Kenyan Safari – Ol Pejeta to Lake Naivasha


Great White Pelicans on Lake Naivasha

Two Digital Gypsies Rating – 2.5 Stars

Day 3 of our safari in Kenya was another travel day. We left the Ol Pejeta Conservancy headed towards Lake Naivasha. The drive was a long and bumpy one and in some places along the way the road would be completely washed out. Luckily we had four-wheel drive on the safari vehicle and were able navigate around the bad spots in the roads. Road maintenance and repair seem to be nonexistent in many areas of Kenya and it made us appreciate roads in the States.

Our first stop was at Thompson’s Falls near Nyahururu and while we liked viewing the falls we didn’t like the pushy vendors located in the parking area near the falls, so we didn’t stay long at this stop.

From Thompson’s Falls we drove to Gilgil and the Westway School to visit a young Kenyan girl named Janet who we’re sponsoring at the school. The education system in Kenya focuses heavily on boarding schools and if students don’t have the tuition fees required for a boarding school then oftentimes they can’t attend. The conditions at the school would be considered awful by US standards but the students there are motivated to excel despite the poor conditions. School days often start at 6am in the morning and continue late into the evening with no complaints from the students. They feel lucky to be attending. So if you’re interesting in helping in a third world country like Kenya, sponsoring a student in boarding school would be good way to this.

From Gilgil we drove to Naivasha and had a late lunch at the Naivasha Coffee House. There was also a small shop there that had fantastic natural fruit smoothies. After the late lunch we went immediately to Lake Naivasha where we had a boat tour of the lake booked.

During the boat tour we were struck by how high the level of the lake was. Trees that would normally be on the edge of the lake were now covered with water. There were lots of theories as to why the lake level was rising but no one had a definitive answer. The high lake level affected the numbers and diversity of birds available for viewing. My wife Barbara went on a boat tour here two years ago when the lake level was normal, and said that the bird numbers and diversity were much higher than what we saw on the boat tour this day.

We did see hippos in the lake but were cautious to keep a safe distance. Our boat guide had a friend who lost  his life by getting too close to a group of hippos a few years ago. On the banks of the lake were hippos, water bucks, wildebeests, and a number of bird species.

After the boat tour we drove to the Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort where we would spend one night. The rooms had a 70’s dated feel to them but the grounds were lush and fun to walk around, but only during daylight hours. Due to the hippo danger if you want to walk anywhere at night an escort is required. Food at the resort was buffet style and what we would consider as only fair in quality.

Of the seven days of our safari, this was probably our least favorite day due to the long and dusty car ride and the scarcity of birds on Lake Naivasha.