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Lake Naivasha

A freshwater lake in the Kenya portion of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha is situated northwest of Nairobi, with the town of Naivasha on its north-eastern coast. The Lake got its name from the Masai word ‘Nai’posha’ meaning ‘rough water’ due to the abrupt storms that can arise. At 1,890 metres above sea level, the Lake is at the tallest point in the Kenyan rift, and is settled in an intricate geological mixture of volcanic rocks and sand deposits from a much bigger Pleistocene era lake.

The Lake’s outlet is referred to as Njorwa Gorge, and is presently much higher than the lake, which was once an incredibly massive span of water. The gorge now acts as Hell’s Gate National Park’s entrance, which boasts some remarkable examples of water and weather-worn rock formations, as well as plenty of plant and animal life that encompass some very uncommon pairs of Lammergeyers (also known as Bearded Vultures).

Aside from fleeting streams, Lake Naivasha is fed by the Malewa and Gilgil rivers, but has no visible outlet. This has resulted in the deduction that the water of the Lake must be forced out through a volcanic fissure or something of that sort, beneath its vast lake bed. It has been suggested that this water then makes its way through the fresh hot water springs in Lake Magadi, an otherwise pink soda lake that lies 120 kilometres to the south.

Lake Naivasha boasts a large range of wildlife, including big concentrations of hippo which typically wander into the surrounding accommodation during the evenings in search of food. As it is a freshwater lake, Lake Naivasha contains a high concentration of fish, including the Black bass, Tilapia and Crayfish which draw in a wide range of fish-eating birds such as Long-tailed and Great Cormorants, as well as Fish Eagles, Pelicans and numerous kinds of Kingfishers.

Naivasha is a fantastic area in which to spot the Grey-backed fiscal. This bird takes the place of the Long-tailed Fiscal in regions with more rainfall. Also to be seen in the area is the Black-lored Babbler. The Naivasha race tends to show pale tipped feathers on their heads, giving their appearance a frosty or haloed effect. It is said that this variation might be the outcome of hybridization with Northern Pied Babblers at some point in the past.
Joy Adamson, of Born Free fame, once lived on the coast of the lake during the 1960s. Djinn Palace is situated on the shores of the Lake and now forms a section of the Oserian flower farm. In 1999, the Lake Naivasha Riparian Association received the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award for its conservation efforts regarding the Lake Naivasha Ramsar site.

Floriculture makes up the primary industry surrounding the Lake. However, the unregulated use of lake water for irrigation is reducing the Lake’s levels, which is becoming an issue of concern in Kenya. Other sources of employment and income for the locals come from fishing in the region. When visiting this area, be sure to pay a visit to one of the most beautiful parks in Kenya, Crescent Island Park.  Here, you will have the opportunity to observe plenty of birdlife and game such as wildebeest, waterbuck, zebra and giraffe.

We have many Tours that travel to Kenya where you can get to see this great lake and its wildlife.

About Bronwyn Paxton

Article by: Bronwyn Paxton
on August 7, 2013
Filed under  Africa Blog • Destinations 
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