At almost 2,000m above sea level, Lake Naivasha is the highest of the Rift Valley lakes and the second largest in Kenya. It has an average depth of 6m and is approx 80km northwest of Nairobi.
The name comes from the local Maasai word “Nai'posha” meaning "rough water" (caused by the sudden storms which can arise). The lake has a surface area of 140sq km and is surrounded by a swamp, which covers an area of 64 sq km, depending on rainfall.
Much of the lake is surrounded by yellow acacia forests, which abound with birdlife and animals. The waters of the lake draw a great range of birdlife due to the amount of fish below. Birds such as the black heron, fish eagle, grey-backed fiscal, kingfisher and 400 others are residents of Lake Naivasha. There is also a sizable population of hippos near the lake, while giraffe roam among the acacia, buffalo wallow in the swamps and monkeys call from the treetops.
Lake Naivasha is worth a stopover on the way back to Nairobi after seeing Maasai Mara.