Crater Lake Game Sanctuary - Situated off Moi South Lake Road in Naivasha
Crater Lake Game Sanctuary Naivasha is located 6 miles (10 km) from Naivasha town and about 56 miles (90 km) from Nairobi. This is a small private sanctuary centered around a small, saline-alkaline lake called Crater Lake (also called Sonachi) to the immediate west of Lake Naivasha and north of the village of Kongoni. The alkaline lake changes from blue to emerald green and back again with each passing hour, and is the nesting place for a myriad of birds – majestic fish eagles, busy weavers, cheeky robin chats, as well as ibis, kite, ducks, sunbirds, fire finches, and the tiny and colorful cordon bleu.
Animals include giraffes, eland, bushbuck, jackal, baboons, colobus and vervet monkeys, hyenas, warthog, hippos, dik-dik, kongoni, duiker, serval, aardvark, badgers or even leopard. Crater Lake Game Sanctuary accommodations include Crater Lake Lodge, The Cabins at Mazama Village, and Mazama Campground. Things to do at Crater Lake Game Sanctuary include Escorted game walks, Boating on the lake, Horse riding, Day & Night drives, Bird walks, Stargazing, Crater rim sundowners, Candlelit “lake dinners”, Historical tours, and Absolutely nothing.
Crater Lake Game Sanctuary is a green soda lake at the bottom of an extinct volcano on the western side of Lake Naivasha and north of the village of Kongoni, in Naivasha. Crater Lake Game Sanctuary is located 10 kilometers from Naivasha town and about 90 km from Nairobi.
This is a small private sanctuary is centered around a volcanic crater lake with spectacular green water. The tiny jade-green crater lake is held in high regard by the local Masai, who even believe its water helps soothe ailing cattle. The lake attracts many flamingos, and the surrounding forests and plains have plenty of game.
Like Hell’s Gate National Park, it is allowed to explore this Park on foot independently or with a local guide. The sanctuary is home to hundreds of species of birds and many mammals, large and small. While walking through the conservancy you can spot giraffes, impala, Thompson’s gazelle, giraffe, zebra, eland, baboon, and black and white colobus monkeys – just to name a few.
While walking, remember that buffaloes lurk in the woods. You can also take a short walk to the rim of the beautiful volcanic crater with views down to the emerald-green lake in the crater. Depending on the water levels of other Rift Valley lakes, there are sometimes large populations of flamingoes on the lake.
Crater Lake Game Sanctuary is a haven for birds with over 170 bird species recorded here. These include greater and lesser Flamingos, little Grebes, Cape Teal and Ruffs, great white Pelican, whiskered Tern, Marabou stork, grey and black-headed Heron, African Fish Eagle, Yellow-billed Storks, Pied Avocets, Egyptian Geese, etc.
Tucked away inside the extinct volcano is Crater Lake Camp which offers a truly unique experience to guests. This magical lakeside camp welcomes both day and overnight guests and is the perfect stopover en – route to Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara game parks, as well as a romantic getaway by itself!
Crater Lake camp offers safe & secure parking, conference facilities, laundry, game drives, guided Walks, hiking trails, and a campsite. Crater Lake Game Sanctuary is 10,000 acres and 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.
Crater Lake Game Sanctuary Naivasha activities include bird walks, stargazing, horse riding, night drives, historical tours, boating on Crater lake, escorted game walks, crater rim sundowners, candlelit “lake dinners” and relaxation.
Crater Lake Animals & Birds
Crater Lake is an extinct volcanic crater at Naivasha’s western end and is thickly wooded with yellow fever trees 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, bushbucks, 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, steinbocks, and elands). 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. Others include White-faced Whistling-Duck, Egyptian Goose, Yellow-billed Duck, Coqui Francolin, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Little Grebe, etc.
Wildlife highlights: hippos, black and white colobus, olive baboons, vervet monkeys, buffaloes, Masai giraffes, kongonis, impalas and gazelles. Water birds are a highlight and include African fish eagles, pied kingfishers, yellow-billed storks, flamingoes and waterfowl.
What to See and Do
Crater 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.
Elsamere Conservation Centre
Once the home of Joy Adamson of ‘Born Free’ fame, Elsamere Conservation Centre offers a wide range of education facilities while hippos graze on the lawns at night and black and white colobus swings from the yellow fever trees. There are 200 bird species on its grounds alone.
Crescent Island Conservancy
Crescent Island is a submerged volcanic crater and is a good place to view zebra, waterbuck, and gazelles. It is also home to the Naivasha Yacht Club. Boats can be hired at Elsamere, Fisherman’s Camp, and the Lake Naivasha Country Club.
Hell’s Gate National Park
Cleft deep into the floor of the Rift Valley, the towering cliffs and undulating grasslands of this relatively small park offer the only venue in Kenya where you can walk, or mountain bike, alongside herds of buffalo, zebra, eland, hartebeest, Thomson’s gazelle, and giraffe; unaccompanied by a KWS ranger.
A volcanic landscape of tortured basalt cliffs, circling raptors, winding water-gouged gorges, stark rock towers, scrub-clad volcanoes, sultry steaming vents, and belching plumes of geothermal steam, this park is pure theatre, and has provided the backdrop to many a Hollywood movie.
Mountain bikes can be hired at the gate, community guides offer tours of the dramatic gorge (where boiling water spouts from the rock), and professional climbers offer climbing lessons on the park’s two massive volcanic plugs.
Wildlife highlights: Eland, buffalo, lion, giraffe, zebra, leopard, impala, Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelle, klipspringer, hyrax, and mountain reedbuck. Birds: 103 recorded species.
Mount Longonot National Park
Immediate adjacent to Hells Gate National park lies Mount Longonot, the mightiest of the Rift Valley volcanoes, which towers some 2, 776 m above the floor of the Rift, and broods over Lake Naivasha. Climbing up takes around an hour, to tour the rim for 2-3 hours. Getting down is faster.
Crater Lake Game Sanctuary Activities
Crater Lake Bird watching:
Crater Lake offers special escapes for a wide variety of visitors. Bird-watchers will thrill (and trill!) the 170 species of birds that live in and around the crater.
The alkaline lake changes from blue to emerald green and back again with each passing hour, and is the nesting place for a myriad of birds – majestic fish eagles, busy weavers, cheeky robin chats, as well as ibis, kite, ducks, sunbirds, fire finches, and the tiny and colorful cordon bleu.
Day or game drives at night:
You could see giraffes, elands, bushbucks, jackals, baboons, colobus and vervet monkeys, hyenas, warthogs, hippos, dik-diks, kongoni, duiker, serval, aardvark, badgers or even leopard.
Escorted walking Safaris
Nature walks around the crater or across the plains.
Sundowners at Leopard Rock overlooking Crater Lake.
Visit Lake Naivasha
Visit Lake Naivasha town, or other local attractions such as the Elsamere Conservation Centre, Elmenteita Weavers, Campbell Clause Gallery, or the Cave of God.
Things to do at Crater Lake
• Bird walks
• Horse riding
• Night drives
• Historical tours
• Boating on the lake
• Escorted game walks
• Crater rim sundowners
• Candlelit “lake dinners”
Day Excursions from the Crater
• Fly camping on the crater floor
• Joy Adamson’s home at Elsamere
• Dinghy sailing on Lake Naivasha
• Black Bass fishing on Lake Naivasha
• Tea at the Edwardian manor of Lentolia
• Game drives in Hell’s Gate National Park
• Climbing and hiking on Mount Longonot
• 8-hole golf course at Great Rift Valley Lodge
• Lake Nakuru National Park “the world’s greatest Bird Spectacle”
2023 Crater Lake Game Sanctuary Naivasha Entrance Fees
Citizen/ Resident Rate Per Person Per Day
Non-Resident Rate Per Person Per Day
|Adult||500 Kenya Shillings||25 US Dollars|
|Child||300 Kenya Shillings||10 US Dollars|
* Child refers to persons from three years but below 11 years
* Resident refers to persons of other nationalities residing in Kenya with valid documentation from the Kenyan government
* Citizen – A native or inhabitant of East Africa Countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and SouthSudan) with valid identification documents or passport
* Daily – Fee paid for a single entry to a national park, national reserve, or sanctuary and which shall be valid for no longer than twenty-four hours