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Africa Geographic Travel

Here’s why you should boogie-on-down with the bongos and birds, sounding-off on the shores of Lake Naivasha…

1. The festival takes place along the waters of Kenya’s Lake Naivasha, which means you can get foot loose and fancy free beside one of the valley’s few fresh water expanses. Fringed by thick papyrus, fertile farmland and a canopy of acacia forests, Hell’s Gate national park lies beside the lake too with its massive red-tinged cliffs, volcanoes and hot springs. Lake Naivasha must be one of the world’s most wonderful natural theatres to stage a musical shindig.

fishermen lake naivasha kenya rift valley festival

2. Forget the hippies, it’s all about hippo dodging at this rare safari-while-you-party environment. At Kenya’s Rift Valley Festival you won’t be the only party animal, the lake water draws a great range of game to its shores, from wallowing hippos to colobus monkeys and buffalo, you can even watch local men cast nets from their canoes as fish eagles swoop down to peck at their prey– sights best enjoyed from a safari boat-trip.

3. You get to join an intimate gathering of musicians from East Africa and abroad in an eclectic musical mash-up. The lineup for this year includes soulful Swahili singer Suzanna Owiyo, Guinean afro-beat-boy Sekou Kouyate (pictured below left), and the legendary UK DJ’s, Basement Jaxx.

4. Started in 2010 by British brothers Ivan and Sean Ross, the event’s charitable ethos is to raise funds for the local community in the Lake Naivasha area. Profits from ticket sales will be used to help provide a clean, accessible water supply, improve sanitation, and support projects promoting environmental awareness.

5. Roll down the Rift. Way-off the beaten track, the drive to the festival takes about an hour-and-a-half from Nairobi and will see you rolling down into the Great Rift Valley (pictured below). A deep trough that runs from north to south of the country, the valley is bordered by escarpments and broken up by volcanoes (some still active) and a series of shimmering lakes.

great rift valley kenya festival

6. T.I.A baby! Yup, there’s nothing quite like a festival in Africa. Expect technical glitches – old-school generators triggering power cuts, out-of-the-blue thunderstorms pushing back headline acts by hours, local Tusker beer glugged down by the crate-load and a security team made up of strong local Maasai men.

Travel Info

When: 31st August, 1st & 2nd September 2012.

Where: Fisherman’s Camp, Lake Naivasha – two hours north of Nairobi, Kenya.

Tickets: Available at – 4,000 Kenyan shillings for a weekend pass.

Contact: Email,, web.

Shenton Safaris

I’m Holly - born and raised in the rural British Counties, my mother began life on a sugar farm in Zululand. After reading Anthropology at university in London, working for a political activist filmmaker in India, and doing a short stint under the bright lights of Bollywood – I decided it was time to return to the motherland. To earn a crust in the name of wanderlust, I finished up a post grad in media and hotfooted around South Africa as a freelance travel journalist.