Lake Naivasha country club is a luxury country hotel located on the shores of Lake Naivasha and is the oldest hotel in Lake Naivasha dating back to 1930. Lake Naivasha Country Club is located on the opposite shore of Lake Naivasha from the town of Naivasha, Kenya, the Lake Naivasha country club is a popular hotel for wedding, conferences, workshops, meetings, seminars, team building, families and honeymoon, built using old colonial architecture and opened in 1937, Lake Naivasha Country Club provides accommodation in rooms and cottages across 12 hectares (75 acres) of green lawns shaded by mature acacias and fever trees, The residents' lounge has a massive fireplace and large bay windows, The bar adjoins a billiards room, for playing billiards and snooker in the British tradition, Lake Naivasha Country Clubs is one of the first hotel companies to bring hospitality to Kenya, our long history going back into the early first half of the last century, when the palatial homestead at the shores of Lake Naivasha originally opened as a ‘guest house’ with only 3 rooms available for guests, those were the days of the ‘flying boats’ by British Imperial Airways, the predecessor of what became the famous BOAC before emerging as British Airways. These – for those days at least – giant aircraft took off from the Thames in London and then made their way across the Mediterranean Sea to Egypt, up the River Nile with a stop in Khartoum and on to Kenya, where they ‘landed’ at Kenya’s first international aviation entry point on Lake Naivasha, the trip which took several days to complete, had passengers then undertake an arduous journey from Naivasha to Nairobi, up the winding road of the Great African Rift Valley and the Lake Naivasha Hotel, now the Lake Naivasha Country Club, was swiftly becoming ‘THE’ place to take to before and after flights when Lake Naivasha country Club was opened as a result of Imperial Flying Boat Services between Durban to Dublin which was then called. This explains the vintage colonial architecture that forcefully dominates the accommodation units at the lodge; the hotel enjoys expansive hectares of land with spreading fever trees and old acacia trees providing a nice shade to lush green lawns. The Lake Naivasha country club has an amazing collection of cottages that offer a myriad of guest facilities including fine dining, swimming pools among many others, this hotel in Lake Naivasha is only an hour’s drive from the capital city Nairobi. The neighboring crescent island is a habitat for a variety of wildlife including gazelles, wildebeests, zebras and giraffes. You will see zebras and varied antelopes arriving to graze on the lush grasses and perchance a couple of hippos always emerge from the lake Naivasha for a nearby early morning or night snack. The Lake Naivasha Country Club is an ideal accommodation for you while on Kenya safari or just a family vacation, this 50-cottage hotel offers outstanding accommodation services, the en-suite rooms have varying bed sizes to cater for families and groups. The facilities and amenities at your disposal include a swimming pool, curio shop, Wi-Fi access, lounge and a pool bar. There are 33 standard units, which make the largest number of accommodation villas at this country club. They have elegant furnishings and African themed wall paintings. The interior decor turns the rooms into ambient, airy and comfortable spaces where you can unwind after a safari at Lake Naivasha. Large poster beds dominate the rooms. Mosquito netting forms a canopy over the beds. You have the option of non-smoking rooms, and facilities in this lodge are wheelchair accessible. There are 11 deluxe units with a spacious living area and sleeping quarters. They have a large king size bed. You also get a reading desk and an ironing board. Such facilities as well as a television and a DVD player are also available in the two executive chalets and in the executive suites. The presidential suite has two bedrooms. This hotel has sufficient facilities within, and adventurous places for you to visit around the Great Rift Valley. Spend your holiday here because apart from having spacious, secluded cottages to yourself, you also enjoy a quiet time with your family sitting on the porch to view nature. Lake Naivasha Country Club Hotel is the best location for your vacation because it is easily accessible from the Nairobi capital city and from other towns in the Great Rift Valley. It is a popular destination for corporate groups to make use of the excellent conference facilities. The rooms, housed in cottages, are wheelchair friendly and elderly or physically challenged; our guests will also find them comfortably accessible. Each of the rooms has a chargeable small bar and tea / coffee making supplies. Safe deposit lockers are provided for storing your valuables during your bush travels in this part of Kenya and the bathrooms come equipped with a hairdryer and scales. The rooms all face the lawns and kids can have fun playing on their family holiday under your watchful parental eyes. The lodge also has a trampoline that the kids absolutely love. You may allow them to go for a swim though it can get noisy around the pool for other guests who prefer a quieter accommodation ambience. Kids will enjoy the antics of the monkeys in the trees and will be delighted to see avian-life alighting in the wild garden. The Lake Naivasha Country hotel has two restaurants where your meals are served i.e. The Terrace and Flavours Restaurant. They also have two bars, the Tavern Bar that is next door to the billiards room and the Pool Bar that serves your drinks as you lounge beside the pool. Stop by at the Rolling Pin for hot drinks and confectionary or sample barbecued fare that is cooked to your taste in the open. The lodge sets up an open-air counter and you can savor your dinner on the lawn. Vegetarians will also find an adequate collection of dishes for them with prior notice. The lodge lawns end at the lakeshore where you can take boat rides to view flamingos, fish eagles, cormorants and pelicans around the lake. Hippos lie submerged in the swamps among the papyrus reeds with only their ears, eyes and snout showing while buffaloes might arrive for a cooling dip in the lake. But the highlight of your Lake Naivasha boat tour is the glorious sunset you can watch while sipping drinks aboard your vessel. Crescent Island is accessible with a fifteen minute boat ride from the lodge and you can explore the island on foot in the company of impalas, zebras, gazelles, giraffes, waterbucks and wildebeests. There are no predators here though treacherous buffalos and hippos are present. You can additionally bird-watch and wander around contentedly. Lake Naivasha and its surrounding locales have recorded an awesome 450 species of birds. You may also opt for strolls on the lodge grounds and spot the many-colored feathered inhabitants of Naivasha. Views across Lake Naivasha are dominated by the shadow of Mount Longonot, 2,777 m (9,111 ft), a dormant volcano which, in 1983, was declared a Kenyan national park (52 km²).
Mount Longonot also can be seen from the eastern escarpment on the scenic highway to the region. Lake Naivasha Country Club is perfectly positioned on the shores of Lake Naivasha with a backdrop of green manicured gardens and yellow-barked acacia trees housing the cheeky Columbus monkeys. Naivasha is one of the gems in a necklace of Rift Valley lakes. From the top of the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley you can see Lake Naivasha sparkling in the sun thousands of feet below. Lake Naivasha Country Club offers a wonderful mix of tranquility in serene surroundings and a varied number of sporting activities for both the energetic and the more laid back. There is abundant bird life and several activities in the area. Naivasha has the highest concentration of these birds in the world. The Lake Naivasha Country Club was originally called Naivasha Lake Hotel, now a popular stop over on the tourist circuit; the venue was a premier holiday destination back in its heyday for the moneyed, creative types and those on the lam. It especially rose to glory in the 1930s, when Imperial Airways used it as a landing post for their long distance flights between London, and Durban, South Africa, with the famous ‘flying boats’. These were the days when travel was more glamorous and flying only for the wealthy, the hotel became the stop over for European passengers and those travelling from Nairobi to the Rift Valley and vice versa. Michael came into possession of the hotel in the mid 90s in Michael Cunningham-Reid in the 1950s when he was the toast of London. A bet, with his love of cards coming to great fruition on one famed occasion which moved him from farmer to hotelier. He renovated and refurbished the hotel, expanding the venue to much of what it is today, to meet the increasing demand. It became the ‘it’ place to be. It was here that a number of Hollywood directors chose to shoot: the hotel was used as a backdrop to films such as The Queen of Sheba and stood as the palace of Uganda’s infamous dictator, Idi Amin in the film The Rise and Fall of Idi Amin. On one of her many walks, Dodo Cunningham- Reid wandered out on to the expansive grounds only to come face to face with a lion: “It’s ok!” shouted out one of the film crew, “He’s an actor!” Aside from American Hollywood elites, the Lake Naivasha Club also played host to the big names of the nation. “Jomo Kenyatta the first President of Kenya would be all ceremonies in Naivasha town stay at the Hotel, Former Presidents Mwai Kibaki was a regular too, The Lake Naivasha Country Club was bought by Block Hotels in 1989 and then changed hands again to its current owners, Forget Kodak, the latest entrant in the graveyards of technology, – but who would have ever thought that Lake Naivasha “International” Airport would be lying desolate, virtually unknown and with little historical acknowledgement. It is hard to imagine how technology trashes some businesses and lifts others. Let us look at Lake Naivasha for starters. This was actually Kenya’s first international airport when planes from mostly European destinations would land at the lake, pick and drop passengers. The flying boats — as the passenger planes were generally known-— ended when advance in aviation technology allowed large planes to land on dry earth and hence the boats could not compete with the new Boeing 707s— at least from 1958. Previously, those who could not afford the “Flyboat” services — as they were known— could either take the ship from Mombasa and travel by train. The year 1958 was the turning point for Naivasha. It was when Boeing unveiled their 707 and it was this time that Mau Mau prisoners finished the construction of Embakasi Airport, the predecessor to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The opening of Embakasi (it is today used by the military) saw Lake Naivasha’s place diminish together with the facilities that had been built to cash in on the flying boat arrivals. Thus, today and in terms of glory the 55-acre Lake Naivasha Country Club still remains the premier airport hotel in Kenya. It not only offered the immigration facilities required for new entrants into the colony, but has a rich aviation history. When the club opened in 1937 (as Spark’s Hotel) it was to give the arrivals some boarding facilities and it still has the green lawns and acacia that dotted the place then. Besides, this was an area that had countless number of game, giving new visitors to the then Happy Valley a chance to sample some of the best scenes in the continent. As the “staging post” for Imperial Airways flying boat service, that operated between London and Durban, Lake Naivasha’s Spark’s Hotel became was one of the best known in the region. The choice of Naivasha was actually apt. The Naivasha town had one of the best railway stations and the lake was of no interest to fishermen after a series of ecological blunders in 1926 saw the introduction of a voracious predator that diminished the fish species. When the first route via Naivasha was inaugurated in January 1932 it was supposed to be a mail-only route to Cape Town. But three months later, the lake was opened to passengers and it took a week for a flying boat from Britain to reach Naivasha and ten days to Cape Town! Actually, Naivasha had been chosen by the first long range air transport company in Britain, The Imperial Airways, due to its unique position and economic potential. With an average depth of five meters (by 1930s it was estimated to be six metres) the runway was easy to mark and even today some of the runway wooden posts are still visible in low tide. By the time the British Airways was formed in 1935, Naivasha was the choice airport for Imperial Airways. The two would later merge to form British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) in 1945 and continue operations in Naivasha. At times passengers would land in Uganda’s Lake Albert for lunch and dinner before they were flown to Naivasha the next day. After 1949, the airport closed down and Sparks Hotel lost a place in the international map. It became simply Lake Naivasha hotel before it was turned to Lake Naivasha Country Club. There is still another story of this Club. It became a secondary school during the 1940s after students at the then Prince of Wales (now Nairobi School) were relocated and their school turned into a military hospital. The hotel welcomes children and can arrange for additional beds, cots, high chairs and baby sitting. There is also a baby pool and an excellent children's play area with swings and climbing frames.
The Lake Naivasha Country Club offer plenty of possibilities for the organisation of various business events, meetings, conferences and workshops, etc. Some of the hotels in Lake Naivasha offer not only accommodation, but also a wide range of additional services and facilities such as the organisation of conferences in smaller rooms or large halls. Thanks to the area's favourable location and good transport connections, the Lake Naivasha Country Club can meet all modern business requirements in a world where "time is money". During their leisure time, the organisers and participants of meetings and other business events can relax and enjoy the area's pleasant, healthy climate and beautiful natural surroundings. The fully equipped conference venue provides WIFI, automated projection screens, a digital projector, flip charts and a PA system making it perfect for a small to medium conference Lake Naivasha, We will gladly assist you in planning your trip to lake Naivasha including transporting seminar participants in our luxury buses and vans. We offer customized conference packages and team building activities to suit your budget and delegates’ Our attention to detail and professional service will make your conference in Lake Naivasha a pleasure, assisting you to focus on your task while we take care of the rest, making it an enjoyable and memorable stay in Naivasha. Use our hotel as a location for private or corporate events, conferences, workshops, seminars, team-building weekends or partner meetings. Our professional marketing and event organizer team offers its services for various purposes: organizing accommodations, meals, wellness services, room rental, trainings, conference planning and conference management, providing partners for event management, organizing extra programs, lectures and presentations. You only need to focus on professional details while we will be at your disposal in any phase of organizing an event: from coffee breaks to conference dinners. Lake Naivasha Country Club offers state of the art meeting/conference facilities with a choice of open air and indoor meeting space. We have lush green lawns which can host up to 300 pax and in house meetings room can host up to 100 pax. The conference package includes the following: complimentary usage of conference venue, complimentary use of TV, video and overhead projector, conference stationery i.e. flip chart, writing pads, pen, white board and markers, lunch for the participants inclusive of water/soda during the lunch, mineral water per delegate twice per day, morning and afternoon tea/coffee breaks, LCD projector and PA system available on rental basis. Lunch most days is al fresco, beneath the shade of some magnificent acacia and pepper trees. And the evenings have their own special charm too. After a day in the fresh air, a Naivasha cocktail beside the roaring log fire in the residents lounge sets the pace for an enjoyable evening. Guests can look forward to a “home-grown” dinner prepared only from the freshest lake side ingredients. Lake Naivasha is the focus of daily activities. There is fishing for black bass and tilapia, and a boat trip during the day provides a close view of Naivasha’s wide variety of birdlife and its hippo colonies. The club offers a sundowner boat trip which combines the sunset on the Lake with exotic drinks. Crescent Island, 15 minutes away by boat, is a private game sanctuary, with zebra, wildebeest, gazelle, vervet monkeys, hares, gene cats, waterbuck and giraffe. Naivasha is also a site for birdwatching, with over 300 species of birds on display: three bird-walks a day have been offered along the grounds of the country club.
Many congratulations on your engagement. You have chosen the partner, chosen the ring, and now it is time to choose the perfect wedding venue in which to celebrate your marriage and hold your special day. At Lake Naivasha country hotel, our aim is to make your Wedding Day the most perfect and enjoyable day of your life. No task is too large nor detail too small for our experienced staff when it comes to your big day. We delight in assisting you with every single task from your seating arrangements and menu choices to the co-ordination of your ideal floral arrangements for the tables. Lake Naivasha Country club is a luxury country hotel located in Lake Naivasha on the perimeter of Naivasha town; The Lake Naivasha Country Club offers the best wedding venue in Naivasha for your reception set against the stunning backdrop of the Lake Naivasha catering for wedding receptions for up to 600 guests. Lake Naivasha Country club is not only the highest AA rated 5 star hotels in Lake Naivasha but we have also been voted the 10th best hotel in Kenya making us the perfect destination for couples planning their wedding or civil ceremony. When you choose to hold your wedding here at Lake Naivasha Country club, your special day becomes our special day. With a stylish selection of licensed suites to cater for an intimate or larger event, you can relax and let our dedicated wedding planners make your dream wedding a wonderful reality. Our experienced staff will work with you to organise your perfect day and make sure that everything is just as you require, and that no detail is overlooked. We understand that weddings are expensive occasions and in order to assist you in the budgeting process we have designed our inclusive package deals which combine all of the elements you will require for your memorable day, Let our dedicated wedding coordinators transform your dream wedding into a wonderful reality, taking care of everything from the initial planning to the logistics of running your big day without a hitch. All catering at Lake Naivasha Country Lodge comes direct from the talented chefs, who have put together a selection of wedding packages to include some of our most popular dishes. Alternatively, our chefs offer an extensive menu selection for a more bespoke approach, every moment of your special day will be carefully arranged to ensure everything is just as you imagined, with stunning bespoke garden wedding venue styling creating a beautiful atmosphere. We provide an unrivalled backdrop for wedding photography, so why not enjoy your ceremony and reception The lake has a large population of hippos, which are regularly to be seen snorting and laughing in the shallow waters. At night, they troop out to feed on the lawns of the hotels and the lush grass of the riparian fringes. Vervet monkeys and olive baboons live in the woodland adjoining the south-western shore and the game corridors that run from nearby Hell's Gate NP allow buffaloes, kongonis antelopes and Masai giraffes to access the shores. As for birds, there are plenty of cormorants pelicans, herons, jacanas, long-toed plovers and weavers, while numerous warblers breed in the papyrus reed beds. Crater Lake, an extinct volcanic crater at Naivasha's western end is thickly wooded with yellow fever tress in which troops of black and white colobus, vervet monkeys and olive baboons disport themselves A total of 38 mammal species have been recorded here; buffalos, warthogs, Defassa waterbucks, bush bucks, Thomson's gazelles and impalas can be seen by walking around the crater, while night game drives allow sightings of spring hares, Senegal galagos, common gents, white tailed mongooses and predators such as servals and bat-eared foxes. Antelopes shelter in the dense vegetation (Kirk's dik-dik, steinbucks and elands) while the vivid green water offer sanctuary for lesser flamingos, duck and grebes. Once the home of Joy Adamson of ‘Born Free' fame, Elsamere Conservation Centre offers a wide range of education facilities while hippos graze on the lawns at night and black and white colobus swing from the yellow fever trees. There are 200 birds species in its grounds alone. Crescent Island, the exposed lip of a submerged volcanic crater, is a good place to view zebra, waterbuck and gazelles. It is also home to the Naivasha Yacht Club. Boats can be hired at Elsamere, Fisherman's Camp and the Lake Naivasha Country Club.
Renowned as one of the most beautiful corners in Kenya, Lake Naivasha Country Club offers the perfect setting for romantic Kenya getaways or honeymoons. Lake Naivasha Country Club is a magnificent Country House Hotel offering luxury accommodation for a relaxing romantic honeymoon with amazing views of Lake Naivasha. There is no shortage of things to do in Lake Naivasha, whether it is simply relaxing in the hotel and soaking up the breathtaking view, or a boat ride on the Lake Naivasha, the lodge has lots to offer. Lake Naivasha has individually designed bedrooms, which include a selection of luxury suites which are ideal for your honeymoon holiday. For that extra romance Lake Naivasha Country Club offers guests luxury romantic honeymoon packages that are available when staying in any of our bedrooms. We can have these packages set up in your room for your arrival, or if you’d like to plan something extra special, please just ask! We will happily try and cater to your needs. To view our current romantic honeymoon vacations ideas and travel packages please contact our reservations. We can also arrange for in-room massages and beauty treatments, for a little well earned pampering. All bedrooms are en-suite with bath and shower, some stand alone, and there is one room with a luxury double shower but no bath. All rooms have large TV’s which vary in size according to the size of the room.
Lake Naivasha Country Club is an established Lake Naivasha hotel; our philosophy is to give you the best personal service in assisting you to find the best hotel deal at the cheapest possible price in our wonderful location! We offer discounted rates at Lake Naivasha hotels for all travel budgets and travel agents plus safari companies. From cheap budget hotels, the most popular centrally located hotels in Lake Naivasha star luxury hotels, to the top 5 star deluxe hotels. We make it simple to book your next hotel in Lake Naivasha stay. Whether you're traveling for business or holiday or conference, we provide you with some of the best hotel deals around. Discover cheap rates on rooms near the Lake; our Lake Naivasha accommodation reservation options are endless. We have accommodations for that and anything in between. It’s easy to find cheap accommodation in Lake Naivasha deals for your Kenya vacation. Choose your Kenya safari tour with Lake Naivasha and save on hotel stays, freeing up cash for Lake Naivasha activities. The Best Price Guarantee ensures that you’ll get the cheapest available rates for a hotel in Lake Naivasha. Check out our selection of motels, condos, cabins, and resorts geared for adventure-seekers, families, and the young-at-heart. Thanks our cheap discounts, receive a good night’s sleep knowing you scored the best hotel deals on Lake Naivasha lodges during your getaway. Please contact our booking agents for Lake Naivasha and hotels in Naivasha town including information on any hotel in Naivasha, kindly contact is though telephone numbers provided or write to us on email address from this website
Lake Naivasha is a beautiful freshwater lake, fringed by thick papyrus. Lake Naivasha is almost 13kms across, but its waters are shallow with an average depth of five meters. 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. Afternoon wind and storms can cause the Lake Naivasha to become suddenly rough and produce high waves. For this reason, the local Maasai christened the lakeNai’posha meaning ''rough water'', which the British later misspelt as Naivasha. The Lake Naivasha 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.
Much of the lake is surrounded by forests of the yellow barked Acacia Xanthophlea, known as the yellow fever tree. These forests abound with bird life, and Naivasha is known as a world class birding destination. 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. Lake Naivasha lies about 100km (62 miles) north of Magadi as the crow flies, but is almost twice that distance by road, returning to Nairobi then travelling for about 80km (50 miles) northwest along the main road towards Kisumu. This road snakes down the eastern Rift Valley wall, following an ancient elephant trail, and offering a magnificent view of the lake and the extinct volcanoes Suswa and Longonot as you descend to the valley floor, which stands at about 1,890 metres (6,200ft) above sea level. Naivasha water level has fluctuated a great deal over the years, reaching its lowest recorded points in the 1890s, mid-1940s and late 1980s, with its average depth decreasing to an all-time low of 60cm (2ft) in 1945. Normally, however, it has an average depth of around 6 metres (20ft), and a surface area of around 140 sq km (53 sq miles). An oddity characterises Lake Naivasha: although it has no visible outlet, it is one of the two freshwater lakes (Baringo is the other) in the Rift. Many theories have been put forward to explain the phenomenon, but none is entirely satisfactory. The most obvious is that there must be massive underground seepage through the lake flow – a diffused outflow that takes the place of a conventional discharging river. Whatever the reason, Naivasha water is indeed fresh, drinkable, abundant and excellent for irrigating the surrounding fertile volcanic soils. Not surprisingly, the lake is ringed by agricultural land, from which spring many tons of vegetables and flowers harvested for both the Nairobi and overseas markets. Although it is not formally protected, and has suffered negatively from pesticides associated with the flower industry as well as the introduction of invasive fish and plant species, Naivasha still supports a fair amount of wildlife, notably large numbers of giraffe and zebra, and much of it is concentrated in private sanctuaries, though the likes of hippo might be seen anywhere on the lakeshore, and the birdlife is astounding. The part of the Great Rift Valley that stretches Northwest of Nairobi offers a set of exceptional attractions which have righteously become the most popular weekend destination for many Nairobians. Lake Naivasha is one the two fresh water lakes in the Kenyan part of the Rift; it is host to an incredible diversity of bird-life and the centre of the country’s blossoming flower business. In its vicinity are the Hell’s Gate National Park, a haven for hiking, bicycle riding and wildlife encounters as well as the impressive Longonot volcano which is also in a protected national park offering spectacular views into a perfectly formed crater and the breathtaking panorama within the Lake Naivasha and the Hell’s Gate region. As you approach Lake Naivasha on the Nakuru highway, you can see its waters from the top of the escarpment thousands of feet below as it sparkles in the sun’s glow like a precious gemstone fringed by thick papyrus. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the value of the lake can’t be overestimated as horticulture and tourism; the two most important economic propellers of the region depend completely on it. The region offers a lot of game, the very first visitors came in the early nineteen hundreds to hunt. The first hotel which targeted anglers and excursionists from Nairobi opened its gates in 1935. When descending the steep escarpment to the lake; it is hard to believe that Lake Naivasha lies at a higher elevation than Nairobi! It is in fact situated at the highest point of the Kenyan Rift valley floor at approx.1,890m (6,200 ft).
The name of the lake that sounds like an exotic flower, is derived from the Maasai name Nai’posha, meaning ‘big moving water’, later misspelt as Naivasha by the British. It is believed that it got its name because of sudden afternoon storms which cause the lake to become rough and produce high waves. Another interpretation has it that the name refers to the changing size of the lake which varies greatly according to rainfall and explains the differing information on its entire span ranging from 114 to 200 sq kms. The changing size and depth of Lake Naivasha can’t be explained solely by wavering weather patterns. It must have an unknown outlet underground, otherwise its waters would be salty as are those of Lake Nakuru and Lake Magadi. The Njorowa Gorge to the South used to form the lake’s outlet during ice age when its size and water levels were significantly higher. But it has been ‘out of order’ since then as it now forms the entrance to Hell’s Gate National Park instead. At the beginning of the 20th century, Lake 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. The lake’s average depth is about 6 m (20 ft), with the deepest area being at Crescent Island, a partly submerged crater at a maximum depth of 30 m (100 ft). Apart from transient streams, the lake is fed by the perennial Malewa and Gilgil rivers. Plenty of fresh water in an otherwise dry surrounding has turned Lake Naivasha into an oasis overflowing with a myriad of bird-life. Over 400 different species have earned the region recognition as a Ramsar wetland site; testifying to its big importance of the local avi fauna. This makes it a paradise for bird watchers, where the encounter with kingfishers, ibis, cormorants, pelicans and the majestic fish eagle are inevitable. Early mornings and the evenings here are ever memorable, with the captivating call of a fish eagle high over the lake bringing the day to an excellent finish. Much of the lake is surrounded by forests of the yellow barked Acacia Xanthophlea, also known as the Yellow Fever tree and is home to families of the pretty Colobus monkey. The lake also houses a significant population of hippo and draws plenty of game, such as zebra, giraffe and topi to drink. Not surprisingly, the natural bounty of the lake area attracted settlers who built impressive homes such as the Djinn Palace that now lies on the premises of Oserian flower farm. The settlers’ lifestyle became a synonym for decadence during the two world wars,when they became the infamous Happy Valley society for their notorious parties and drug abuse. In the 1960s and 1970s, a number of well known conservationists such as Joy Adamson, the author of Born Free, the elephant researcher Oria Douglas-Hamilton and Allan Root, nature filmer of world fame also became residents of the lake. Between 1937 and 1950, Lake Naivasha actually became Kenya’s first international airport when it was used as a landing place for the flying boats of Imperial Airways that connected England with South Africa. The Imperial aircrafts were known for their comfort and speed, cutting down the travel time to East Africa to merely ten days. The fertile soils and the abundance of fresh water have turned Lake Naivasha into one of Kenya’s prime agricultural regions. Farming started at the beginning of the 20th century, when the first white farmers – the most famous of all being Lord Delamere – settled around the lake. The pioneers introduced new plants and experimented with new animal breeds, undertaking ground breaking work which Kenya profits from until the very day. But the list of failings is equally long: Neither sisal plantations, ostrich farms nor wineries had a lasting success. Finally, horticulture, especially floriculture around the lake brought a lasting success. More than fifty multinational flower and horticultural companies offer some 50,000 people a steady income. In fact, the benefits of the horticultural business go far beyond as it has grown into the single biggest foreign exchange earner for Kenya. Naivasha town is located on the Southeast edge of the lake. It is about an 80 kilometers drive from Nairobi along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway. It is a lively market place offering decent accommodation, restaurants and supplies for farmers from the surroundings. Apart from some nice examples of historic architecture, notably the dormant railway station, Naivasha has little to offer for tourists. But it is a popular transit point for the movement of goods and services and a favorite stop for people getting refreshments as they head upcountry. Tourism activities within the Naivasha region include bird watching, hiking, game driving, bicycling, nature walking, ballooning, fishing and horse riding amongst others. Most accommodation on the lake shores offers boat trips. Bicycles are for rent along the South Lake Road and at the turn-off to Hell’s Gate National Park. About 45 minutes’ walk from Fisherman’s Camp, you can visit the Geothermal Club set in a beautiful spot looking down on the lake. This relaxed restaurant caters for Ken Gen thermal power plant’s employees but will happily serve visitors. Cold beer is always available and makes for a refreshing stop. On the Northern side of Lake Naivasha, a motorable track leads up Mt. Eburru to a spectacular view point. On its foot hills overlooking the lake, the Great Rift Valley Golf Course invites you to play a round of golf in one of the most picturesque clubs of the country as most holes enjoy stunning views of mountains, plains, lakes and both escarpments of the Rift Valley itself. The quality of the greens is said to be amongst the best in Kenya. Main road access to Naivasha is directly from Nairobi by bus/Matatu or private transport over the Old Naivasha/Mai Mahiu road or the Nakuru highway. If you want to visit Mt. Longonot National Park, take the Old Naivasha road. If you travel by public means, you get local matatus serving the South Lake and the North Lake road in Naivasha town. There is an airstrip in Naivasha, with charter flights available. Some lodges and guesthouses here have their private airstrips. Most hotels and lodges also organize transfers from Nairobi to Naivasha on demand. See the Accommodation section for details.
Some interesting facts about this short era in Kenya aviation history:
• The hotel, originally called Sparks Hotel when it opened in 1937, had boarding facilities for arriving passengers and became was one of the best known in the region
• Naivasha was Kenya’s first international airport!
• The flying boats service ended when advances in aviation technology allowed large planes to land on land
• 1958 was the turning point for Naivasha, when Boeing unveiled their 707, and Mau Mau prisoners finished construction of Embakasi Airport, the predecessor to today’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
• Naivasha was a good choice as it had one of the best railway stations and the lake was of no interest to fishermen after a series of ecological blunders in 1926 saw the introduction of a voracious predator, Micropterus salmoides (large-mouthed bass) that diminished the indigenous fish species
• When the first route via Naivasha was inaugurated in January 1932 it was supposed to be a mail-only route to Cape Town. But three months later, the lake was opened to passengers and it took a week for a flying boat from Britain to reach Naivasha and ten days to Cape Town!
• With an average estimated depth of 6m in the 1930s the runway was easy to mark -even today some of the runway wooden posts may still be visible when lake levels are low
• Passengers would sometimes land in Uganda’s Lake Albert for lunch and dinner before flying to Naivasha the next day
• The airport closed down in 1949 and Sparks Hotel lost its place on the international map. It became simply Lake Hotel before becoming the Lake Naivasha Country Club
• The hotel was a secondary school for a while during the 1940s after students at the then Prince of Wales (now Nairobi School) were relocated and their school turned into a military hospital
• The foundations of the Terminal and Customs shed can still be seen today on Crescent Island. It was also pictured on Kenya postage stamps from 1949 to 1952.
Take the Moi South Lake Road for about 2km SW from the junction with the Naivasha-Longonot-Mai Mahiu road to S00 45.815 E36 26.041, and turn right down the approach driveway to Lake Naivasha Country Club. At the entrance gate/ you will need to pay a small day membership fee (KES 200/adult, 100/child) Pass through the reception area to the large lawns at the rear which lead down through acacia woodland and along a raised walkway to a lake-side jetty. There are numerous bird species to be seen, especially around the jetty and in the woodland so make sure you have your binoculars handy – also useful as a stealth tool of course! Keep your eyes peeled for rather larger creatures too, especially towards evening, when the local hippos leave the lake for land-based nocturnal grazing activities. The cache, a small screw-topped cylindrical tablet pot, is hidden at about head height inside the obvious place under some bark pieces. When retrieving and replacing the cache, please take care to ensure you are not observed – making appropriate use of binoculars and/or camera as your stealth props . . . thanks!