The Magical Island in Kenya Where Animals Roam Free

Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace. ~Eugene O’Neill

Yes, you heard right. There is an island in Kenya: Crescent Island. Okay, it’s not “technically” an island.  It’s actually a crescent-shaped piece of land that juts out on the very large, freshwater lake in Kenya—Lake Naivasha— where herds of animals run happily.

Arriving in Kenya, we really didn’t know what to expect. We had driven half way across the country through the amazing Rift Valley with a guide who promised to show us where the best wildlife is. And Lake Naivasha was no exception.

It was pouring rain at the time we were to board a rickety boat to go across the lake, where we had heard that hippos swam around in abundance. So I was a little nervous, but excited!

Boats for exploring Lake Naivasha

Boats for exploring Lake Naivasha

Our boat driver said, “Nothing is guaranteed. Sometimes the animals will hide when it’s raining.”

The boat engine rattled on anyway, and we remained hopeful in our rain coats while holding up an old umbrella with holes. I don’t mind getting wet, but I’ve got to keep my camera equipment dry!

Cloudy skies above Lake Naivasha

Cloudy skies above Lake Naivasha

We drove on for about an hour along the coast of the lake shore not seeing much except these amazing trees jutting out of the water that looked like rugged branches piercing the sky. Then we headed towards the island.

All of a sudden, the rain stopped and the island came into view.

Wildebeest and zebras on Crescent Island

Wildebeest and zebras on Crescent Island

We could see zebras and wildebeest running in herds around the island as if playing tag. We could see majestic water buck up to their necks in the water, enjoying the abundance of water plants. An amazing array of birds of all shapes, sizes and colors flocked around the island.

My heart stopped for a second.

These are the best feelings in life, being surrounded by untouched nature in the middle of nowhere, witnessing such magic.

In dry season, they dock the boat and you can walk among the animals! But we were in wet season and the shore was washed out and inaccessible. We felt like we were disturbing them less by just floating by in a boat, so we were okay with that. Also, the animals walk right up to the balconies at the lodge we stayed at— the amazing Sopa Lodge! (more about that at the end!)


I fell in love with water bucks. Who can resist a heart-shaped nose?

And the zebras! I don’t know, but they seemed like striped unicorns to me. Magical.

Bird lovers paradise!

Egyptian Ducks

Fish Eagle


Pink-backed Pelican

On the way back, we DID see the hippos, but they were taking a nap.

Back on land, it is a paradise where humans and animals roam free in harmony, like the garden of Eve.


The Sopa Lodge is right near the lake, where all the animals graze on the grass day and night. During the day, herds of waterbuck, zebras and giraffes walked right by us. At night, we had to be more careful, as the hippos came out of the water and were eating grass right below our balcony. Magic, magic, magic!

Sopa Lodge – Lake Naivasha

Baby Water Buck


To be continued with our adventures in the Maasai Mara in Kenya!

Keep in touch with our everyday travels by following us on Instagram at @compassionatenomads!

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Peace, Love, Travel!



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