African Safari – October 26th – Lake Naivasha, Kenya – Background Information
This description comes from the background itinerary info provided by GAP Adventures.
The name Naivasha comes from the Masai “Nai’posha”, which means “rough water”, though Lake Naivasha is general calm in the morning, the best time for spotting hippos, crocodiles, and birdlife. A freshwater lake, Lake Naivasha is currently about 20km long and 15km wide, but the lake levels have fluctuated enormously over the years. In the early 1880s during the time of Joseph Thompson’s travels, it was reduced to a swamp, while in the 1920s lake levels were about eight meters higher than at present. Surrounded by forests of the yellow barked Acacia Xanthophlea, known as the yellow fever tree, Lake Naivasha has a fairy-tale beauty to it which is rarely matched. Abound prolific birdlife from majestic fish eagles and waterfowl to tiny malachite kingfishers, is known as a world class birding destination, and is an international Ramsar site.
Between 1937 and 1950 this beautiful, peaceful lake was used as a landing place for plane passengers destined for Nairobi. The flying boat from London would land on the lake where the Lake Naivasha Country Club now stands, and travellers would board a bus for Nairobi. Today the lovely lake, with its cool climate, has become a retreat for Nairobi residents and tourists looking for peace. Because the lake is fresh water and the surrounding soil fertile, this is a major production area for fruit and vegetables and, more recently, vineyards. Many animals call the area home; 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.
Our accommodation for the evening will be:
Elsamere the former home of the author of “Born Free”, Joy Adamson,
Elsamere is a haven for lovers of nature, set in Acacia forest on the banks of Lake Naivasha, in Kenya’s Rift Valley. It is the former home of the late Joy Adamson who, together with her husband George, became world famous for their pioneering conservation work and relationship with the lioness Elsa, as told in her best selling book and subsequent film, BORN FREE. The Adamsons devoted their lives to wildlife conservation and Elsamere continues to be maintained as a functioning conservation centre. By staying at Elsamere you have the unique opportunity to visit an active base for local conservation projects and a chance to experience life in one of Kenya’s most historic homes. Many of Joy’s paintings still decorate the house. The home sits on the edge of the lake and is now a museum dedicated to the famous conservationist. It also serves as a field study center and is one of Kenya’s premier environmental education centers. Green Crater Lake is a large, grown-in extinct volcanic crater filled by a soda lake and thousands of flamingos. The surrounding area is home to numerous herbivores, such as impala, zebra, and giraffe. Hell’s Gate National Park, named from its giant red cliffs outlining an interior cauldron of bubbling underground steam, has a scenic natural environment. Renting a bike and cycling through this national park allows you so enjoy the stunning scenery, unique landforms, and the resident animals: antelope such as elands and impalas, zebra, and potentially buffalo, one of the “Big 5”. Even a stroll along the lake shore will afford great view of birds and wildlife, spotting ibis, lovebirds, fish eagles, hippo, and the black and white colobus monkey on the banks of Lake Naivasha.