Lake Naivasha with a surface of 139km2, is the largest freshwater lake along the Kenyan part of the Rift Valley, located at northwest of Nairobi, as the nearest lake to Nairobi attracts many residents and tourists, is home also of an important number of European immigrants. The name Naivasha derives from the local word 'Nai'posha' (rough water in Maa Language).
The main attraction of the lake is its bird life, over 400 different species have been reported, including Brimstone Canary, Grey-capped Warbler, Spectacled Weaver, Fish Eagles, Pied Kingfishers and Red-billed Fire-finch. From October to March the bird population is supplemented by palaearctic migrants. Boat trips are a popular way to explore the lake and also the wildlife sanctuary on Crescent Island, where bird-life is best observed. There are an important population of hippos, giraffes and Colobus monkeys too.
The fertile soils and fresh water supply have made this one of the major production area for fruit and vegetables in Kenya, however the unregulated use of lake water for irrigation is reducing the level of the water.
Between 1937 and 1950, the lake was used as a landing place for flying boats.
The southern side of the lake is surrounded by lodges and hotels. Joy Adamsom, of the Born Free fame, lived on the shores of the lake, her home, Elsamere, is now a small museum and conservation center.
Another nearby attractions are Hell's Gate National Park, Crater Lake Game Sanctuary and the smaller lakes Oloiden and Sonachi.
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