Published on August 2nd, 2022

Naivasha is one of my favourite destinations in Kenya. The town’s proximity to Nairobi and the presence of incredible wildlife are some of the things I love the most about this place. And so, when we had the pleasure of hosting Mark’s brother for his return trip to Kenya, we opted to spend some time on Crescent Island, located right on Lake Naivasha.

How to get to Crescent Island, Naivasha

We arrived in Naivasha after a short two-hour drive from Nairobi. Following the directions of the Airbnb host, we found the onshore entrance to the island and parked the car there. While Crescent Island used to be accessible both via a narrow road from Sanctuary Farm and the lake, during our visit, driving onto the island was not possible.

Boat Ride to Crescent Island

Boat Ride to Crescent Island

Instead, we loaded all our luggage onto a boat and took a short 10-minute ride to the island. Although we didn’t opt for this, the boat ride to Crescent Island can often be paired with a tour of the lake. Animal and bird sightings are possible during the ride and visitors have a chance to see hippos in the water as well as some of the animals on the island.

The cost for a one-way boat ride was Ksh1,500, which we paid directly to the property’s staff. This is not a per-person fee, but rather the cost for the entire boat ride. This cost also does not include the entrance fee to Crescent Island for day visitors and if you stay overnight, it should be paid to the staff there, and not the boat operator.

Crescent Island Naivasha Accommodation | Crescent Island Airbnb

We stayed at the Fish Eagle Cottage, one of three accommodation options available on the island. The cottage is a rustic self-catering 2-bedroom apartment, with the facilities to sleep 6 people. We found it to be quite cosy and well suited for all our needs for the weekend.

Crescent Island Airbnb

Sleeping over also allowed us to explore the game sanctuary early in the mornings and later in the evenings, when the weather was more favourable and without the presence of day visitors – not that there were many, to begin with. But it felt great to have the sanctuary all to ourselves for most of our time there.

Crescent Island Activities and What to Expect

Once we got settled in, we took a stroll around the island in the evening. Apart from spending time relaxing at the lodge, this was the only activity we indulged in. But for guests looking for more things to do, boat rides on Lake Naivasha, fishing trips and night game drives are available activities.

Just based on my personal preferences, I would recommend skipping the night game drives as I don’t think there’s much value to gain from going on the trip. I believe that the 2-hour+ walking safari during daylight is the best way to see the animals on the island.

Animals on Crescent Island

The walks on the island allowed us to get up close with the resident wildlife including, 6 giraffes, several zebras, gazelles, wildebeests, hippos, waterbucks, among others, and a large variety of birds.

On our first evening, just as we were about to head back to the lodge after our walk, a guard invited us to a viewpoint, where we saw hippos out of the water, eating corn cobs the staff had laid out for them. It felt incredible to see them so close and out of the water. These guys are massive and of course, very dangerous.

We stayed behind the safety of an electric fence and observed them for a few hours before heading back to the lodge.

Hippo out of water Amboseli
A hippo in Amboseli National Park - often portrayed in cartoons as a friendly creature, these animals are the world's deadliest large land mammals!

Our stay on Crescent Island was memorable and enjoyable, I am so glad we got to experience the island in the best way possible and grateful for the opportunity to share that experience with family.

Finally, to wrap up this post, here are some helpful notes about visiting the island…

Crescent Island Naivasha Entry Fees and Opening Hours

Crescent Island operates between 8:30 am and 5:30 pm for day visitors. Kenyan Adult Residents pay Ksh1000 to gain entry, while children pay Ksh500. Adult citizens and children pay Ksh800 and Sh400 respectively. For Non-Residents, the fee is $30 for adults and $15 for children. You can find updated information on park fees here.

Some Tips for an Enjoyable Trip…

  • Consider the option of staying overnight on the island. This way, you can fully enjoy all that the Game Sanctuary has to offer at favourable times of the day
  • Be aware that the mid-day heat can be brutal. Remember to put on sunscreen, and pack a hat or an umbrella
  • You can combine your visit to Crescent Island with other attractions, including Lake Nakuru, Sanctuary Farm, Mount Longonot, and Hells Gate National Park.
  • Guides are available on a first-come-first-serve basis but I think you can enjoy walking around the island on your own.
  • There are no predators on the island (although a guide mentioned that pythons were introduced to keep down the gazette population). I have also read that there are occasional sightings of hyenas who come to hunt at night but I don’t know how true this is.
  • Note that the experience on Crescent Island is not the same as what you’d have in places like the Masai Mara, Amboseli or any other National Park in Kenya. It is one of the few places where you can come near wildlife on foot and that is what makes it unique.
Crescent Island Animals

Do let me know if you have any questions about visiting and staying on Crescent Island. If you have been there before, I would also love to hear about your trip!

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