Naivasha - Encyclopedia

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NAIVASHA, the name of a lake, town and province, in British East Africa. The lake, which is roughly circular with a diameter of some 13 m., lies at an altitude of 6135 ft. on the crest of the highest ridge in the eastern rift-valley between the Kikuyu escarpment on the east and the Mau escarpment on the west. It is fed from the north by the rivers Gilgal and Morendat, but has no known outlet. The rivers, which have a minimum discharge of loo cub. ft. per second, run in deep gullies. The water of the lake is fresh; the shore in many places is lined with papyrus. North and north-west the lake is closed in by the volcanic Buru hills; to the south towers the extinct volcano of Longonot. Hippopotami and otters frequent the lake, and on an island about 1 m. from the shore are large numbers of antelopes and other game. Naivasha was discovered in 1883 by Gustav Adolf Fischer (1848-1886), one of the early explorers of the Tana and Masai regions, and the first to demonstrate the continuance of the rift-valley through equatorial Africa. Fischer was followed later in the same year by Joseph Thomson, the Scottish explorer. The railway from Mombasa to Victoria Nyanza skirts the eastern side of the lake, and on the railway close to the lake is built the town of Naivasha, 6230 ft. above the sea, 39 1 m. N.W. by rail of Mombasa and 193 m. S.E. by rail of Port Florence on Victoria Nyanza. Naivasha province contains much land suitable for colonization by white men, and large areas were leased to Europeans by the British authorities in 1903 and subsequent years. The East Africa Syndicate acquired a lease of 500 sq. m. in the valley of the Gilgal and surrounding country north of Lake Naivasha. North-west of the lake and along the Molo river the 3rd Lord Delamere obtained a grant of 155 sq. m.

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