Circling Lake Victoria, the Great Rift Valley is where the African continent is slowly splitting apart, which has caused the formation of some very beautiful lakes. The deepest area of the rift in Kenya is just north of Nairobi where you can enjoy fantastic scenery, wildlife, and culture. We will provide some recommendations below in our list of the top things to do in the Great Rift Valley. These attractions can be visited from the Loldia House, which is a great option before your visit to Kenya’s Masai Mara.
Lake Nakuru is possibly the most popular lake in the Great Rift Valley region, mainly because of the abundance of bright pink flamingos, incredible scenery, and a population of rhino. The lake is just a two-hour drive from Nairobi and you can tour the lake on stays at Loldia House.
After an early breakfast at the Loldia House, we will set off to the Great Rift Valley and to one of Kenya’s smallest yet most attractive national parks. Established in 1961, the lake is protected within the Lake Nakuru National Park, which also includes some surrounding savanna habitat. The area is home to warthogs, baboons, hippos, and of course the rhinos. However, it’s the flamingos that often steal the show.
The name ‘Nakuru’ means ‘dusty place’ in the local Maasai language and from the Loldia House you can enjoy game viewing around the park in a 4X4 vehicle followed by a delicious picnic lunch. On this tour, some lucky visitors have even seen the tree-climbing lions and there are about 50 individuals living within the park.
After your tour of Lake Nakuru, We will return to the house for afternoon tea and delicious cakes on the lawn overlooking Lake Naivasha.
A travel blogger who visited Lake Nakuru is Jules from Solowayfarer.com.
Hells Gate National Park
The Hell’s Gate National Park is known for its steam geysers and geology, which provide some fantastic photography opportunities. There are some fantastic wildlife opportunities within the park and it’s well known among the birding community as a great place to spot many different birds of prey, such as the different raptors. At the bottom of the gorge, you can enjoy the welcoming hot springs. To help explore the park, you will be accompanied by a naturalist guide on tours from the Loldia House.
The park was named after a narrow passage in the cliffs, which itself is a fascinating area. The waterway which once flowed here used to provide for early humans in the Rift Valley. The park is located just south of the beautiful Lake Naivasha and we will mention this a little later.
Hell’s Gate National Park has some spectacular scenery and you can enjoy various activities, such as mountain biking, rock climbing, and visiting the natural hot pools. The cliffs surrounding the park provide a great backdrop to the wildlife. Although living in the park, larger predators are rarely seen but you can see herds of zebra, antelope, and gazelles. Some visitors do get lucky and manage to see lions, leopards, and cheetah.
The park is also a great place for birding and you can spot 100 different species, including a few rare birds like the bearded vulture, as the park is one of the bird’s last strongholds.
Within the park boundaries, you can also find the Olkaria Geothermal Plant, which can provide half of Kenya’s power needs by sustainable energy. The plant causes minimal disturbance to the environment and saves the country investing in more environmentally harmful energy.
Some travel bloggers who visited Hell’s Gate National Park are Deepa & Jayanta from Wheelsonourfeet.com.
Lake Naivasha is a little way northwest of Nairobi and is the highest lake in the Great Rift Valley. You can spot many of the 400 different birds in the region and enjoy guided tours from the Loldia House, which sits at the lake edge. The Loldia House has its own resident ornithologist to help you identify many different birds.
On lake cruises, you can enjoy spotting pelicans, cormorants, kingfishers, herons, and eagles. The other birds you can see include bee-eaters, jacanas, storks, and egrets. You will then see the millions of flamingos around the lake.
In addition to the birds, you can enjoy seeing hippos in the water and hopefully some other animals. The lake itself is very large and you can’t even see the other side when standing at the water’s edge. Keeping the tradition of naming the lake to describe the area, the name Naivasha is from the Maasai word for rough water, as the area is known for sudden storms.
As well as a fascinating area for tourists, this is an economically important place for Kenya because of the horticulture and floriculture businesses that rely on the lake. There is currently a debate to balance these industries with lake wildlife and different conservation groups are helping to protect the lake species.
Some travel bloggers who visited Lake Naivasha are Deepa & Jayanta from Wheelsonourfeet.com.
The Loldia House sits in a private farm of 6,500 acres at Lake Naivasha and it makes a fantastic place to explore the Great Rift Valley region. Not only a great place to head out and explore the other attractions, such as touring the different lakes, visiting Hell’s Gate National Park, you will also enjoy wildlife safaris around the farm.
The ranch around the Loldia House is home to interesting wildlife. Enjoy day and night safaris to see hippos, aardvarks, mongoose, bat eared foxes, spring hares, nightjars and eagle owls. The night safaris last around one hour and start at 7pm to have you back by dinner.
Enjoy a range of accommodation options at Loldia. Choose from different cottages on the grounds or an old family house. The main house is styled like the mansion of early settlers and contains four en-suite double rooms. The different cottages that dot the grounds are then surrounded by flower gardens or sit on the lake shore, and one, in particular, is ideal for honeymooners. The view from the house is of the surroundings, including a dormant volcano named Mount Longonot, which the more adventurous and active can hike.
Not only providing a great experience of the Rift Valley, the Loldia House has its own airstrip to the Masai Mara where you can enjoy some incredible safari experiences to see elephants, lions, and rhino at some fantastic safari camps.
Lake Bogoria is a natural salt lake in Kenya’s volcanic region and is just a little bit south of the Great Rift Valley. The lake is one of the major lakes to see flamingos. To protect their habitat, the lake was turned into the Lake Bogoria National Reserve. The reserve now protects one of the largest number of lesser flamingos worldwide.
The surrounding area is well known for its hot springs and geysers, which can reach 5 meters high and are popular with visitors. In one location around the lake, you can find 10 in the same area making it Africa’s highest concentration of true geysers.
The scenery around the lake is beautiful and you can enjoy the reflections of the Laikipia escarpment. In addition to flamingos, the lake is also a great place to see kudu, which are a large and majestic antelope.
A travel blogger who visited Lake Bogoria is Kirsten from Kirstennaturetravel.com
From Loldia House, you can also enjoy a walk and picnic lunch on the picturesque Crescent Island, which contains the Crescent Island Game Park. The island is located on Lake Naivasha and is often regarded as Naivasha’s best kept secret as many visitors simply visit the lake edge.
Crescent island is a private area protected by the guides who patrol the park. Guides can accompany anyone wanting a guided walk to see some of the best areas and to identify different animals and plants. You can see the hippos grazing all around the island at night and then resting by the acacia during daylight hours.
The birds you can see on Crescent Island tours include cormorants, pelicans, and fish-eagles. The call of these birds is unique and often described as a haunting cry. The park also contains a number of zebra, gazelle, giraffe, and wildebeest. The lack of fencing means animals from the mainland can visit and leave as they please, which is important as wildlife on the mainland continue to lose habitat to development.
The hill on the island provides fantastic views of Lake Naivasha and out to Hell’s Gate National Park and the Mau Escarpement. Many guests say their favorite time on the island is walking the area just before sunset.
Some travel bloggers who visited Crescent island are Camille & Mark from 365traveldates.com.
Located near Lake Naivasha is the small Crater Lake, which is home to its own wildlife including a resident troop of colobus monkeys. The lake is surrounded with acacia trees and although small, the sanctuary has different trails. Over 150 birds have been found in the area.
As well as the birds, you can see different animals around the lake, such as zebra, giraffe, caracals, aardvarks and even the occasional leopard. The lake itself is jade colored and regarded highly by the local Maasai who use the water to treat their cattle.
You can enjoy visiting the lake from the Loldia House or stay at a camp near the lake to enjoy night walks to see nocturnal wildlife.
Some travel bloggers who visited Crater Lake are Stephany & Daniel from mamaafricatravelblog.wordpress.com.
From the Loldia House, you can enjoy visits to the Loldia School as the house together with some dedicated guests have formed the Loldia School Fund, a charity registered in the UK. The Loldia House and guests have then worked hard to improve the school for the local children and this is now one of the area’s best after having to be completely rebuilt.
Students from the school have gone on to attend university and the school functions to offer adult literacy classes and also works as a kindergarten. The school provides an avenue out of poverty for many of the children living in this impoverished area of Kenya. If you would like you make a donation to the school fund, you can do so through the Loldia House.
Visit the Joy Adamson Museum
The Joy Adamson museum details her life and work where and you can see the resident colobus monkeys, enjoy a tea and see a video about Joy. Joy Adamson was the author of the acclaimed book Born Free, which details her experience raising a lion cub named Elsa. Elsa was the first cub raised in captivity and then successfully released into the wild. Joy and her husband spent many months intensively training Elsa how to hunt and fend for herself.
As testament to her success, Elsa was not only the first successful released captive lion, but also the first released lion to have her own cubs. Joy and her husband kept their distance and approached only to photograph and document her progress. Joy’s book became a bestseller and was turned into the highly acclaimed movie with the same title, which was later continued with the book and movie Living Free about Elsa as a mother to her cubs.
Visit to Flower Farm
From Loldia House, you can take a visit to a flower farm for a guided walk through the different greenhouses seeing how the flowers are grown and prepared. Often, this is the activity of choice for visitors to the Loldia House in the morning before their departure to the Masai Mara, where you will begin your fantastic experience of Kenya’s savannah. The region is home to one of the world’s largest flower industries where roses and other cut flowers are sent to Europe for sale. Because of the economic and social importance of the flower industry combined with the incredible wildlife, conservationists are working to help balance the activities with conserving the lake and its wildlife.