Return to Lake Naivasha

Posted on November 3, 2011

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The arrival of my mother for a weekend in Kenya and the need to find somewhere relatively near to Nairobi meant I returned to Lake Naivasha just two weeks after my first visit.

This trip was a little different, however. With her budget slightly greater than mine, I swapped the simplicity and value of Fisherman’s camp for the more luxurious surroundings of the colonial Lake Naivasha Country Club, a posh and relaxing space on the edge of the lake. After negotiating the standard hassle of River Road, Nairobi’s transport hub, and taking a matatu to Naivasha, we checked into our room and made the short boat trip to Crescent Island. It was my second visit to the private park.

Last time round we had only seen animals such as zebra and giraffes from afar, but a slightly better guide this time took as to a more remote part of the island where we were able to get very close to a large giraffe family, providing us with some excellent tourist snaps. This made up for the fact that the boat trip had been too short for us to catch a glimpse of any of the hundreds of hippos that inhabit the lake. The fact that it was a Friday also meant we had the park largely to ourselves, and it offered a nice opportunity to stroll amongst the wildlife that is not available at Kenya’s other parks. My connections from my previous trip meant we were also able to “do a deal” and obtain resident’s rates for entry.

After a relaxed evening eating and drinking in the plush surround of the Country Club, we were up the next day hoping for sun and a chance to sit by the pool. It was not to be, with bad weather coinciding with my mother’s visit for the majority of the time. Instead we booked a taxi to take us around to the other side of the lake, to Crater Lake National Park. After a brief stop on the way to look at a huge colony of flamingos, we arrived at Crater Lake. This must be one of the best value small-scale safaries in Kenya, with a mere Sh700 each spent on entering the park (with driver). With the car, we were able to get very close to most of the animals, including a large family of buffalo. The taxi then took us up to the peak for good views of the isolated Crater Lake, where we had lunch on the banks. Our driver was certainly having the day of his life, able to go on safari, drink tea in a remote restaurant and get paid for the privilege.

On the way back, we stopped at Elsamere, the former home of Joy Adamson, the author of Born Free, and her husband George. This mainly involved watching a vastly out-of-date documentary (she died in 1980) and reading newspaper clippings. The pair certainly contributed huge amounts to conservation in Kenya, and through the foundation still do, but I was more interested in the added drama surrounding the place. Both were murdered, Joy perhaps by her own servants (there are rumours that she was incredibly cruel to them) and George by bandits attempting to rob tourists. This added a gruesome feel to what I’m sure is supposed to be a pleasant and homely experience at Elsamere.

Another night at the Country Club was passed in good style, before the sun finally came out the next morning and allowed us to make the most of the swimming pool. All that was left to do was return to town and have dinner at the Village Market shopping mall, perhaps most memorable for my mother as she lived in constant fear that it would be targeted for a terrorist attack. This apart, a more stylish weekend than I have been used to and I can now say I have seen everything  that Naivasha and its surrounding area has to offer.

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Posted in: Experience, Travel