Crater Naivasha Camp

Location: Crater Lake - Naivasha, the Great Rift Valley, Kenya

A luxury tented camp with superb views from ten secluded, yellow-acacia-shaded bandas, Crater Lake Camp lies at the foot of a mysterious green volcanic crater a few kilometres from Lake Naivasha.

Around the camp black and white colobus monkeys swing from the trees, walks lead off into the acacia forest and, if you scale the sides of the crater and sit on its rim, you can see all the way across the lake and towards the Mau Escarpment. Beautifully presented, the camp features luxurious furnishings and all the elegance of the colonial era. 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 can be seen. 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.

Lake Naivasha lies 89 kms north-west of Nairobi and can be reached by road within approximately 2 hours.

The Background
Formally known as Green Crater Lake, the camp is 17 kms beyond the main strip of Lake Naivasha. Now a formal game sanctuary if offers various driving and walking tracks, some of which encompass its jagged rim. The brilliant, jade lake is breathtaking and the local Maasai consider its deep alkaline waters good for sick cattle; they also believe it to be a sacred place.

Lake Naivasha
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.

History is everywhere at Crater Lake. The 10,000-acre game sanctuary houses the famous hilltop grave where Happy Valley's tragic heroine, Lady Diana Delamere, is buried with her last two husbands, Gilbert Colvile and Thomas Delamere. For the truly intrepid, there are the mysterious 'Caves of God' in the golden wheatfields of Ndabibi, reputed to be an inspiration for H. Rider Haggard's Allan Quartermain.

As the custodian of an important swath of African wilderness, Crater Lake strives to uphold the highest social and environmental standards. The Camp employs its staff from neighboring communities, and leases part of its game sanctuary for sustainable woodlots. A dedicated team of rangers working in close cooperation with the Kenya Wildlife Service strictly monitors the sanctuary itself. The camp recently established its own community development trust, the Crater Lake Action Network (CLAN), which is raising funds to fence the sanctuary as part of the wildlife corridor around Lake Naivasha.

There are ten spacious tents, each in its own secluded lakeside clearing with sweeping views. Each tent is furnished with a giant four-poster bed, the finest furniture and an ensuite bathroom with hot shower. The new 'honeymoon tent' offers a sumptuous bedroom and a deep sunken bath looking over the lake through a giant stained-glass window.

Dining and bars
All meals are served in the main mess tent; the camp prides itself on the high level of its cuisine.

Conference and event facilities
The camp can be taken in its entirety as a conference or wedding venue.

The camp welcomes children.

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.

Safaris to Lake Naivasha

3 Days Lake Nakuru & Lake Naivasha 

7 Days Maasai Mara, Lake Naivasha and Amboseli

8 Days Amboseli, Lake Naivasha, Sweetwaters, Lake Nakuru and Maasai Mara 

8 Days: Maasai Mara, Lake Naivasha, Amboseli, Tsavo East and West