For our weekend in Naivasha, Mark and I planned with friends to hike Mount Longonot and then spend the night at Camp Carnelly’s, an accommodation next to Lake Naivasha. We completed the hike after five long hours – it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but the views from the top of the dormant volcano were absolutely worth the climb.

Hiking Mt Longonot

After the hike was done, we drove down to Camp Carnelly’s, located about 30 minutes away from the Mount Longonot gate. Julie had chosen this place for its proximity to the lake and we were keeping our fingers crossed to see some hippos close to the property grounds.

Camp Carnelly’s, Naivasha

Camp Carnelly’s offers different accommodation options depending on your budget and preferences. There is a campsite where you can pitch your tent right next to the lake, traditional rustic cabins called ‘bandas’, cottages and shared dormitories. We chose to stay in one of bandas.

Camp Carnelly's Naivasha

I loved the rustic feel of our banda. It was simple, yet, delightful. It came with 3 beds (a large one and 2 small ones), an ensuite bathroom with a hot shower on the inside and outside, we had a nice seating area with a small private garden.

Our banda was also lake facing and as we walked back from dinner, we could hear hippos nearby. It was a fun little adventure to try to see them out of the water – behind the electric fence that surrounded the camp of course!

The next morning, we had breakfast at Camp Carnelly’s Lazybones Restaurant. It lived up to the many positive reviews we read online. Our dinner the previous night was also great, the portions were sizable and the price was quite fair.

After breakfast, we booked our boat ride on Lake Naivasha. The ride lasted an hour and it was both relaxing and educating. Lake Naivasha is a birder’s paradise and as we cruised on the lake, our guide pointed out different birds to us.

We also got to see some hippos in the water which was very exciting for me until the topic of hippopotamus attacks came up. At which point, I began to question my desire to see more of them. After all, I have seen my share of hippos in and out of water in the Serengeti and Masai Mara. Perhaps a 1-hour boat ride was too long?

Hippos in Lake Naivasha
Lake Naivasha Boat Ride

As our boat ride ended, we passed by properties that were completely submerged in water. Last year, this area experienced months of torrential rains, causing the lake the overflow its banks. It was quite sad and surreal to see the results of this flooding first hand.

After the boat ride, we packed our bags, checked out of the camp and we headed to Lake Naivasha Sawela Lodge to see if we could grab lunch by the lake. We weren’t able to do so there but it was lovely walking around the premises. We eventually settled for lunch at the Lake Naivasha Country Club. The food was average but the scenery was great.

And then it was time to head back to Nairobi. Our drive back was smooth with only a little traffic along the way. Hiking Mount Longonot and then spending some time in Lake Naivasha served as the perfect weekend getaway from Nairobi. I am certainly looking forward to visiting again.

I would love to hear from you! What are some of your favourite out-of-city destinations?

If you live in Lagos, I’ve shared a lot of mine on this blog. Just look through the ‘Nigeria’ category or search for ‘Lagos’ to find them. If you live in Nairobi, please share your recommendations for places to visit outside the city.

I love to hear from you, Leave a comment here!


  1. Beautiful scenery. Is there any place I can do fishing around lake naivasha

  2. Such stunning scenery. Seems like the perfect place to relax after that greuling hike haha! When i lived in Miami, i really liked driving out to Key West, and now in California, I enjoy drives to Santa Cruz or Napa Valley. Hoping to find more out of city gems to visit this year.

    • It really was the perfect place to relax. I certainly recommend a combined trip, rather than a day hike if time permits.

      Thanks for sharing your favourite out-of-city destinations. I visited Santa Cruz briefly during our visit to the US and loved it too and Napa Valley sounds wonderful. Looking forward to reading about the new places you discover…