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Lake Naivasha

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Located approximately 70 km from Nairobi, Lake Naivasha is at the highest elevation of the Kenyan Rift valley at 1,890 metres (6,200 ft) in a complex geological combination of volcanic rocks and sedimentary deposits from a larger Pleistocene era lake. Apart from transient streams, the lake is fed by the perennial Malewa and Gilgil rivers. There is no visible outlet, but since the lake water is relatively fresh it is assumed to have an underground outflow.

Dubbed one of the country's most beautiful freshwater lakes and fringed by thick papyrus, this almost circular lake is nearly 13 km across but its waters are shallow with an average depth of only five metres. Lake area varies greatly according to rainfall, with an average range between 114 and 991 sq kms. At the beginning of the 20th Century, Naivasha completely dried up and effectively disappeared. The resulting open land was farmed, until heavy rains a few years later caused the lake to return to existence, swallowing up the newly established estates.

Lake Naivasha is surrounded by Acacia Xanthophlea, the tall imposing 'yellow fever tree' and the area is renowned for its bird population. Over 400 species have been recorded which is more than the entire list of birds seen in the British Isles! The waters of the lake draw a great range of game to these shores. Giraffes wander among the acacia, Buffalo wallow in the swamps and Colobus monkeys call from the treetops while the Lakes large hippo population sleep the day out in the shallows.

The lake level rises and falls over the years for some yet to be determined reason! A possible cause is the delayed effect of extensive irrigation of the surrounding farms in one of Kenya's prime agricultural and horticultural regions. At the peak of the season approximately 1 million flower stems, mainly roses, are airlifted to Europe each night.

Afternoon wind and storms can cause the Lake to become suddenly rough and produce high waves. For this reason, the local Maasai christened the lake Nai’posha meaning ''rough water'', which the British later misspelt as Naivasha.

The lake and its surrounds are rich in natural bounty, and the fertile soils and water supply have made this one of Kenya’s prime agricultural regions. The region surrounding the Lake is well worth exploring. There are two smaller lakes nearby, Oloidien, and Sonachi, a bright green crater lake. Boat trips on the lake are widely available, and are a great way to spend an afternoon or morning. Sunsets are always stunning, with the haunting call of a Fish Eagle high over the Lake bringing the day to a perfect end.

Main road access to Naivasha is directly from Nairobi by public or private transport. The main highway continues from Naivasha to Nakuru. Naivasha is just over an hour from Nairobi. There is an airstrip in Naivasha, with charter flights available. Some lodges and guesthouses here have private airstrips. Most of the places in interest in Naivasha are around the Lakeshore, out of town. There are taxis available in Naivasha town although a private transport arrangement is the best way to explore this region. Many hotels and Lodges organize local excursions.
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