11 January 2010

Camp Carnelleys, Lake Naivasha, Kenya

Back in December, we took a mini-vacation to Kenya. Before meeting up with Mike's family in Nairobi we decided to spend a few days on our own in the Lake Naivasha area. We stayed at Camp Carnelleys, about five kilometers from Hell's Gate National Park.

Camp Carnelleys offers campsites and bandas. We decided to splurge for a banda rather than drag our camping stuff with us. For about $30 a night (midweek rate) we had a little stand-alone room with attached bathroom and patio with outdoor cooking area. We were hoping for cute little circular huts with thatched roofs, but the bandas were actually modified shipping containers with bus windows welded into the sides. It was cozy enough though. There was a wood-burning hot water heater for the shower and someone came by a couple times a day to make sure it was still going.

Camp Carnelleys is situated right on the lake, which was unfortunately low. In better conditions, boat trips can be taken from the camp's dock. There are dozens of bird species and we spent a good portion of our time watching birds from the restaurant and from our own patio. The restaurant, by the way, was great. We were pleasantly surprised. After a day of riding bicycles around Hell's Gate, it was nice to come back and relax with a drink and a delicious hot meal. The camp arranged for bicycle rentals for us. There are several camps along the road that share boat and bicycle rentals.

Lake Naivasha is a little more than an hour's drive from Nairobi. We hired a car but there are also busses you can take. We happen to be the only guests at the camp and while we felt bad that the owner didn't have more business, it was nice to have the grounds all to ourselves for wandering around and watching monkeys and birds. There are also several camp dogs, one of which was a little Jack Russell terrier who attached himself to me at meal times. (If you don't like animals, then Africa might not be for you.)

I wish I had photos to share, but I'm having camera-computer issues right now. I've been frustrated by this for weeks. I don't want to do my Hell's Gate post until I get this camera thing figured out, because we have some spectacular photos from the park.

All in all, we were happy with the casual, low-key atmosphere at Camp Carnelleys. There was plenty of wildlife fun and it was both off the beaten track yet easy to get to. 

*We were satisfied customers; I was not compensated in any way for this post.

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