Lake Naivasha National Park Travel Essentials


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Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Best Time: July - October Read More

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"The Lake where Hippos, Flamingos, and Wilderness Thrive"

Lake Naivasha National Park Tourism

Located in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya, Lake Naivasha National Park is known for its scenic lake, forming a unique ecosystem with a high population of flamingos and hippos across picturesque landscapes. The park gets its name from Lake Naivasha, which derives from the Maasai word "Naiposha," meaning "rough water." The park is home to the biggest green crater lake in Kenya, nestled within the extinct volcano, Mount Longonot.

While it is home to some iconic African wildlife, such as giraffes, zebras, buffaloes, and various antelope species, it does not have resident populations of elephants, lions, leopards, and rhinos, from the Big Five. In the area characterized by forests of unique Umbrella Acacia trees, you can expect notable sightings of elands, bushbucks, and Grant’s gazelles. It is also famous for its abundant birdlife, with over 400 bird species recorded that includes flamingos, pelicans, herons, and African fish eagles.

Since the park is a one-day visit, you can also club the visit with Hell's Gate National Park, located nearby, which entices with its dramatic cliffs, gorges, and hot springs.

Entry Fees:
There is no entrance fee to Lake Naivasha. However, there are entry fees and additional charges for activities in the park:

Boat Rides – USD 5 per person
Mount Longonot – USD 26 per person
Crescent Island – USD 30 per person

Crater Lake Game Sanctuary:
Citizen: Adult – KSH 800, Child - KSH 400
Residents: Adult – KSh 1100, Child – KSH 550
Non Residents: Adult – USD 33, Child – USD 16

Entrance Gates and Timings:
Lake Naivasha National Park has one main entrance gate, which is open throughout the year for visitors. The park timings are typically from 07:00 AM to 06:00 PM. The entrance gate is closest to the town of Naivasha, which provides easy access to the park.

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Things to do in Lake Naivasha National Park

1. Game Drives

The park provides guided game drives where visitors can explore the park's diverse wildlife, including giraffes, zebras, buffaloes, and hippos. Game drives typically last for a few hours and can be cu (Read More)stomized based on visitors' preferences.

2. Boat Safaris

Visitors can enjoy scenic boat safaris on Lake Naivasha, providing an opportunity to spot hippos, various bird species, and other aquatic wildlife. These safaris usually last for about one to two hour (Read More)s, offering a unique perspective of the lake's ecosystem.

3. Walking Safaris

Guided walking safaris allow visitors to explore the park on foot, offering a more intimate experience with nature. These safaris can range from a couple of hours to a full day, depending on the chose (Read More)n itinerary and level of activity.

4. Crescent Island

This private game sanctuary within Lake Naivasha allows visitors to walk among wildlife in a natural and intimate setting. With no predators, it's a safe opportunity to get up close to animals like gi (Read More)raffes, zebras, wildebeests, and antelopes. The best time to visit is during the early morning or late afternoon when animals are most active.

5. Mount Longonot

A dormant volcano, Mount Longonot offers adventurous hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts. The hike takes you through forests and up to the crater rim, rewarding you with panoramic views of the surro (Read More)unding landscapes. It is best to start the hike early in the morning to avoid the midday heat and enjoy the cooler temperatures.

6. Hell's Gate National Park

Known for its dramatic landscapes and geothermal features, Hell's Gate offers thrilling activities such as cycling, rock climbing, and nature walks. You can explore the towering cliffs, deep gorges, a (Read More)nd hot springs within the park. The best time to visit is in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the intense midday heat.

7. Lake Naivasha

The picturesque lake itself is a major attraction, offering opportunities for boat safaris, birdwatching, and serene walks along the shore. The early morning or late afternoon is the ideal time to wit (Read More)ness the stunning birdlife and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.

8. Lake Oloiden and Lake Sonachi

These lesser-known lakes near Lake Naivasha offer a peaceful retreat and a chance to appreciate the serene beauty of the surroundings. Visitors can enjoy birdwatching, nature walks, and picnics along (Read More)the shores.

Must Know Before You Travel to Lake Naivasha National Park

  • Nature walks are only allowed on Crescent Island as it is not fenced and the animals walk around freely.
  • Crescent Island can be reached by boat or by a 4x4 vehicle. But since the animals use the road, it is not usable, especially during the rainy season.
  • It is advisable to pre-book activities, tours, or attractions in advance, especially during peak seasons
  • It is advisable to carry a small amount of the local currency, the Kenyan Shilling (KES), for convenient payment of groceries and smaller purchases where credit cards may not be accepted.
  • Due to its location in a malaria-prone area, it is important to take necessary precautions and ensure you have received all recommended vaccinations before visiting Naivasha.
  • One day is usually sufficient to visit Lake Naivasha National Park. Hence, it is recommended to combine it with other national parks nearby such as Hells Gate National Park.

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Wildlife in the Lake Naivasha National Park

The park's most notable inhabitants include hippos and flamingos, which are often found near Lake Naivasha. In addition to majestic giraffes and graceful zebras, it is also home to some fascinating creatures, such as the rare Rothschild's giraffe, and the striking Colobus monkey with its black and white fur. The park has a rich avian population, with over 400 recorded species, including African fish eagles, pelicans, herons, and kingfishers. 

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How to Reach Lake Naivasha National Park

How to Reach Overview

The most preferred mode of transportation to reach Lake Naivasha National Park from Nairobi is by road which is at a distance of 90 kilometres. However, the park can be reached by various modes, including air, road, and rail. 

How to reach Lake Naivasha National Park by flight

The nearest airport to Lake Naivasha is Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, which is approximately 85 kilometres away. For the ones looking to travel within Kenya, Nairobi Wilson Airport is also at the same distance from the park. 

From the airport, visitors can hire a taxi or arrange for a private transfer to the park. The journey by road takes around 2-3 hours, depending on the traffic and road conditions.

How to reach Lake Naivasha National Park by road

From Nairobi, visitors can take the A104 highway and follow the signs towards Naivasha. The distance is approximately 90 kilometres, and the drive takes around 2.5 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. Private vehicles, rental cars, and taxis are popular options for reaching the park by road.

How to reach Lake Naivasha National Park by train

There is no direct railway connection to Lake Naivasha National Park. However, visitors can take a train from Nairobi to Naivasha town, which is located near the park. The train journey takes approximately 2 hours, and from Naivasha town, visitors can hire a taxi or use local transportation to reach the park, which is a short distance away.

How to reach Lake Naivasha National Park by bus

Within Lake Naivasha, local transportation options include taxis, matatus (minibuses), and boda-bodas (motorcycle taxis). These can be used to explore nearby attractions or to travel within the park. The cost of local transportation varies depending on the distance and type of vehicle, but it is advisable to negotiate the fare or confirm it beforehand.

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