Lake Naivasha National Park – Lake Naivasha Ramsar site (the second site listed by Kenya as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention) lies on the floor of the Rift Valley, 80 km north-west of Nairobi, and consists of a shallow freshwater lake and fringing Acacia woodland. Naivasha’s water is supplied by the permanent Malewa and Gilgil, plus the seasonal Karati rivers which all drain the Aberdare Mountains along with substantial ground-water seepage. The lake has no surface outlet. Probably a combination of underground outflow and sedimentation of salts keeps the lake fresh, unlike other endorheic lakes in the eastern Rift Valley.
It is the highest of the Rift Valley Lakes at 1,880 m, the second largest freshwater lake and one of the only two freshwater lakes in Kenya.
The fascinating birdlife of over 350 species is a result of the availability of dense vegetation at the lake edge. Papyrus fringes the main lake’s shore and cloaks the inlets of the Gilgil and Malewa rivers. There are significant floating, wind-driven rafts of the exotic water-hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes, usually concentrated in the south-west sector. Submerged macrophytes sometimes occur in large beds, mainly in the shallow eastern part, but these vary greatly in extent. Naivasha is a fluctuating lake with recorded evidence results indicating a six metres fall between the years of 1926 it 1990’s.
Lake Naivasha National Park Bird Watching
The freshwater of Lake Naivasha holds a healthy fish population which attracts an astonishing number of water depending birds. Up to 30,600 waterfowl occur at this site.
The lake itself supports a diverse waterbird community, with more than eight species regularly recorded during censuses. Many species of duck and Palearctic waders occur in significant numbers; Palearctic ducks occur especially abundant in November and February. The lake is known for its high density of African Fish Eagles which nest in the surrounding Acacia woodland. Regionally threatened species include Podiceps cristatus, Oxyura maccoa, Anhinga rufa, Casmerodius albus, Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis, Thalassornis leuconotus, Porzana pusilla, Rynchops flavirostris, and the Phalacrocorax carbo. Globally threatened species include Grey-crested Helmeted-shrike, Basra Reed Warbler, Lesser Flamingo, along with large congregations of Red-knobbed Coot, African Spoonbill and Little Grebe.
Lake Naivasha National Park also has Hippopotamus and one Rift Valley endemic snake species among other wildlife.