Lake Naivasha is a beautiful freshwater lake, fringed by thick papyrus. The lake is almost 13kms across, but its waters are shallow with an average depth of five metres.
Lake area varies greatly according to rainfall, with an average range between 114 and 991 sq kms. At the beginning of the 20th Century, Naivasha completely dried up and effectively disappeared. The resulting open land was farmed, until heavy rains a few years later caused the lake to return to existence, swallowing up the newly established estates.
Afternoon wind and storms can cause the Lake to become suddenly rough and produce high waves. For this reason, the local Maasai christened the lake Nai’posha meaning ‘rough water’.
The lake and its surroundings are rich in natural bounty, and the fertile soils and water supply have made this one of Kenya’s prime agricultural regions. Much of the lake is surrounded by forests of the yellow barked Acacia Xanthophlea, known as the yellow fever tree.
These forests abound with bird life, and Naivasha is known as a world class birding destination. The waters of the lake draw a great range of game to these shores. Giraffes wander among the acacia, Buffalo wallow in the swamps and Colobus monkeys call from the treetops while the Lakes large hippo population sleep the day out in the shallows.
Elmenteita is derived from the Masai word muteita, meaning “dust place”, a reference to the dryness and dustyness of the area, especially between January and March. The town of Gilgil is near the lake. In the south-to-north sequence of Rift Valley Lakes, Elmenteita is between Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru. The major Nairobi- Nakuru highway runs along the nearby escarpment affording motorists a spectacular vista towards the lake.Today the lake is a protected area due to its birdlife fame and also it has been named as one of the heritage sites together with the Lake Nakuru and Lake Bogoria by UNESCO.