Day 2 – 26 November 2019 in Kenya ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake in Kenya, outside the town of Naivasha in Nakuru County, which lies north west of Nairobi. It is part of the Great Rift Valley. The name derives from the local Maasai name Nai’posha, meaning “rough water” because of the sudden storms which can arise.

The lake is at the highest elevation of the Kenyan Rift valley at 1,884 metres in a complex geological combination of volcanic rocks and sedimentary deposits from a larger Pleistocene Era lake. Apart from transient streams, the lake is fed by the perennial Malewa and Gilgil rivers. There is no visible outlet, but since the lake water is relatively fresh it is assumed to have an underground outflow

The lake has a surface area of 139 square kilometres  and is surrounded by a swamp which covers an area of 64 square kilometres, but this can vary largely depending on rainfall. It is situated at an altitude of 1,884 metres. The lake has an average depth of 6 metres, with the deepest area being at Crescent Island, at a maximum depth of 30 metres.  Njorowa Gorge once formed the lake’s outlet, but it is now high above the lake and forms the entrance to Hell’s Gate National Park. The town of Naivasha (formerly East Nakuru) lies on the north-east edge of the lake.

The lake is home to a variety of types of wildlife including over 400 different species of bird and a sizable population of hippos. The fish community in the lake has been highly variable over time, influenced by changes in climate, fishing effort and the introduction of invasive species. The most recent shift in the fish population followed the accidental introduction of common carp in 2001. Nine years later, in 2010, common carp accounted for over 90% of the mass of fish caught in the lake.

There are two smaller lakes in the vicinity of Lake Naivasha: Lake Oloiden and Lake Sonachi (a green crater lake). The Crater Lake Game Sanctuary lies nearby, while the lake shore is known for its population of European immigrants and settlers.

A washout would be a good description of this day. It rained like hell for the first few days. Nevertheless, it as a good opportunity to tune into Africa and to get to know my fellow travellers. We would be spending an intense few months together. There were of course spells where it didn’t rain and I used these times to meander arount=d the campsite and see all the new wildlife, especially beautiful birds. A local hippo even dropped in to say hello…

Some hippos came to visit at night. Luckily, they kept their distance.

It was also a chance to try my new tent out. Normally, we share tents but I wanted my own space being an old curmudgeon who gets up several times in the night to pee and likes to fart noisily at every opportunity. I wouldn’t like to inflict this on any innocent soul; it might traumatise them for life.


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