Visiting Oloiden camp was one of my ultimate highlights during my 4 months spent in Kenya. There’s something magical about being surrounded by wildlife, and I mean surrounded. Driving down dusty roads on the way to Oloiden Camp, near the beautiful lake Naivasha I spotted a giraffe just casually wandering down the road. Its long neck swayed happily as the scorching sun beat down on top of its little yellow head.
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Where is Oloiden Campsite Naivasha
Pulling up at the campsite, I wandered down to the small lake, just the other side of a flimsy metal fence from where I would be camping that evening. Four large great figures were sunbathing just on the water edge. Hippos! It’s in a casual way that these creatures appear from the landscape as if by magic.
They are unfazed about your presence, happy to go about their business as if you didn’t exist. As I watched these hippos, I was mesmerised by my close encounter with ‘Africa’s deadliest animal.’ At this moment I thought to myself “this is a chance to experience Kenya’s wild side!”
Oloiden Campsite is located in Nakuru County in Kenya. Located halfway between Kenya’s capital city Nairobi, and Nakuru Town, the campsite is close to lake Naivasha and Naivasha town.
How to get to Oloiden Camp in Naivasha, Kenya
To get to Oloiden camp, I recommend getting a Matatu – which is a form of public transport in Kenya which is kind of like a bus and minibus merged into one. This is how most people travel in Kenya. Although it may not be the most comfortable, it’s affordable and other than hiring your own car, is the easiest way to get around in Kenya.
Getting to Oloiden Camp from Nairobi
From Nairobi, you can get a matatu to Naivasha town, which takes about an hour and a half. It will cost you around £4 so is an affordable way to travel around the country. From Naivasha town, you can hire a Matatu to take you to Oloiden camp, close to the nearby town of Kongoni.
Getting to Oloiden Camp from Nakuru
Similarly, if you are travelling from Nakuru, you can hop on a matatu to Naivasha, which will take around an hour and a half and cost around £2. Again you can find a matatu there and negotiate a fee with them to take you to the campsite.
What to expect at Oloiden Camp
Oloiden camp has everything you need and more for a comfortable stay in the heart of Kenya. I stayed at the campsite for a long weekend during a four-month volunteering trip in Kenya. As part of our project, our team which considered both UK and Kenyan volunteers had to plan a group trip somewhere on a set budget. We chose Oloiden Camp for many reasons, one of which was the great facilities.
Facilities at Oloiden Camp
If you don’t have your own tent, you can hire them from the campsite. There are a variety of tents on offer, from small 2-man tents to huge safari tents that can fit a large group of campers inside.
So safe and sound in the knowledge that we had a giant safari tent to keep us snug and the mozzies at bay, what other little luxuries were on offer at the campsite?
There were flushing toilets and hot showers, two luxuries that should never be overlooked when travelling around Kenya as these can not always be guaranteed. I loved that the showers were in a little block outdoors, so whilst you showered you could appreciate that ‘wild’ feel of watching the trees rustling in the wind.
Food at Oloiden Camp
To further blow the trumpet for Oloiden campsite, and something very much appreciated by all of us campers was the onsite restaurant and bar, with its little outdoor veranda. Now I kid you not when I saw there was wood-fired pizza on the menu, I squealed with joy. I think during our stay, we all caved and tasted the delights of freshly baked pizza. We Parted quite happily with our shilling for that sweet sweet taste of melted cheese. (side note -at this point, it had been a very long time since I had eaten any western food, and although I love Kenyan food, it was nice to have a taste of home.)
Bonfires and evening entertainment
Another cool thing that Oloiden Camp offers is a free bonfire for campers, and firewood is available on request. There is no better way to end a day camping than with a bonfire! Everyone at the campsite was super friendly, so we ended up. chatting to and having drinks with lots of other campers – mostly all from Kenya away to enjoy their weekend. I remember vaguely one of my team telling me one of these locals turned out to be a Kenyan pop star. How true this is, I do not know. And I am not sure why I wasn’t more intrigued at the time. But there is a chance I was sitting by a campfire drinking with a famous singer from Kenya. One of life’s random moments I guess.
Oloiden Campsite Prices
The prices to camp at Oloiden Campsite are reasonable. For 3500 Kes, about £25, you can get a double tent for two people with a mattress all set up and waiting for your arrival. This is great if you’re arriving in Kenya without any camping equipment, or have weight restrictions on luggage.
Things to do near Oloiden Camp
As much as I adore Lake Oloiden campsite itself, the fact that there are so many amazing things to do nearby really does make staying here an experience any adventure seeker should add to their list. I will give you a rundown of some of my favourites.
Boat ride on hippo-filled Lake Oloiden
Without even having to leave the campsite, the first amazing adventurous activity awaits. Just hop over the metal fence and onto the shore of lake Oloiden, and you can rent a boat with a driver. Get ready to be taken on a hippo spotting foray across the river. Oh, the fun I had zooming around the lake, trying to spot as many hippos as I could. How many were under there, lurking in the murky depths? That I will never know. But rest assured you will have an awesome time spotting these huge critters, doing their thing. And like me, I’m sure you’ll be surprised at just how fast these guys can swim. You can get a one-hour boat ride here for around $40.
Check out this post on Mama Africa to find out more about this boat ride.
Swim and relax at Kongoni Lodge
This was hands down the most relaxing day I had during my entire 4-month trip in Kenya. Oh, Kongoni lodge, how I loved you and wish to be back in your perfectly refreshing swimming pool once more. Kongoni Lodge is a beautiful place to stay in its own right. But, If you are on a budget, you can pay to use the lodge’s facilities without having to splash out funds on a room. Chances are you will certainly be tempted to, although rooms start at around £90 per night.)
As a guest at Lake Oloiden Campsite, you can pay 300Ksh, about £2, to come and use the pool for the day. There is also an onsite restaurant so during your day by the pool, I highly recommend ordering some food and drink here.
To find out more about Kongoni lodge, visit their website here.
Explore Hells Gate National Park
You cannot visit Naivashia without exploring Hells Gate National Park. You would be missing out on such an incredible experience. I’m saying this because my visit to Hells Gate was probably one of my highlights during my months in Kenya.
There’s something very special about this national park. I think it’s a mixture of seeing the incredible wildlife you expect to encounter in Kenya, but with a dramatic backdrop of gorges and cliffs, a side effect of the geothermal activity in the area due to its location in the Great Rift Valley.
For an added element of adventure, you can go cycling, rock climbing and hiking.
I’m currently writing a blog post all about Hells Gate National park, so check back soon to find out more.
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