A weekend getaway after a hectic work week to Naivasha has been one of the most popular plans amongst young travelers from Nairobi and other towns in Kenya.
For a long time, I kept resisting the Naivasha bug, but the defiance did not last long. I have since visited Naivasha more than ten times in less than two years. Everytime I get there, I discover new stuff that I never knew existed.
In one of my visits, I had the pleasure of joining Orange Adventures for an organized trip. This was the first time I went to Naivasha with a tour company.All my other instances have been on solo trips or with a few friends and yours truly got to plan the logistics.
I was flattered by the idea of sitting pretty and having everything organized.
There were a few delays that morning as we waited for every one to get to the meeting point and when everyone else got there and we were ready to leave, there was a bit of drama with Kenya police as one of the organizers was charged for double parking you don’t want to hear the end of it. Despite the bumpy start, my spirits were not dampened.
As a solo traveler, trying out group travel with new people can be a bit of a challenge especially if the other guys know each other. Not to mention when everyone else is a couple!(Well I am exaggerating for effect) Can you imagine it was a Valentines getaway?I was totally unaware… Exit Bonita on Safari,enter Bonita the third wheeler… I wanted to turn back at this point but well, it was a bit too late.
We got to Naivasha slighlty after an hour and a half, made a quick stop at Buffalo mall then headed straight to Crater Lake Game Sanctuary, where we were to go for a two hour hike round the crater, have lunch while at it,then head back to Cray Fish Camp where we were to spend the night.
Surprisingly enough, the group wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be.
I had underestimated the hike but it got me breaking a bit of sweat.
Crater lake is a green volcanic lake at the bottom of an old volcanic crater inside the game sanctuary. Occassionally, a flamboyance of flamingoes can be seen on the shallow ends of the lake, stubborn monkeys, warthogs , zebras and graceful giraffes on the other bushy sides.
The two hour hike was so picturesque, it felt like walking in a virtual world, floating in the clouds above and having an aerial view of the Lake.
We stopped to have lunch at one of the highest point of the crater where one is able to see Lake Naivasha and Lake Oloiden. Geographical history has it that all the three lakes was one big lake before a volcanic eruption that ended up splitting them.
The route back to the reception was through Crater Lake Lodge, a cosy,lake-facing, romantic getaway that immediately debunks a not so promising picture originally painted by a floating restaurant that looked like it could use a make over and an underwhelming small swimming pool at a corner.
When I checked out the tented camps… I was pleasantly surprised.
From Crater Lake lodge, we went straight to Crayfish Camp.
I had never camped at Crayfish until that day. It was all fun and games until it dawned to me that I was going to spend a long night inside a tent in the cold Naivasha night. I showered, overdressed and immediately after the early dinner, I decided to sleep early to keep my space warm.However that was a mission in futility. I woke up at 10:00pm to warm myself in the bonfire because the shivering! I felt my intestines shrink and my organs quivering.
One by one, everyone else went to sleep and I was left there seriously trying to keep myself warm. The sky was clear and the moon shone so bright. An occasional puffing of the hippos from Lake Naivasha that was a stone throw away to the rustling of dry leaves as the night guard did his routine security checks kept me awake. I repeat, I don’t like camping.
A few minutes to 5:00am, I left the fire place and went to sleep inside the van. The warmth in the car was the best thing that happened to me that weekend. Smokeless warmth.
I thought I’d wake up early that morning to catch sunrise but well, lets just say I was so fatigued.
The next morning was so bright and sunny. Everyone else was up, half of the guys had gone to swim, some of them were having breakfast, other were folding up their tents, and a general good vibe in the air could be felt. I walked down the lake hoping to see a few hippos but I captured more than I bargained for!
I guess Naivasha’s never ending to-do list ranks it highly compared to other touristy destinations in the country.
We wound up the trip on that Lazy Sunday afternoon…
NB: Please share with me your camping hacks! I want to be a cool kid too.