Mama Africa

Travel and Photography Blog

A boat ride on Lake Oloidien


Hippos in Lake Oloidien

Naivasha is famous for its lakes and for that reason we included in our itinerary a boat ride to see hippopotamus and birds. Since we were staying in front of Lake Naivasha and we could see it from the dock every day, we decided to look for an alternative for our boat ride. After doing some research on the internet we found that Lake Oloidien, a small lake of volcanic origin located next to Lake Naivasha, was an excellent option and we decided to visit it.

Both Lake Naivasha and Oloidien were once famous for its flocks with thousands of flamingoes. However, when we were there (August 2014) we didn’t see any. From what the local people told us, it seems that the lake’s water level rose and the flamingoes couldn’t live or feed there anymore. Where are they now, you might ask? Nobody knows for sure, some people told us that they are now living in northern Kenya, but others think that they’re in Tanzania. They might come back in the future, especially during certain seasons. We suggest you read reviews of other travelers before your trip just to be sure.


Lake Oloiden’s dock near Naivasha

Our 1-hour boat ride on Lake Oloidien was spectacular! We knew that there hadn’t been any sightings of flamingoes since several months back, so we weren’t at all disappointed. It is one of the lakes with most wildlife that we have ever seen. We saw thousands of birds, especially great cormorants. Some were flying, others inside their nests, and many others simply resting with their typical spread-wings posture. We also saw many hippos in three groups scattered around the lake. The boat came very close to them, so we took great pictures even though we were a bit scared because of their size and strength. Many hippos were lying on the shore, enjoying the sun, so we got to see their whole body and even a calf with its mother!


The lake is home of many great cormorants


You can get really close to the hippos in Lake Oloidien

Getting there

From the town of Naivasha or any other hotel on the lakeside, you can take a matatu to Oserian for 50 shillings. Once there, you must take a piki piki (motorbike) to the dock in the town of Kongoni. The scenery on the way to the lake is beautiful and we even saw a giraffe crossing the road, a group of baboons on the sidewalk and warthogs grazing. The cost for the motorbike was 200 shillings and it included the round trip from Oserian to Kongoni, the town where Lake Oloidien’s dock is found.

How much does it cost?

The boat ride costs 40 USD and it can take up to 6 people. You might have to bargain a little, as they initially ask for 50 USD.  You can get a better price if you pay in dollars instead of shillings.


Family of hippos on the shore of Lake Oloidien


  • If you’re looking for a good piki piki driver, then we suggest you get in contact with Kamao (mobile: 0707035449). He is very responsible and charges a reasonable price. He normally hangs out around Oserian and Kongoni.
  • Make sure that your boat has life jackets in good state.
  • If you think that you guide is being reckless with the birds or hippos, tell him to keep his distance. Remember that hippos cause more deaths that any other animal in Africa, right after malaria-infected mosquitoes.

Can you find the baby hippo?

Written by Stephany


One comment on “A boat ride on Lake Oloidien

  1. Gm
    July 21, 2016

    Hi, really love your review on different place you visit, am particularly interested in lake olodien, is it a good place to out on picnics and is there any entrance charges? Thanks prior.

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This entry was posted on October 17, 2014 by in Kenya and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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