Africa Overland Travel Advice

How to get from Nairobi to Lake Naivasha by bus

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Departing my guesthouse, I wanted to check out one of the best places to see near Nairobi which happened to be Lake Naivasha. Thing is, as I found out working as an Africa Overland Tour Leader buses and transport in general, is much different here to many parts of the world and essentially, this means it is more difficult. So, how does one figure out how to get from Nairobi to Lake Naivasha by bus? Do you need a day tour to Lake Naivasha from Nairobi? Not really and it’s simple, you read this post.

How to get to Naivasha from Nairobi Central

If you are wondering how to get to Lake Naivasha from Nairobi central, you firstly need to find Accra Road which is where the matatu’s (small Nissan buses) depart. My suggestion is that you should take a taxi from your hotel or guesthouse directly to this road with a driver who agrees to drop you at the exact departure point. If not, don’t worry – once you reach Accra Road in Nairobi, there will be a mob of ticket touts trying to get you on their particular bus. Again, don’t worry – embrace the madness and be lighthearted with the locals here as you will usually find they respond kindly if you do. A fare from Nairobi to Naivasha should not cost you more than 300-400ksh although if you have luggage that requires and extra seat, they may charge you more. Either way, I find these guys are most often honest and at worst, will charge you $1 extra for being dumb and stupid like me.

The bus will take you on the high road, up over the Great Rift Valley and past the viewpoints (They only stop to pick people up). When you reach the main junction and turn off for Naivasha town, it is possible that you may need to transfer to another matatu for a 5 minute trip into the centre as your bus could be going directly onward to Nakuru/Eldoret. Can I ask you not to worry again? The drivers helper will need no reminding where to get you off the bus and they will also pay the small fee to the other matatu onto which you transfer.

Drive time: 1 hour 45 minutes.

Wait time: 10 – 30 minutes.

Travelling from Karen to Lake Naivasha town

If you are wondering how to get from Karen to Lake Naivasha, you simply make your way to Karen Crossroads and next to the roundabout, you will see a muddy area with many matatu’s. These will take you as far as the stage (stop) for the Naivasha bus in Kikuyu. It will take you 20 minutes max to reach Kikuyu from Karen and you should not be waiting longer than 20 minutes for the onward bus to Naivasha town. The drivers/helpers etc will approach you and ensure you get on the right one – cost from this point, which is the middle of a motorway, is approx 300ksh.

Naivasha from Nairobi

Travelling from Naivasha town to the Lakeside

The bus depot on Navaisha town is very local and a little dirty, but safe. Pick up your bags walk out onto the main road and turn right. Then, approximately 100 metres own the road on the left hand side, you will see another busy bus depot with many more matatus. Go inside and pick the most friendliest tout (they will come to you), your fare to Carnelley’s, Fishermans Camp, Fish Eagle, Crayfish Camp or Crater Lake camp site are all on the same route and the fare is 100ksh.

Drive Time: 25 minutes

Wait time in the station: 10 – 30 minutes

Congratulations, you survived another episode of Africa Overland. It might sound a little inconvenient but there is only one real option travelling from Nairobi to Naivasha and actually, it is quite the adventure if you keep a positive attitude.

Check out the best place to stay in Lake Naivasha and my recommended things to do here.

Derek Cullen is an Irish Travel Blogger and an experienced overland tour leader in Africa. He is best known for cycling across Africa and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.


  1. Filip

    September 14, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    Wait time can be much longer than 30 minutes. It may be even 90 min.

    • Derek Cullen

      October 9, 2018 at 4:00 pm

      Welcome to Africa 😀

  2. Pingback: Escape Nairobi on a $16.85 Microadventure in Kenya - No Hanging Around

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