Lake Naivasha - The Great Rift Valley, Kenya
The elegant Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort enjoys one of the most spectacular views in all of Africa; high on the shoulder of the Eburu Escarpment, overlooking the sparkling waters of Lake Naivasha and the sweeping floor of the Great Rift Valley. Looking out over the extinct volcano of Mount Longonot, the Aberdares and Mount Kenya, this relatively newly-built and ultra-elegant lodge also offers what is probably the most panoramic 6,580-yard, 18-hole championship golfcourse in the world.
Location Lake Naivasha lies 89 kms north-west of Nairobi and can be reached by road within approximately 2 hours.
Kenya hotels and accommodation Amongst the wide range of Kenya hotels, some make the ideal Kenya safari destination. Choose a safari lodge, safari hotel, bush camp, luxury lodge, safari camp, tented camp or bush lodge. National park accommodation usually takes the form of a traditional safari lodge or tented camp, but numerous other options exist on the park boundaries. Luxury lodges and luxury camp options are also offered in the private wildlife conservancies.
The Background A freshwater lake, the highest of the string of lakes that glitter down the vast trench of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha is infamous for its rapidly shifting moods. One minute serene and calm, the next it will be whipped by swirling winds, waves and shadowed by storm clouds - hence its name, which means ‘the place of rough water'. Enigmatic, and dotted with floating islands of Nile cabbage (water hyacinth) and papyrus, Lake Naivasha has no known outlet, and legends abound regarding the vast tunnels that supposedly run beneath its surface. Towered over by the brooding bulk of Mount Longonot (2,776 m), and featuring a submerged volcanic crater known as Crescent Island, this beautiful lake is best known for its high numbers of water birds. Also for the haunting cry of the fish eagles, which feed on the black bass and tilapia of its waters.
Accommodation The lodge offers 30 twin and double rooms; all are ensuite with private balconies, large four-poster beds and luxurious furnishings.
Dining and bars The central dining room and bar enjoy stunning views and the lodge prides itself on the quality of its 'fine dining' experience. There is also a clubhouse terrace and second bar with satellite TV.
Conference and event facilities The lodge has three conference rooms which will seat up to 58 guests.
Child-friendly The lodge welcomes children and can provide interlinking 'family suites'.
What to see and do The lake has a large population of hippos, which are regularly to be seen snorting and laughing in the shallow waters. At night, they troop out to feed on the lawns of the hotels and the lush grass of the riparian fringes. Vervet monkeys and olive baboons live in the woodland adjoining the south-western shore and the game corridors that run from nearby Hell's Gate NP allow buffaloes, kongonis antelopes and Masai giraffes to access the shores. As for birds, there are plenty of cormorants pelicans, herons, jacanas, long-toed plovers and weavers, while numerous warblers breed in the papyrus reed beds.
Crater Lake, an extinct volcanic crater at Naivasha's western end is thickly wooded with yellow fever tress in which troops of black and white colobus, vervet monkeys and olive baboons disport themselves A total of 38 mammal species have been recorded here; buffalos, warthogs, Defassa waterbucks, bush bucks, Thomson's gazelles and impalas can be seen by walking around the crater, while night game drives allow sightings of spring hares, Senegal galagos, common gents, white tailed mongooses and predators such as servals and bat-eared foxes. Antelopes shelter in the dense vegetation (Kirk's dik-dik, steinbucks and elands) while the vivid green water offer sanctuary for lesser flamingos, duck and grebes.
Once the home of Joy Adamson of ‘Born Free' fame, Elsamere Conservation Centre offers a wide range of education facilities while hippos graze on the lawns at night and black and white colobus swing from the yellow fever trees. There are 200 birds species in its grounds alone. Crescent Island, the exposed lip of a submerged volcanic crater, is a good place to view zebra, waterbuck and gazelles. It is also home to the Naivasha Yacht Club. Boats can be hired at Elsamere, Fisherman's Camp and the Lake Naivasha Country Club.
Wildlife highlights: hippos, black and white colobus, olive baboons, vervet monkeys, buffaloes, Masai giraffes, kongonis, impalas and gazelles. Water birds are a highlight and include African fish eagles, pied kingfishers, yellow-billed storks, flamingoes and waterfowl.
Hell's Gate National Park-A volcanic theatre Cleft deep into the floor of the Rift Valley, the towering cliffs and undulating grasslands of this relatively small park offer the only venue in Kenya where you can walk, or mountain bike, alongside herds of buffalo, zebra, eland, hartebeest, Thomson's gazelle and giraffe; unaccompanied by a KWS ranger. A volcanic landscape of tortured basalt cliffs, circling raptors, winding water-gouged gorges, stark rock towers, scrub-clad volcanoes, sultry steaming vents, and belching plumes of geothermal steam, this park is pure theatre, and has provided the backdrop to many a Hollywood movie. Mountain bikes can be hired at the gate, community guides offer tours of the dramatic gorge (where boiling water spouts from the rock), and professional climbers offer climbing lessons on the parks two massive volcanic plugs.
Wildlife highlights: Eland, buffalo, lion, giraffe, zebra, leopard, impala, Grant's and Thomson's gazelle, klipspringer, hyrax and mountain reedbuck. Birds: 103 recorded species.
Mount Longonot National Park-A sleeping giant born of fire Immediate adjacent to Hells Gate NP lies Mount Longonot, the mightiest of the Rift Valley volcanoes, which towers some 2, 776 m above the floor of the Rift, and broods over Lake Naivasha. Climbing up takes around an hour, to tour the rim 2-3 hours. Getting down is faster.
Facilities The lodge offers an 18-hole championship golf course, a driving range, two clay tennis courts, a free form swimming pool, tropical gardens, gift shop and business centre.
Activities Game and bird walks with experienced naturalists Boating, sailing and bass fishing on Lake Naivasha Horse riding and mountain biking in the grounds Day trips to Hell's Gate and Kenya's 'Great Lakes' Adventurers' safaris, treasure hunts, educational games Bush breakfasts or sundowners
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