The other weekend I decided to see the Rift Valley side of our country and guess where I ended up….Olkaria Geothermal Spa in Naivasha. We almost bailed out on the plan due to one reason or the other but we decided, heck, YOLO! Olkaria Geothermal Spa is located inside the (in)famous Hell’s Gate and since there are one too many gates, you need to know exactly which one you should use to avoid getting lost.
When using personal means and you are from Naivasha town, drive towards the Oserian. Just before you get to Oserian, there is a road that goes directly to KenGen power plant. If you are using PSV, pick Oserian Matatus from Naivasha town and get dropped at Olkaria stage(Fare ranges between Kshs. 80 to 100. From there, get a motorbike and it’ll drop you right at the KWS entrance; depending on how well you can bargain, this should cost Kshs 50 to 100. At the KWS gate, these are the rates(per person)
- Kenyan adults – Ksh. 350
- Kenyan children – Ksh. 250
- Resident foreigners adults – Ksh. 700
- Resident foreigners children – Ksh. 350
- Non-resident foreigners adults – USD 30
- Non-resident foreigners children – USD 20
Once you are inside the park, you can ask for a tour guide to take you round or if you just wanted the Spa experience, go directly to the office and pay for swimming. You can swim for whatever time you want but the pool is closed at 6 p.m. The Spa is owned by KenGen which means they charge differently. Below are the Spa charges;
- Kenyan adults – Ksh. 400
- Kenyan children – Ksh. 100
- KenGen staff – Ksh. 200
- Group for students (under 18) – Ksh. 100
- Grounds hiring – Ksh. 40,000
- Resident foreigners adults – Ksh. 1,000
- Resident foreigners children – Ksh. 500
- Non-resident foreigners adults – Ksh. 1,800
- Non-resident foreigners children – Ksh. 850
- Towel – Ksh. 200
The pool is typically a heated swimming pool other than the water comes from the natural springs. In fact, Olkaria Geothermal Spa happens to be the largest natural spa in Africa; this makes KenGen the first company to make good use of the geothermal power other than generating power. There are no artificial additives in the pool and that is why the water looks whitish cus of the natural minerals and all. I happened to taste the water and it tasted like tea with salt instead of tea leaves; its salty. The water is brought into the pool by pipes but it’s allowed to cool first before it is released to the pool. There’s the hot spring itself where the hot water comes and the cooling lagoon which no one is allowed to go near. If you swim near the water entry point, you’ll notice the difference in temperature. It’s hotter at the entry point; almost to the point of scalding the skin. Technicians are always on call to check the temperatures.
Other things you need to know
- You can enjoy the breathtaking scenery as you swim in the hot water. Monkeys or it baboons can be seen near the pool and the guards have to keep watch lest people are harassed. So when there, make sure your belongings are safe to avoid mishaps with the primates.
- Make sure you have your identification documents especially for the KWS gate to avoid inconveniences.
- Make sure you have your sunscreen in place; I’m still nursing sunburns from that place
- Make sure you have warmer clothes for the evening or afternoon cus it’ll most likely rain in the afternoon.
- You can carry your food or snacks or you can order food from there. The least expensive food goes for Kshs. 500. We had the most sumptuous pork with fries at Kshs.500 per plate.
- Drive carefully cus you might meet wildlife on your way to and from Olkaria