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On an island in Naivasha ahead of love festival

An entrance at the Hell's Gate in Naivasha where the Naivasha Green Love Festival event will be held
An entrance at the Hell's Gate in Naivasha where the Naivasha Green Love Festival event will be held. PHOTO | SAMUEL BAYA | NMG 

On a boat ride in Lake Naivasha, we stopped at a wildlife sanctuary in the middle of the waters, perhaps one of Kenya's best kept secret.

I was on a tour of the alluring island in Lake Naivasha ahead of the Green Love Festival weekend set to start on February 13.

Our journey started with an adventure at Lake Naivasha Sawela Lodge at around 10am. We took a boat ride from Sawela to Crescent Island Game Sanctuary. It is one of the most beautiful parks in Kenya. Surrounded by water, it is a peninsula accessible by boat as well as by road.

The boat ride took us 15 minutes from Sawela to the island which is home to hundreds of wild animals. The shores host abundant birdlife including pelicans, cormorants, and fish-eagles with their haunting cry. The island has the highest concentration of wild animals in a small space, making it attractive to filmmakers who have filmed herds of wildebeest, waterbuck, zebra, and gazelles.

We spotted several giraffes and a guide told us animals born on the island and migrate to the mainland later return to give birth at the same island.

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After about a half an hour stay at the island, we hopped onto another boat, but this ride was longer one, taking around 45 minutes from Crescent Island to Kamere Beach.

Kamere Beach is perfect for fish lovers. Here, if you have an appetite for fish, the hundreds of food kiosks that sell fresh dried, boiled, fried, or roasted fish, address you.

Peter Kimani, the chairman of the ‘Naivasha Green Love Festival’ and proprietor of Lake Naivasha Sawela Lodge says that there is much about the region that has not been sold to tourists.

“Naivasha is a place of transition, a staging area for safaris, is key to the Trans-Africa Highway and nearly one in four of the world’s cut flowers come from this region,” says Mr Kimani.

It has also played a key role in regional peace initiatives that established agreements such as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement ending the Second Sudanese Civil War, and the Kenyan Constitutional talks resulting in the Naivasha Accord, says Mr Kimani.

“Naivasha Love Festival will be a three-day event: Green Love, a sustainability conference on February 13; Red Love: Love in Paradise on February 14 and Love for Culture and Art on February 15,” he says.

Charity Githinji, a tourism expert and a technical adviser to the Nakuru county government on the Green Love Festival said the event will include a morning hike to Mt Longonot, a walk in Eburu Forest, a cycling race from Hells Gate, a boating competition at the lake and evening entertainment by the Koroga Festival.

“Hells Gate will be alive with cultural performances, floriculture exhibitions, and musical performances with the highlight of the day’s performances Diamond Platinumz and Mike Rua among others,” said Mark Kariuki of La Bell Inn Resort.

The event targets 15,000 to 20,000 people.

“This event will position the destination as the home of love in Africa,” says Mr Kimani.

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