Naivasha is a popular holiday destination, particularly for Nairobi residents who may not have the time to travel far. The area's main attraction is of course Lake Naivasha, a beautiful, shallow, freshwater lake fringed by thick papyrus. The waters of the lake draw a great array of game to the shoreline. Buffaloes wallow in the swamps, while the large hippo population laze their days away in the shallows. Giraffes wander among the acacia, whilst colobus monkeys swing from the green canopies above.
Naivasha is the ideal safari destination for bird-watchers. Among the residentsbirds are fish eagles, ospreys, lily-trotters, black crakes; a large variety of herons, swallows, eagles, hawks, vultures, sparrows, hornbills, night jars and a host of others. In fact, up to 300 species of birds have been spotted here. Naivasha is awash with accommodation to suit every pocket – from luxury lodges to affordable camps and do-it-yourself camping sites. The facilities are located along Moi South Lake Road, which is well served by matatus, meaning they drop you right outside your chosen spot.
However, if you travel by public means, work on your patience and carry a good book, because matatus stop for any length of time at Karagita to wait for customers and load endless numbers of 5-liter jerry cans of milk. Here, uncharacteristically of matatu crews, the drivers actually switch off their engines and get out to chat! Wherever you stay around the lake, you will find a boat ride a relaxing way to spend an afternoon, as you ride past families of hippos lazily swimming with just the top of their heads out of the water. You could easily mistake them for weeds. There are some 1,000 hippos in Lake Naivasha, living in families.
You can take nature and bird walks along the lakeshore and in the natural forest surrounding the lake, as the resident waterbucks and giraffes watch you with interest. You may go for game drives or leisurely bikes rides, walks and picnics in the nearby Hell's Gate National Park. There you will enjoy watching the dainty antelopes, elegant giraffes and other plains animals as well as the geothermal activity of the hot springs, while the energetic can take a rock climb to ascend Fischer's Tower. Sunset over Lake Naivasha are always stunning, with the haunting call of a fish eagle high above bringing the day to a perfect end.
Another attraction is Elsamere, the former home of conservationists Joy and George Adamson. The home, located in an acacia forest on the banks of the lake, provides accommodation for 15-18 people in cottages set in the gardens around the main house. Each cottage has a veranda and faces the lake. You may also choose to stay in Joy's bedroom in the main house. Elsamere is home to the largest waterfowl population in Kenya, which can be viewed during an early morning boat ride. An interesting footnote to Elsamere: The center does not have a bar, but residents are welcome to bring their own alcoholic drinks.
From your accommodation on the shores of Lake Naivasha, you could trek up Mt Longonot or visit Crater Lake, with its emerald green-colored waters.