Camp Carnelley’s – In Kenya’s Camping Country

Lake Naivasha is the mall where all of Kenya’s cool camping sites like to hang out. This area has long been synonymous with camping and casual weekender’s for as long as anyone can remember. If you live in Nairobi, Nakuru or further afield it’s quite possible one thing or the other has led you here; be it a wedding, a weekend getaway, a drunken bad decision or all of those combined. In Part One of the series on locations for first time campers and family-friendly locations we explored Mount Longonot National Park so lets keep it moving shall we?


Getting There

Most of the camping sites and other accommodation options in Naivasha are concentrated along Moi South Lake Road. it’s a 2 1/2 hr trip from Nairobi using the Mai Mahiu route. No reason why I use this and not the main highway, just personal preference.


Camp Carnelley’s

The camp is located next to it’s equally famous brother Fisherman’s Camp. They were once part of the same property but depending on who you ask it was a less than ‘crimonious’ (that’s the opposite of acrimonious right?) falling out between the family that led to the split of the two campsites. But campers are the winners either way, the more choices the better I think.

Location is perfect, right by the lake-side with lots of shade under the fever trees. It is also well spread out such that even though it’s a pretty popular place you can still find a quiet corner. For Ksh 600 for camping not bad all.


It’s initially quite disconcerting for me at first to have so much going on around me, kids running around, tweens and adults kicking around footballs and frisbees. Actually scratch that, it’s pretty cool.


I’m excited about the hot showers and flush toilets to no end, this probably goes to show what a savage I am. Not many people see a mabati structure and go “Aaaah luxury.”


Unfortunately no photos of the inside as you can’t take a photo anywhere close to children these days without some protective parent immediately escalating the threat level to DEFCON 1. It’s the word we live in now, suffice to say they are simple and clean.

I have arrived at Carnelley’s late afternoon after a long and tiring day so I spend my time just chilling out in my tent. I’ve spent more nights in this thing than dog has fleas….good times.


Early evening I head to The Lazy Bones Restaurant to get my self to a proper meal. Seriously this place has hand down some of the best food in Naivasha, and yes you CAN pop in just for lunch (budget about Ksh 1,000 for a meal and a drink).


One thing I don’t see on offer but receive anyway (on the house) is a health serving of rudeness from one one of the waiters. Please take that off the menu.

Full of dough and cheese, I capture a few shots before turning in.


Used to absolute silence, the chatter around campfires and the shriek from the kids playing hide-and-seek in the dark is strangely soothing. I’m so grateful that Carnelley’s has a zero tolerance policy on loud music and general disturbance unlike many of the other campsites around the lake.


Early morning

I’m up at the crack of dawn and head down to the jetty to witness a new day begin. the rest of the camp slumbers on and I only have this African Pied Wagtail and his breakfast for company.


The water is so still at that time of the morning, a great time to reflect (see what I did there?)


I question why it’s been so long since I have been camping in Naivasha, it’s quite a beautiful place.


Before it slips my mind, the camp also has alternative accommodation in terms of bandas (from Ksh 8000) and dorm beds (Ksh 1000).


Final Verdict

I would have liked to see a manager come round the campsite for a chat with guests. From the business end it’s a great time to up-sell clients on any other activities that may be available that they are unaware of (for instance you can hire a boat at Ksh 3,500 for 7 pax for 1 hour). It takes a very short time to do this and those small personal touches are what elevate good places  to special places.

Naivasha has a great many accommodation options to choose from, be it luxury hotels, self-catering cottages and campsites to choose from. Some are really good, many others are nothing to get excited about. Carnelley’s is definitely one of the good ones.

Big thanks to Christine. You can reach the camp on their website (a pale shadow of the real deal) but to get a better feel of the place and better photos visit their Facebook page








10 thoughts on “Camp Carnelley’s – In Kenya’s Camping Country

  1. Shailen Visaria

    I love reading your articles, they are to the point and the directions are good.Please give us more of these articles as they expose us to new and wonderful places.

    1. thekenyancamper Post author

      Hi Shailen, great to hear from you. Weird you mention the directions, I was actually going to get rid of them as I wasn’t sure they were adding any value. Thanks for proving me wrong, I’ll keep including them.

  2. Jaini

    That first photo is priceless. As a wheelchair user, camping can be challenging, but we just rent out a banda (just for privacy when using the washroom) and just set up tents outside, cook and hang under the stars. So breath-taking and I have an urge to drive down to Naivasha and camp now.

  3. Anonymous

    Love love the photo!!! They are all great but the first one is special. I had actually written off Naivasha as a place I had outgrown but you’ve opened my eyes to something new.

  4. Pingback: Camping At Hell’s Gate – Suits, Spas & Sceneries | The Kenyan Camper

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