Lake Naivasha National Park also called “Sheer Adventure” is located in the raising part of the great rift valley floor. The park is cantered in the fresh water lake found in the centre of the park. The fresh water lake is called Lake Naivasha which means “rough water” by the locals. Lake Naivasha is a few of the fresh water lakes found in Kenya located just a few kilometers away from the town of Naivasha. It is also one of Kenya’s national parks that are visited oftenly.
The park lies in the Northwest of the capital Nairobi, and it is part of the great rift valley features found in the great rift valley region. The park name is derived from the Maasai word “Naiposha” which means “rough water” because of its unusual sudden storms that arise always. The park is surrounded by other two small lakes those are Lake Oloidien and Lake Sonachi also called the green crater lake.
Lake Naivasha national park has unique features like an extinct volcano called Mount Longonot, a thick forest that is found along the crater Mountain. The park is dominated by Umbrella Acacia trees that are mostly found along the banks of the lake. The park reserve is now taken by the flower growing farms which are exported in most of the international markets.
The national park was established on 10th April 1995, the parks cover an area of 140 square kilometers. The biggest part of the park is covered by the fresh water lake which is not very deep and seasonal. The level of water increases during the rainy season and reduces during the dry season. Lake Naivasha national park is located in the Northwest part of Nairobi along the great Rift Valley region. The park is famous as a birding destination especially along the shores of the lake and also the nearby Hells gate national park.
Lake Naivasha national park takes around one and a half hours drive from the capital Nairobi with great scenic views of the stunning Rift Valley escarpments. The park is an ideal place for one to dodge city life for a fresh new environment. One can relax for one or two days safari at Lake Naivasha national park.
Attractions at Lake Naivasha National Park
The small Lake Naivasha national park is gifted with a good number of attractions which makes your short safari enjoyful. The park has become a popular destination as transit route differentiates between Lake Naivasha national park and Hells gate since they are next to each other and can be done together at the same day. Below are the key attractions in Lake Naivasha national park:
Elsamere: These are stippled trees with sisal that form the forest along the banks of lake Naivasha. The forest is composed of more tree species like yellow fever trees which got their name from the colour of the trees, Candelabra euphorbia and many more. The park was once a home of the great conservationist Joy Adamson who wrote the popular book Born Free fame.
Crescent Island: This is one of the private Island sanctuary that is found along the great Rift valley region. The Island is not fenced and this makes animals to roam freely around. The island can be reached by boat or by 4×4 wheel drive through the narrow swampy road that leads to the sanctuary. The road is mostly used by buffalos and other animals, it becomes impassable during rainy season. This is one of the few places where nature walks are permitted at the park.
Lake Naivasha: This is the largest attraction at the park, the park was named after the blue lake. The shallow lake is seasonal though very rough during the rainy season. The banks of the lake are covered by papyrus and other forest species that attracts more birds and animals. Birders like boating at Lake Naivasha as they go birding for swamp bird species along the lake.
Mount Longonot: Mount Longnot is an extinct volcano with the height of 2776 meters above sea level. The mountain last erupted in the 1860’s. The mountain which is now days a park of its self was named by Maasai locals with the name Olo Nongot which means the Mountain of Many summits. It has a large crater rim on top with no water, it takes between 2 to 4 hours hike depending on your hiking experience.
Crater Lake Game Sanctuary: With the name Crater lake it shows its size being small but it’s a stunning jade-colored lake formed by the process of volcanic activity. Located in the centre of the park, it’s a key destination of birders with over 150 bird species recorded around the crater game sanctuary alone. Its also home of large wildlife game like giraffes, zebras, leopards, and many more.
Birds: Lake Naivasha national park is one of the two sites listed by Kenya as wetland of international importance under Ramsar Convention) The park has over 350 bird species that is supported by the wide range of vegetation cover ranging from the swamp vegetation to forests. The thick papyrus is a home for more swamp species like weaver birds, gonolek, Palearctic duck, African fish eagles, Oxyura, flamingo, red-knobbed coot, little Greb, African Spoonbill, Porzana pusilla among others.
Animals: Deep blue lakes which are rich in Acacia forests at the lake banks, an extinct volcano and imposing bottomless gorges all bring great drama at Lake Naivasha national park. The park has over 100 species of grazers and hunters. There are both big cats like leopards, lions, and others as well as hippos, giraffes, zebras, buffalo and many more. Animals are seen throughout the year with no migratory history on them. Game viewing can be done on bike, foot, safari van or horse ride.
Activities in Lake Naivasha National Park
Despite the fact that Lake Naivasha national park is a small park but it gives great expereince to the guests. It only remains silent if one is interested in viewing the African big 5 but has more game and can be supplemented by visting lake Nakuru, hells gate and Masai mara. The park is parked with great drama
Game viewing: With over 100 animal species found at the park, the guests enjoy full day game drives that takes you close to view the game in their natural habitat. The park can be visited throughout the year though the best time is during the dry season when the park grass is short, animals gather around the lake and water catchment area. The available game includes Hippos, giraffes, zebras, waterbuck, wildebeest and many more animals.
Birding: Lake Naivasha national park has extraordinary birdlife of all kinds, the park inhabits over 350 bird species. The wide range of swamp birds that leave on papyrus swamps, Acacia trees and others. The most sighted birds are Kingfishers, Jacanas, herons, flamigos, fish eagles, lovebirds, doves, marabou stork, weavers and others. The park is considered as the birding paradise which cannot be missed during your birding trip in Kenya.
Horseback riding safari: This is one of the great activities done in a few national parks in Kenya. Use a horse to do a game drive go close to the wildlife while on the back of the horse. Escorted by the game ranger as the guide you will be close to the animals. You will be astride the horse as you sense camouflaged. They are better for the honeymooners and first-time guests to Africa to feel the fresh air of the African environment.
Hike Longonot Mountain: Do you have no experience on hiking but wishing to achieve your dream of getting into the top of some mountains? Hike to Mount Longonot is a great chance, it does not need any experience. It only needs some physical fitness, the hike takes between 2 to 4 hours depending on your fitness. The volcano base is a home of zebras, giraffes, buffalo, hartebeest and others. The mountain is also scenic with the large crater on top of the mountain, you will have an aerial view of the whole Lake Naivasha national park.
Boat cruise: The fresh water lake which dominates the largest part of the park allows boat rides especially during the wet season. The birders do boat riders as they go to the lake banks for birding and other activities done.
Lake Naivasha national park is always a one-stop tourism destination where guests break their long drive from Masai Mara national reserve to Lake Nakuru national park. It’s the best option for a one-day safari while in Nairobi for your business trip.