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|LAS 103 - 2 days / 1 night|
From the top of the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley you can see the papyrus-fringed Lake Naivasha sparkling in the sun hundreds of feet below. Just an hours drive from Nairobi, Naivasha is one of the gems in a necklace of Rift Valley Lakes, being highest of the Great Rift Valley lakes and the 2nd largest freshwater lake in the country. The name derives from the local Maasai name Nai'posha, meaning "rough water" because of the sudden storms which can arise. Over 500 hippos reside in the lake while the surrounding area makes it a veritable birdwatchers paradise.
Lake Naivasha has no known outlet and legends abound regarding the vast tunnels that supposedly run beneath its surface. Towered over by the brooding bulk of Mount Longonot (2,776 m), and featuring a submerged volcanic crater known as Crescent Island, this beautiful lake is best known for its high numbers of water birds and for the haunting cry of the fish eagles, which feed on the black bass and tilapia of its waters. Historically, Naivasha's fame originates from the late 1930's through to mid 1950's, when it became the staging post staging post for Imperial Airways' flying boat service from Durban to London and here that East Africa's first air passengers would land.
During colonial times Naivasha hosted the infamous and aristocratic 'Happy Valley Set', who lived and partied to excess in the huge mansions and ranch houses that grew up around the lake
A one night safari to Lake Naivasha is ideal for those looking for a quick trip showcasing the stunning and diverse Kenyan landscape with plenty of activities to keep visitors occupied:
Crescent island - the exposed lip of a submerged volcanic crater - is a private sanctuary, where you can walk beneath yellow-barked acacias (yellow fever trees) in search of giraffes, wildebeest, impala, dikdiks, thompson’s and grant’s gazelles, elands, waterbucks and countless bird species
At Hell´s Gate gorge with its steam jets, and Fischer's Tower a pinnacle of soaring rock, game abounds, including the arboreal colobus monkey and the rarest of Kenya's birds of prey, the Lammergeyer nest. Hells Gate National Park hosts over 450 species in the immediate area including the highland escarpments, which surround the lake to the south and west.
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.
Elsamere Conservation Centre: 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.
Mount Longonot: A dormant strato-volcano located to the southeast of Lake Naivasha is protected by the Kenya Wildlife Service as part of Mount Longonot National Park, which bears the privilege of being the host of the highest volcanic mountain in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya. Standing over the shores of Lake Naivasha, at 2776 metres this massive dormant volcano dominates the landscape for miles around. The brooding hulk of the Mountain is lined with spectacular fissures and laval canyons. As you climb these slopes, you pass through herds of grazing game as spectacular views of the Rift Valley and Naivasha unfold below. On the sides of the mountain are V-shaped valleys and ridges with little vegetation; however a thick forest occurs within the crater.
Its vast crater is an awesome sight, the jagged edge surrounding a broad expanse of vegetation. Geothermal steam trickles upwards from the walls, while buffalo and other game make their way across the crater floor. Mount Longonot is the most recent and one of the youngest volcanoes in the world
Day 1: Lake Naivasha
You will be picked up from your Nairobi hotel or international airport for drive into the spectacular Great Rift Valley amd onto to Lake Naivasha with its commanding setting at the foot of the Rift Valley Escarpment. Arrive in time for lunch at Naivasha Simba Lodge. Afternoon boat trip on the Lake including visit to Crescent Island. Rest of the day spent at leisure.
Dinner and overnight at Naivasha Simba or similar.
Day 2: Nairobi
After breakfast drive back to Nairobi arriving by lunchtime. Drop off at a Nairobi hotel or international airport.
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