Inn
Lake Naivasha Resort
Three Ways Restaurant Hotel
Lake Naivasha Crescent Camp
Crater Lake Tented Camp
Astorian Grand Hotel
Lake Naivasha Country Club-Sun Africa Hotels
Great Rift Valley Lodge & Golf Resort
Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort
Naivasha Kongoni Lodge
Enashipai Resort & Spa
People of Naivasha Town
Naivasha Kenya is populated by people from the whole of Kenya and from many regions of the world. The town has a sizable population of Kenyans of Indian origin and a few of the original settler families also remained in the area.
Although the town’s population is predominantly African, the town has a cosmopolitan feel. People from different regions of the country have added a unique flavor to Naivasha town.
Camping Sites in Naivasha Town:
- Fisherman’s camp
- Camp Carnelleys
- Crater Lake camps
- KWS Hippo Camp
Lake Naivasha Kenya
The freshwater lake northwest of Nairobi, outside the town of Naivasha, lies in the Great Rift Valley. The name is derived from the local Maasai name Nai’posha, meaning “rough water”.
The lake is approximately 139km2 and is the highest of the Rift Valley lakes at 1,884m (6,180ft). Much of it is surrounded by flower farms and increasingly, by fewer swamps. It is nevertheless pristine and rich with birdlife.
The lake has an average depth of 6m (20ft), with the deepest area being at Crescent lsland, at a maximum depth of 30m (100ft). Njorowa Gorge used to form the lake’s outlet, but it is now high above the lake and forms the entrance to Hell’s Gate National Park.
The lake is home to a variety of wildlife with over 400 species of bird. There is a sizeable population of hippos in the lake. There are two smaller lakes in the vicinity of Lake Naivasha: Lake Oloiden and Lake Sonachi (a green crater lake).
Naivasha Town- Video
Naivasha Town News
Bad news and all, Naivasha retains its glory
Updated On: JULY 18 2014
There is more to Naivasha Town than bad news.
More than any other town, Naivasha has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. If it’s not a story of police arresting unscrupulous traders selling donkey meat, it’s that of old men abusing women sexually or some other mind-numbing thing.
However, this town that is located 70km north-west of Nairobi, in Nakuru County, has a positive side too. It has some of the best tourist attraction sites in Kenya.Lake Naivasha stands out among them. The lake, which derives its name from the Maasai name Nai’posha, meaning rough water, is located about 10km from Naivasha Town.
It’s a fresh water lake fringed by thick papyrus. It is about 13km wide, but its area varies, according to rainfall, within an average of between 114 and 991 square kilometres. Afternoon wind and storms can cause it to become suddenly rough with high waves.Lake Naivasha and its surroundings are rich in natural bounty. Fertile soils around it and the water have made its basin one of Kenya’s prime agricultural regions.
Much of the lake is surrounded by forests of the yellow barked acacia. The trees abound with bird life, making Naivasha a world class birding destination.The lake’s water draw a variety of game to the shores. Giraffes wander among the acacia; buffalos wallow in the swamps; colobus monkeys call from treetops while hippos sleep the day away in shallow waters.
Although the lake dried up a few years ago, a number of efforts were implemented to address the problem, including by the Green Belt Movement, Kenya Wildlife Service, Lake Naivasha Growers Group (LNGG) and Lake Naivasha Riparian Association.
More recent developments with coordinated actions by Imarisha, a government programme, and development of an inclusive management plan are achieving positive results in the basin and catchment area.
Flower companies, through the LNGG, are working together to adopt sustainable practice. Self-regulation and standards have been created by the Kenya Flower Council, among other bodies.As a result, some of the firms in the region, such as Oserian Development Company and Finlay’s, have adopted water-saving and environmental measures which have been recognised internationally as best of practice.
One of the major tourism attractions in Naivasha is the Hell’s Gate National Park, which lies by the lake. It was so named for its pair of massive red-tinged cliffs framing an interior of steam vents and bubbling springs.The park is home to massive plains game and bird life. Walking is permitted, making it ideal for hiking, biking, and rock climbing.
Boat trips on the lake are widely available, and are a great way to spend one’s day. Sunsets are always stunning, with the haunting call of a fish eagle high over the lake bringing the day to a perfect end.Accommodation is offered by five star hotels, resorts and spa’s, luxurious tents, campsites, self catering houses, family bandas, honeymoon suites and budget hotels.