Are you wondering how to get from Nairobi to Lake Naivasha by bus?
Let me help you.
In the five years that I have spent backpacking Africa, Lake Naivasha is the one place to which I always return. I was put off by the process of making my own way to the lake but this is actually a straightforward trip and it doesn’t take long either. The locals are also friendly up around here and they will do anything to help you out. Sharing a matatu with the locals is also fun!
Quick Answer: Taking a Bus from Nairobi to Lake Naivasha
Take a bus from Nairobi to Naivasha Town. Then take another matatu from Naivasha town to Lake Naivasha.
How to get to from Nairobi to Lake Naivasha
Step 1 – Take a Bus from City Centre Nairobi to Naivasha Town
You need to get to the city centre before you can travel from Nairobi to Lake Naivasha. Find Accra Road on a map because this is where the matatu’s (small Nissan buses) depart for various destinations in rural Kenya. I suggest you might take a taxi from your hotel or guesthouse directly to this road and ensure the driver agrees to drop you at the exact departure point.
If you don’t do this, once you reach Accra Road in Nairobi, there will be a mob of ticket touts trying to get you on a bus to somewhere else! But don’t worry – embrace the madness and be lighthearted with the locals here as you will usually find they respond kindly if you do.
Cost of Bus from Nairobi to Lake Naivasha
A fare from Nairobi to Naivasha should not cost you more than 300-400ksh. Although if you have large luggage that requires an extra seat, they may charge you more. I find these guys are most often honest and at worst, will charge you $1 extra for being a little dumb like myself.
About the Bus Route to Lake Naivasha
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. There is always a conductor/helper on board and they usually need no reminder of where to get you off the bus. They might also pay a small fee to another other matatu just outside town which will then take you the rest of the way into Naivasha Town. Just go with it – this is standard procedure!
Tip: Tell the conductor when you get on board that you want to get off in Naivasha Town.
Drive time: 1 hour 45 minutes.
Wait time: 10 – 30 minutes.
PS. Are you wondering where to stay in Lake Naivasha?
Travelling from Karen to Lake Naivasha town
You might be wondering how to get from Karen to Lake Naivasha. Easy. Make your way to Karen Crossroads and next to the roundabout, you will see a muddy area with many matatu’s. Most of these matatu’s will take you as far as the stage (bus stop) at Kikuyu where you can board the bus for Naivasha. This is the same bus that leaves the City Centre – it just saves you a trip into town. It will take you 20 minutes 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/conductors will approach you at the stage and ensure you get on the right one. Price: approx 300ksh.
Step 2 – Take a Bus from Naivasha town to Lake Naivasha
The bus depot in Navaisha town is very local and a little dirty, but safe. Pick up your bags walk, out onto the main road and turn right. Approximately 100 metres down the road on the left hand side, you will see another busy bus depot with many more matatus. Go inside and pick a friendly tout (they will come to you). The fare is approx 100ksh and this bus can drop you off pretty much anywhere along the lake include all the accommodation mention in this post.
Drive Time: 25 minutes
Wait time in the station: 10 – 30 minutes
Congratulations, you survived the journey. The trip is pretty straight forward with the above direction. Lake Naivasha is one of my favourite places in Kenya and I highly recommend taking a trip to Elsamere during your stay – Enjoy !