Boat tour on Lake Naivasha and walking safari on Crescent island
Located only 100 km away from Nairobi and a popular spot for a day trip, the Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake in the Nakuru county that lies at an altitude of 1890 meters. It is part of the Great Rift Valley and owes its name from the Maasai word “naiposha” meaning “rough water” due to the storms that can suddenly arise here. Acacia woodlands swamps fringed by papyrus, forest, and spectacular geological features surround Lake Naivasha.
With a surface area of 265,449 hectares, Lake Naivasha is also included in the “List of Wetlands of International Importance” (Ramsar sites) and boasts over 400 species of birds, like fish eagles, ospreys, lily-trotters, black crakes, and herons and last but not least a large community of hippos bathing in the water. Besides, it’s not unusual to see giraffe, impala, zebra and buffalo grazing in the areas surrounding the Lake.
About Crescent Island
Crescent Island is a private Wildlife Sanctuary on the eastern side of Lake Naivasha. The Island features more animals per acre than any other park in Kenya. Here you can enjoy a fantastic and easy guided walking safari (around 1 hour on a plan terrain) surrounded by a variety of animals including giraffe, zebra, Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelles, waterbuck, eland, and indeed many bird species. It’s also common to spot hippos bathing or to bask at the sun close to the island shores. The Island is not fenced, and the animals are free to roan to and from the mainland.
How to arrange the activities
The boat tour is a must for bird lovers, and on the eastern shores of Lake Naivasha, close to Naivasha town, you’ll find some local companies that arrange it. For example, driving along Moi South Lake road, you’ll find the Hippo Safari Resort (the one we had the tour) or the Burch Resort where you can arrange your boat tour and the Crescent Island walk.
|Important notice from the official website: Crescent Island does not operate any boat tours. Be aware of the boat safaris and Lodges operating under the names: “Crescent Island Boat Safaris”, “Lake Naivasha Crescent Camp” and “Crescent View Safaris”. They are nothing to do with Crescent Island and are totally separate companies. If you wish to hire a boat ride from them (or other companies), ask to be taken to Crescent Island. Make sure you see the “Crescent Island” signboard, with their logo, at the landing point. Here, you’ll be greeted by one of their guides wearing an identity badge. Some boat operators on Lake Naivasha are charging customers for Crescent Island but taking them to private riparian land next to the Yacht Club that is NOT Crescent Island.|
Alternatively, you can book your Lake Naivasha trip/Crescent Island walk through the web platforms Viator and Get your Guide that always offers good deals and tours managed by local tour operators. The Lake is usually combined with Hell’s Gate National Park or Lake Nakuru National Park.
Only the Crescent Island walk
If you are not interested in the boat tour and you want to enjoy the only Crescent Island, go straight there by car and book your activities on site. The arrange walking safari and horse riding (remember that they don’t operate any boat tours).
Entrance fee and opening time
Fee: Non-resident: 30 USD; Student:20 USD; Children: 15 USD. Opening: 8.30 am – 6 pm.
|Important notice from the official website: payment for the Crescent Island walk is only made on arrival at the Island. Once there, they will give you the official Crescent Island receipt with their logo for the payment. Any boat operator selling an excursion including Crescent Island is doing so under false pretences.|
How to reach the Lake Naivasha
Lake Naivasha is a popular spot for a day trip or weekends away from the chaotic Nairobi. Two roads are connecting Nairobi and Naivasha; the A104 and the B3. The A104 is usually the starting route for many National Parks, that means most visitors will get their first glimpses of Kenya’s rural landscape as they drive along with it. If you want to get by boat, look for a local operator on the eastern shore of Naivasha lake (see above); by car, you have to drive along Moi South Lake road until you see the brown signpost “Sanctuary Farm”.
Where to sleep
There is no accommodation or camping on Crescent Island, but you’ll find a wide range of accommodation (from camping to lodge) along the Lake Naivasha eastern shore and in Naivasha Town. We slept at the lovely Hippo Safari Resort.