Lake Naivasha

 

The highest of the Rift Valley lakes Naivasha lies at about 1880 m. The lake level varies quite considerably - in 1926 it was reported 6 m higher. Eons ago it was a great deal higher than that and its waters gushed through Njorowa gorge now high above the lake and the dramatic entrance to Hell's Gate National Park. Lakes are not normally fresh unless water can escape but there is now no visible outlet to the lake. The supposition is that there are underground seepages maintaining the movement of fresh water brought into the lake by the Gilgil and Malewa rivers in the north.

Only 100 km from Nairobi the lake has become a recreational centre for Kenyans; there is a flourishing yacht club and many private cabin cruisers and other boats for fishing. All the land surrounding the lake is in private hands so access to the water has to be through the grounds of the two hotels on the south east shore or by the consent of local landowners. There are several homestays on lakeside properties.

This lake is also a birdwatchers fantasy. There are over 450 species in the immediate area including the highland escarpments which surround the lake to the south and west. From October to March the resident bird population is generously supplemented by palaearctic migrants. On the water pelicans and cormorants are numerically superior but pride of place must go to the African Fish Eagle whose haunting call remains as significant to lake visitors as does the roar of a lion in the parks.