Although Lake Naivasha in Kenya is not a national park in its own right, the beautiful lake has become a staple of Kenyan safaris.
Located between the rhinos of Lake Nakuru and the vast plains of the Maasai Mara, Lake Naivasha has become a popular stop along the most popular Kenyan safari routes.
With its serene surrounds, an abundance of accommodation options to suit all budgets, and a variety of activities – Lake Naivasha is an especially good stop for those on a family safari.
Take a boat safari
The most popular attraction at Lake Naivasha is undoubtedly the chance to take a guided boat safari out onto the water.
Dead trees reach up out of the cool blue water like grasping hands as a huge assortment of bird life moves about. Everything from pelicans to cranes to smaller, more brightly coloured birds are on display.
The waters themselves are home to wallowing hippopotamuses, and along the shores, you’ll spot Cape Buffalo and other herbivores.
Walk with the animals at Crescent Island
Easily combined with the boat safari, a visit to the Crescent Island Sanctuary offers a rare chance to literally walk with the animals.
The island sanctuary isn’t home to any predators, so you can safely trade the safari car for your own two feet as you wander alongside zebras, giraffes, and wildebeest!
Explore Hell’s Gate National Park
One of Kenya’s most naturally beautiful parks, Hell’s Gate isn’t as intimidating as its name might suggest!
With its volcanic landscape, Hell’s Gate might put you in mind of paying a visit to another planet. Red earth, towering stone pillars and cliffs, and a sparse animal population make it something completely different to what you’ll find elsewhere.
Visitors to Hell’s Gate National Park can cycle its dusty roads, hike its scenic canyons, climb its towering pillars, and more!
Climb Mt. Longonot
For the more adventurous, the opportunity to hike a dormant volcano might be too hard to resist!
A relatively challenging 4-5 hour hike, the ascent to the crater of Mount Longonot takes you through land inhabited by buffalo, antelopes, and even leopards.
An easy day trip from either Lake Naivasha or Nairobi, the half-day Mount Longonot hike can be combined with other local activities.
Look for flamingos at Lake Elementaita
While Lake Bogoria is the more famous haunt for both Greater and Lesser Flamingos, Lake Elementaita is also home to the vast flocks of brightly coloured birds during the year.
Depending on conditions, Lake Elementaita can be your best chance to spot the huge crowds of pink birds, but even when they’re absent – Lake Elementaita is still a fantastic option for birdwatchers.
Take a dip at Ol Karia Geothermal Spa
Located within Hell’s Gate National Park, Ol Karia (or Olkaria) is the largest geothermal spa of its kind in Africa.
Heated by the volcanic activity that gives Hell’s Gate its name, the man-made pools of Ol Karia are a great place to soak in the warm waters and wash away the dust of the road.
Travel back in time at the Karlandusi Cradle of Mankind
Much like Oldupai Gorge in Tanzania, Karlandusi claims to be the Cradle of Mankind.
Dating back more than 1 million years, this Stone Age site is rumored to have been a prehistoric ‘factory’ where stone tools were produced for use elsewhere.
The attached Karlandusi Museum is an informative, government-run museum in which visitors can learn more about not only Karlandusi – but other historically significant sites nearby.