Looking for a charming staycation spot outside the city? Crescent Island is one of the most stunning game reserves and adventurous spots and a must on your vacation list.
This hidden gem in Naivasha allows you to relax, reconnect, escape the hustle and bustle of life and immerse yourself in nature. Akira Gaymer, Crescent Island’s managing director, is a hotelier and a conservationist. She was born in Naivasha and grew up on Crescent Island.
She studied hospitality in the UK and has worked in the hospitality industry for the last 20 years. She recently converted their family home at Crescent Island into an Airbnb.
When she agreed to an interview with the Art of Living, my curiosity had already peaked. I wanted to experience Crescent Island. Amidst the disarmingly beautiful shores of Crescent Island, Akira and I took a boat ride to the haven. The trip was pure bliss; Lake Naivasha’s fresh water was tranquil and picture perfect, with no hippos in sight. The boat ride, the only way to access the island, took approximately 10-15 minutes.
The sweeping views of the lake, breathtaking blue skies, and lush green grass blended with the acacia trees to form the perfect landscape. I needed a few minutes to take it all in. I was in paradise and just wanted to linger there for days as I unwound and regrouped.
When I think about Crescent Island, I marvel at the work of God. How did the wild animals that call this place home get to the island? Akira said some swam, but I am confident not all of them did as the lake is 18 metres deep. The island is home to the Maasai giraffe, gazelle, countless species of birds, hippopotamus, wildebeest, Defassa waterbuck and Central African Rock python – yes, you heard me. The largest snake in Africa calls this place home, too.
Akira gave me a tour of the three cottages on a hill. Hippo House, Giraffe House and Fish Eagle. Even with their serene ambience, the three are different as night and day.
The revamped Hippo House, an old house with quirky décor, drew me in. The cottage built in the 1940s has three bedrooms, a loft and a fully equipped kitchen. The colours and textures have a Kenyan feel. The living room is low-ceilinged with wooden beams.
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The cottage has a traditional fireplace, locally made sofas, and expansive windows that give you a front-row seat of the lake. The white walls and concrete floor make the room appear brighter, spacious and airy. “Painted floors are easy to clean,” says Akira. She has adorned her walls with kangas and kikois. Locally made kitenge lampshades, among other Kenyan-made accessories, give the room an eclectic feel.
Meticulously displayed art pieces by Kenyan artistes, and antique carpets inherited from her parents make the space cosy yet dramatic, retaining a country house sense of relaxed comfort. “I love supporting Kenyan artistes,” said Akira.
Akira worked with local artisans to make the beds, which are made from recycled wood. The cabinets are painted in traditional white and black. The bedside table, a tree trunk, was also carved from recycled wood. The veranda overlooks the lake, which has the most spectacular views, and guests enjoy hippos grazing.
Akira shared that it is self-catering at the cottages, but the guests enjoy zen-like relaxation. Walking among wild animals is an adventure everyone should experience. And the breathtaking sunsets make for lasting memories.
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