Lake Naivasha (170 Sq. Km)
Just half-way before Lake Nakuru and about an hour’s drive from Nairobi, is Lake Naivasha, the "Sunshine Lake", lying at about 1890 meters above sea level. It is a strangely fresh water lake on the floor of the Rift Valley with no outlet, but believed to have an underground seepage flow. The Germany naturalist Gustav Fischer was the first white man to see the lake on 11th May, 1883, before he and his 300 strong caravan was chased back to the Coast by the Maasai. Since then, the lake has been described as a "bewilderment of birds" due to its amazing variety of both aquatic and terrestrial bird life where more than 340 bird species can be spotted in a single visit. The lake water level fluctuates with the rainfall and has fluctuated that way for many years.
The lake’s views are dominated by the shadow of Mt. Longonot 2,777 meters (9,109 ft.) a partly extinct volcano which has been recently (1983) declared a national park (52 Sq. Km.) and whose fantastic views can be obtained from the eastern escarpment on the scenic highway to the region.
The Naivasha yellow-barked and umbrella thorn trees were once called "yellow fever trees" after the explorers who camped under them caught malaria fever from the bites of the mosquitoes, which the trees’ damp shades harbored. After a period of wanton destruction by charcoal burners in the early 1970s, the trees are now strictly protected and form the major flora attraction around the lake shores and its environs .
Due to its closeness to Nairobi, Lake Naivasha has become an important recreational area for city dwellers who go there for adventure trekking, game watching trips, sailing, water-skiing and fishing activities organized for the recreational of the visitors.
Between Lake Naivasha and Mt. Longonot stands the Hells Gate with rock climbs and a sky-throbbing Fisher’s Tower. The area has also been declared a national park (68 Sq. Kms), for the protection of the rarest of Kenya’s vulture population - the Lammergeyer which nests on the rock cliffs. Other wildlife species -buffalo, zebra, eland, kongoni, gazelles, impala and birds abound in the park.
If you can spare thirty minutes, visit the Olkaria Geothermal Power Station built in 1982 on the periphery of the National Park where about fourteen wells have been drilled in the volcanically active Olkaria Ridges to tap gaseous steam from underground. The steam drives turbines to produce electricity. The station produces 40 megawatts or 16% of all electricity produced in the country; thus making Kenya one of the 18 countries in the world to utilize geothermal energy.