Can the Lake Naivasha in Kenya be saved? This has been the big question of late. In fact, the lake’s users and water regulators convened at the Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge to hammer out a formula to protect one of Africa most important sites. This amid concerns that it is just a matter of time before it dries up for the third time, and maybe forever, taking with it billions of shillings in investments and the livelihoods of millions of people.
The lake is a popular vacation weekend pto shaft getaway for weary city dwellers. It was once part of a bigger lake that included Lakes Elmenteita and Lake Nakuru, but much of this original body of water dried up, leaving Lake with a 150 km2 freshwater lake. Subsequently, Lake Naivasha becomes known for its cool climate, peaceful surrounds and tranquil waters – an excellent holidaying spot.
During the colonial era of the early 20th century, the lakeshore was a popular location for parties. Today, the fertile soil around the lake is used for agriculture, in particular for the production of fruit, flowers, vegetables and vineyards, while the fish of the lake attract over 400 bird species. Wild animals that can be seen frequenting the shore are zebra, antelope, giraffes, monkeys and hippopotamus.
Between 1937 and 1950 this beautiful, peaceful fresh water lake was used as a landing place for plane passengers destined for Nairobi! The flying boat from London would land on the lake where the Lake Naivasha Country Club now stands, and travellers would board a bus for Nairobi. Today the lovely lake, with its cool climate, has become a retreat for Nairobi residents and tourists looking for peace.
Officials from the Kenya Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA) and the Naivasha Municipal Council and flower growers agreed there is an urgent need for them to engage the communities around the lake and far up its catchment areas to get its feeder rivers, which have since stopped flowing, back on course. Listening to the deliberations from the almost tearful speakers, the pain of losing Lake Naivasha becomes so real, the frustration obvious.
Unfortunately, neither the council nor WARMA has details on the lake’s water usage; though officials say the report is being complied and will be ready in a month. “Without the lake, there is no Naivasha. Without the lake, there are no flowers. Without the flowers, the people who live in the town will have to relocate,” said the mayor of Naivasha Municipal Council. The Lake Naivasha Growers Association, the Lake Naivasha Water Users Association, the Council and the government are burning the midnight oil to implement the Lake Naivasha Management Plan, which would provide water extraction, recover all riparian land and control usage. The plan, to be enforced by the Council, states how much water should be allocated to pastoralists, individuals, commercial users, irrigators and tourism.
Lake Naivasha Camping Safaris: camping safari is a throw back to the more traditional safaris in Kenya. Mobile camping safari involve being “on the move’, to have your tented camp move with you. Kenya camping safaris were undertaken by early explorers in East Africa and were led by professional a camping guide. This was East Africa safari way of exploring remote safari location by day and sleeping under camping canvas by night.