Naivasha is a beautiful small town found in the heart of Nakuru county and located some 92 kilometres northwest of Nairobi.
The town may be small but it boasts of some of the most stunning sites to visit.
Whether you’re looking to cruise through some water body, marvel at wildlife, hike and do some rock climbing or just picnic with friends and let loose, Naivasha should be first on your bucket list.
It’s about a two-hour drive from Nairobi if you have private means. You could also hire a taxi for a fee that might dent your pocket if your negotiation skills aren’t top tier.
If your patience is top-notch you could use public means; it’s not all that bad.
Visiting The Lake Naivasha
This freshwater lake is popular for its fish and boat rides, not to mention the view, especially when the sun begins to set.
The name was derived from the local Maasai dialect ‘Nai posha’ to mean rough waters.
It’s very commonplace to spot hippopotamuses and crocodiles swimming in the murky waters, as well as a wide array of bird species.
When the weather is favourable, you should definitely take a boat ride that goes for as low as USD 5 per person.
Cruising the lake is the perfect getaway for a weekend off with family and friends and reconnecting with loved ones, which is such an underrated privilege.
Touring Hell’s Gate National park
The place is ideal for visiting when the weather is favourable since it can get slippery after rain.
The site is unique because guests get to have a tour of the exotic place simply by cycling.
Hell’s Gate is quite rocky, so if you’re looking forward to a race you’ll be duly disappointed.
Along your way, you’ll spot warthogs, antelopes, and zebras. Bikes are available for renting out at USD 6 and the entry fee to the park is USD 26. If you bring your own bike, the fee is USD 3
Towards the end of the park is the famous Hell’s Gate gorge. It’s a cave with fascinating rooms like the devil’s bedroom.
The gorge is however affected from time to time by flash floods, hence you risk finding it closed.
On a good day, however, you can have the guides take you on a tour as they explain the history of the place.
You should definitely bring some hiking boots along.
Visiting The Crescent Island and Crescent Island Sanctuary
Crescent Island gives you the most stunning view of Lake Naivasha. And what’s more, you can comfortably walk around the island as you relieve the tensions that a week of long hustles comes with.
The island has a sanctuary with a higher number of animals than any other in the country.
Due to the uniqueness of the place, it’s visited by many tourists, hence the animals have got used to human presence.
Better still, you can have a closer interaction with the animals while riding on a horse.
This looks like a safer alternative as the animals might not have the brains to recognize a human but rather focus on the horse.
The entry fee to the island is USD 30, and you can have the whole island to yourself.
In case you have no other plans, include a picnic with family or friends on your to-do list and spend the entire day marvelling at the sheer beauty of Crescent Island.
Visiting The Naivasha Flower Farms
Most of the flowers exported to other countries are grown in Naivasha.
If along the highway you’ll spot acres of greenhouses, and you wonder what’s grown inside, then you have the answers right above.
From roses to lilies and daisies, the view is quite stunning with the different colours.
If you love flowers and need your curiosity satisfied, all you need to do is walk into one of the farms, and feast your eyes on how they’re grown, how they’re cared for, and even packaged.
If you’re lucky to find a nice guard, they’ll explain the meaning of each colour in the flowers, how red is the hallmark symbol of love, how white represents peace, and yellow stands for something a little less enticing.
On and on the colours go, and after that, you could take a bouquet of flowers home, straight from the source, and make someone’s day.
Touring River Malewa and the Crater lake
The river Malewa rises from the Aberdare ranges and drains into Lake Naivasha.
You can clearly see it from the highway, so you need not worry about traversing rough roads to see it.
Its swelling currents and the gush of water is quite a sight to see. It’s quite common to see locals doing laundry on the shores of the river.
The water from the river is mainly used for horticultural purposes as well as irrigation for the locals’ farms.
The Crater lake is a result of volcanic forces on the land. The lake is a bit off the main road, you need a good off-road vehicle for the route.
However, the drive is through a sanctuary, so your eyes will be focused on the different animals you won’t notice the distance and poor road condition.
The way up the crater is a nature trail where you get so lost marvelling in the wonders of nature, the beautiful indigenous trees, and the chirping of birds.
Atop the trail is a stunning view of Lake Naivasha and the vicinity, which form quite the sight for sore eyes. The entrance fee is USD 20 and what’s more, is that they have a restaurant to fill you up before you start the long trek back.
Hiking At Mount Longonot National park
Now, who wouldn’t want a little adrenaline coursing through their veins? The park is a little more of a hiking ground up the highest peak of Mount Longonot.
Despite it being a national park, it’s rare to spot animals. The whole place is more of a nature trail, and if that is in your element, then bring along some hiking boots.
The silence and tranquillity will give you the solitude that urban centres will not, as you reconnect with parts of yourself that you had previously lost.
Careful, though, the hike is not as easy as it sounds. You’ll need loads of energy to go up and down the trail.
Relaxing On The Olkaria Geothermal spa
How about having your muscles flexed inside a naturally heated pool?
The Olkaria Geothermal Spa is located just outside the Hell’s Gate National park and is a perfect way to relieve tension and feel rejuvenated after a long trip or simply on a cold day.
The Lake Naivasha Resort and Elsamere hotel
If you’re looking for a luxurious place with all amenities at your disposal, not to mention epic views of Lake Naivasha, this resort is your go-to choice.
Located a few kilometres from Naivasha town, the resort is the perfect combination of modesty and luxury. They have a terrace with good lawn mowed grass. And the lake is just a few steps away.
Guards are on standby with boats ready to cruise you through the lake. They also have an outdoor pool for the sunny afternoons.
The chefs here don’t disappoint, however you like your meat done, grilled, roasted or fried, you’re definitely going to need a second helping. And the fish! You should definitely try that.
Occasionally they host live bands, and you can jam the night away listening to artists sing in local dialect as you warm by the bonfire lit on the terrace. It’s the perfect definition of intriguing.
The Elsamere hotel is well known for its afternoon tea and snacks such as cookies, so if you’re looking for a quick stopover to satisfy your craving for some good caffeine, this is the place for you.
They have a well-cared-for garden, and you’ll even spot colobus monkeys jumping and roaming about in a carefree manner.
The members of staff here have a story to tell about the Elsa Conservation trust and a Joy Adams before leaving you to your tea and cookies.
Shopping At The Buffalo Mall
This is the hallmark shopping centre in Naivasha. If you’re driving and need a breather, you should stop by the mall.
They have the ideal retail stores for refreshments such as milkshakes and snacks.
There’s a supermarket where you can buy everything you need at cost-friendly prices.
You don’t have to worry about getting lost in the huge mall, the guards are very friendly and will give you a helping hand.
And ooh, they have ample parking too and an amusement park with trampolines, swings, and slides for your children to get distracted from the strain of being on the road for too long.
Once you are done exploring Naivasha, hope over to our guide to fun things to do in Nakuru, which is only around an hour’s drive from Naivasha, or check out the fun things to do in Eldoret which is slightly farther from Naivasha but still, only a three hours’ drive away.