Lake Naivasha is located in the eastern arm of the great rift valley overlooking the volcanic mountains of the rift valley. Lake Naivasha is a fresh water lake which was part of a much larger lake that encompassed the present lakes Elementaita and Nakuru, and discarded down the Rift Valley southwards. It is flanked by the Ilkinopop (Kinangop) Plateau (east) and the Mau Escarpment (west). The lake lies on an alluvium-covered flat in the valley floor and is flanked on the north by an extensive papyrus swamp. It is the highest of the lakes in the eastern part of the rift system, and is situated at 6,180 feet (1,884 m) above sea level.
The principle water supply to the lake is from Aberdare Mountains. Two rivers drain these areas and enter the lake. The Malewa river has a catchment of 1,730km2 and provides 90% of the inflow. Temporally watercourses descend from the forested slopes of Oldoinyo opuru ridge, and extends eastward from Mau escarpment, across the valley north of the lake.
The lake has traditionally supported local populations, tourism and a wide range of biodiversity, including hundreds of different migratory water birds, fish and plant life. Although it has no outlet, the lake’s waters are fresh. Several species of Tilapia and black bass are the basis of commercial and sport fishing. Bird-watching is also popular.