Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake, unlike many in the region, which are soda lakes. The lake is shallow and the area varies depending on the rainfall, ranging from 114 to 990 square kilometres. Strong afternoon winds can cause the lake to get very rough quite suddenly. The local Masai called the lake Nai'posha, meaning "rough water", which the British later spelled incorrectly as Naivasha.
The region was first settled in the 1930s by the notorious British ‘Happy Valley’ set who bought all the neighbouring farmland – much of which is still owned by white Kenyans. Between 1937 and 1950 the lake was used as a landing place for plane passengers destined for Nairobi. The aircraft would land on the lake where the Lake Naivasha Country Club now stands and travellers would board a bus for Nairobi. Even today when the water is low you can see the wooden posts that mapped out the runway
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. The lake itself is not technically a national park, as most of the land around the lake is privately owned,. Because the lake is a freshwater one and the surrounding soil fertile, it is a major production area for fruit, vegetables and, more recently, vineyards. Due to the forests around the lake, the area is full of birdlife and the water attracts wildlife, with giraffe, colobus monkeys, hippos and buffalo most commonly spotted.
To get you started with planning your holiday to Lake Naivasha, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to Africa