Naivasha is a unique tourist destination on the floor of the Great Rift Valley with a variety of fun things to do for all types of adventure seekers. It’s proximity to Nairobi, makes it an excellent getaway location and you can also include it with any Kenya safari tour package. The distance from Nairobi to Naivasha is 110 km and it will take you approximately 2 hours by road. What makes Naivasha a unique getaway destination is the iconic Lake Naivasha. Lake Naivasha owes its name to the sudden storms that occur there. In fact, the name Naivasha comes from Nai’posha, in the local Maasai language which means rough waters. Lake Naivasha is the second largest fresh water lake in Kenya. It is located in the Great Rift Valley, Nakuru county, a short distance from Naivasha town. The lake is an overflow of beauty with tranquil surroundings decorated with the presence of a variety of wild animals and bird species.
If you’re ready for an amazing adventure experience, here’s a list of the fun things to do in Naivasha, Kenya.
Fun things to do in Naivasha: Boat trip on the Lake Naivasha
Boat rides along lake Naivasha provides a perfect view of the island, dotted with animals such as the hippos, kongoni, and zebras. The lake and its forests also delight visitors with a rich display of birdlife. Keep an eye out for woodpeckers, cuckoos, shrikes and raptors such as hawks and the African fish eagle. The nearby papyrus swamps host jacanas, herons and kingfishers.
Walk among the wildlife on Crescent Island in Lake Naivasha
The Crescent Island Game Sanctuary is a peninsula located on the eastern side of Lake Naivasha. Crescent Island Sanctuary boasts more animals per acre than any other park in Kenya.
Some of the animals you will spot at the island include: Impalas, Wildebeests, Giraffes, Zebras, Waterbucks and elands call this beautiful island home. The island is also a haven for over 200 bird species, some of them are; herons, fish eagles, lily-trotters, and ospreys.
The island is not fenced, and the animals are free to roam within the Island much like yourselves. The island is also ideal for activities such as hiking, biking, walking and weekend retreats.
Entrance fee is 33 USD per person. At the moment the Crescent Island is only accessible by boat.
Fun things to do in Naivasha: Hell’s Gate National Park
Hell’s Gate National Park is one of the few national parks in Kenya where you can walk and cycle freely. The experience is sensational!
Hell’s Gate has two gates that are used by visitors – the main Elsa Gate and the Olkaria Gate. The latter also serves the Olkaria Geothermal Station that is located inside the National Park.
The park is famous for the great steamy clouds and geothermal hot pools that distinguish this unusual place. You’ll marvel at the park’s stunning cliffs, rock towers, extinct volcanoes and breathtaking gorges.
Amazing scenery will surround you thanks to Fischer’s Tower, the Central Tower, and the park’s gorge. Fischer’s Tower came to be as a result of volcanic activity that occurred 35 million years ago. It was later named after a German explorer named Gustav Fischer, and it is now one of the park’s many popular rock-climbing sites.
The bike ride runs through dusty roads in about 8 kilometres to the gorge. Along the way, you will see zebras, giraffes, buffalos, impalas and warthogs, with yellow and orange rocks in the background
- Spectacular scenery including the towering cliffs, water-gouged gorges, stark rock towers, scrub clad volcanoes and belching plumes of geothermal steam make it one of the most atmospheric Parks in Africa.
- Wildlife viewing
- Raptor nesting in cliffs
- Hot springs
- The Olkaria Geothermal Station
- The Mervyn Carnelley Raptor Hide
- Tourist circuits, nature trails
- Health spa
If you’re considering biking, bicycle hire two kilometres from the Elsa Gate to Hell’s Gate National Park is cheap and affordable.
Entrance fee for Hell’s Gate National Park
Park entrance is: 26 USD per person
Entry for the bicycles: 215 KES per bicycle
Swimming at Ol Karia Geothermal Spa.
Olkaria geothermal hot spa is a very unique spa located at the centre of Hell’s Gate National Park in Nakuru County. This spa is a hub of natural hot water that collects in a pool; the hot water is from different wells and is in the form of a hot steam that cools through collecting pipes and into a main pool that has temperatures between 30 to 40 degrees centigrade; and it’s for this reason that the spa is termed geothermal. The OlKaria geothermal Spa is the largest of its kind on the African continent.
The water that flows into the geothermal spa is all natural with no treatments or additives, its rich with several natural minerals that include silica and sulphur. To keep the temperatures of the swimming Lagoon user friendly; there are geothermal technicians who are constantly monitoring the lagoon temperatures. The Olkaria geothermal spa consists of three cascaded lagoons that receive this hot steam water
Fun things to do in Naivasha: Climbing Mount Longonot
The Mount Longonot hike is a really cool experience. You can climb the dormant volcano and then walk around the entire crater. The way up is steep, but easy to do. Along the way, you will see footprints of monkeys and behind you lays the beautiful Lake Naivasha. Once at the top, you will see the deep crater of the volcano. This is completely filled with trees, a large green blanket underneath you. It is not advisable to enter the crater, there seem to be dozens of poisonous snake species.
From the highest point (2560 meters) you will look out over Lake Naivasha, you will see Hell’s Gate National Park and the rest of the Great Rift Valley.
Park entrance Mount Longonot: 26 USD per person
Fun things to do in Naivasha: Visit the Crater Lake Game Sanctuary
Crater Lake Game Sanctuary is located just west of Lake Naivasha and is an area that is perfect for a walk around the lake. Crater Lake Game Sanctuary is also a volcano, with a large lake in the crater. The Crater Lake has breathtaking jade colored waters. Walks around the sanctuary are allowed, giving you a chance to have close interactions with the wild animals. Around the volcano, you will find the rare white and black Columbus monkeys, giraffes, zebras, 150 different species of birds and other animals. There are guides available who can walk with you, but you can also explore the park on your own.
The entrance fee for Crater Lake Game Sanctuary is $ 25 per person.
The Sanctuary Farm
The Sanctuary Farm is a pleasant surprise and one of the most exciting fun things to do in Naivasha. Unlike in Hell’s Gate, where you only spot animals from a distance, you can get up close and personal with the wildlife here.
The farm is a perfect place to relax, ride, walk and cycle in a safe environment. However you chose to explore, you’ll have beautiful encounters with zebras, giraffes, gazelles, and wildebeests.
The charming farmhouse inside the sanctuary is also an excellent base for your trip to Naivasha. It’s perfect for a weekend getaway for families or small groups.
Fun things to do in Naivasha: Explore Lake Oloiden
Oloiden is located in Naivasha County, approximately 90 kilometres from Nairobi and 60 minutes from Nakuru. It is located very close to Lake Naivasha with a man-made canal connecting the two lakes. Lake Oloiden is a flamingo paradise that offers some of the best camping experiences in Naivasha.
The Lake was formed as result of tectonic rising in what was originally Lake Naivasha, leading to separation by land of the two lakes. The locals say the lake just appeared mysteriously when some hills started growing out of the water, cutting off Lake Oloiden completely from the main Lake Naivasha. Initially, Lake Oloiden was a fresh water lake considering it was once part of Lake Naivasha. However, in the late 1990’s the lake became significantly saline. This can be attributed to the fact that the lake has no outlet. In fact, the lake became so saline that it saw the death and migration of hundreds of birds and animal life. On the other hand, however, the salinity was perfect for the lesser flamingos and up to 2008, the lake was home to these beautiful birds. However, climate change in recent years led to the Lake Oloiden and Lake Naivasha waters occasionally mixing, therefore, reducing Oloiden’s salinity and gradual disappearance of the flamingos.
Activities in Lake Oloiden
Lake Oloiden is about 800meters from the main road. It shares the same ecosystem as Lake Naivasha so you are guaranteed wildlife sightings and great natural aesthetics. At the lake itself, there are several fun things to do:
- Boat ride in the lake. You will enjoy the tranquillity that this small but mighty lake offers The Lake Oloiden is home to hippos. The yellow fever acacia trees give the lake an amazing background that is almost picture-perfect.
- Bird watching. Among the many birds you are going to see here, the great white pelican and flamingos takes the spotlight.
- Fishing. Lastly, at the lake, you can participate in fishing with the guidance of the expert fishermen. It is always a great thing knowing where your next meal is coming from.
The lake is surrounded by various activities and venues including camping sites, local hotels, market grounds.
Climbing Mount Suswa
Although Mount Suswa is a few kilometers from Lake Naivasha, Climbing the volcano is one of the adventurous and fun things to do in Naivasha. It is a large shield volcano where only few tourists frequent. In just under three hours you walk to the top of the crater, from where you walk around it in eight hours. If you visit Mount Suswa, you will also spend the night here, camping on a flat piece of grass.
This tour is not recommended without a guide, so arrange a local Maasai guide in advance to take this tour with you. For this excursion contact Arrow Adventures to help you organize a memorable experience.
Our recommended kenya safari tour packages that take you to Naivasha include:
5 Days Naivasha and Masai Mara Adventure Safari