Lake Nakuru National Park is renowned as a bird sanctuary with over 400 bird species, including huge flocks of flamingoes and many other water birds. It is an excellent park for wildlife spotting and is home to many water-loving animals such as hippos and waterbucks. A safari to Lake Nakuru National Park can be completed in one day or combined with a visit to Lake Naivasha and the nearby Aberdare National Park.
Lake Nakuru National Park was established in 1961. It now covers an area of 180km² (69.5 square miles) and is situated in the Great Rift Valley – 156km northwest of Nairobi in the Nakuru district of the Rift Valley Province. The park is managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service.Lake Nakuru is a large, shallow lake surrounded by marshes, woodland and grassland. There are some rocky outcrops and the largest euphorbia forest in Africa on the eastern side. The lake is fed by three main rivers; the Njoro, the Makalia and the Enderitrivers, as well as several springs. The park has very good roads and some excellent viewpoints overlooking the lake from Baboon Cliff and Lion Hill.The lake supports the blue-green Cyanophyte Spirulina Platensis, which is the main food source for the brilliant pink flamingoes that can be found wading on the lake’s edge. At times, there can be up to two million greater and lesser flamingoes and tens of thousands of other birds. Food conditions change periodically, and the number of birds fluctuates at times so, if possible, you should check with the national park before making a long journey to view the birds. It is also a good idea to carry a spotter’s guide to identify the many animals and Kenya birds you will see here.Lake Nakuru National Park also offers sanctuary to huge numbers of native African animals including waterbucks, warthogs, impalas, buffalo, Rothschild giraffes, elands, endangered black rhinos, white rhinos and, occasionally, leopards. A large herd of hippos have a territory in the northern part of the lake, making for interesting game viewing.
The climate around the lake ranges from cool to hot and humid. The annual rainfall is 965mm which is lower than many other parts of Kenya. The wettest months are March to May and October to December, but even at these times it is not as rainy as other areas.
How to get there
By Road: Use your own vehicle, take public transport, or book an open-topped minibus or safari van tour with a tour guide. It is 156km northwest of Nairobi to the main gate and 4km from Nakuru town. There are also gates – the Lanet gate from the Nairobi-Nakuru road and the Nderit Gate if traveling from Maasai Mara or Elementaita.
By Air: Chartered light aircrafts may land at Naishi airstrip.
What to see and Do
Enjoy the fabulous water birds and other bird species. The best place to view the birds is from Baboon Cliff, where you get an excellent view over the lake, and the wonderful spectacle of pink flamingoes along its edge. However, the number of birds in the park fluctuates as food conditions change, so check the bird population with the national park before making the journey.
See the endangered white rhinos and other animals including waterbucks, warthogs, hippos, impalas, buffalo, Rothschild giraffes and more.Drive through the unique vegetation and the biggest euphorbia forest in Africa.Viewpoints include Lion Hill, Baboon Cliff and Out of Africa. Visit the beautiful waterfall at Makalia.
Best time to Visit
The best months to visit are June to September and January to March. However the rainy seasons are generally not as wet as other areas and the roads are good year-round.
Where to stay
Guest houses:Naisha Guest HousesLodges and Hotels:Lake Nakuru Lodge, Sarova Lion Hill Lodge, and Merica Hotel.Bandas:Naisha BandaSpecial Campsites:Naishi, Chui, Rhino, Soysambu, Nyati, Nyuki and Reedbuck. You can also stay at Crater Lake Lodge Naivasha, which is one of Kenya’s best tent camps and is only about 30km(19miles) from Lake NakuruPublic Campsites: Makalia and Bacpakers If you like, you can combine your Lake Nakuru holiday adventure with tours to Lake Naivasha, the cleanest lake in the Great Rift Valley, or with a visit to Lake Elmentaita. There you can elect to stay at the Lake Elementaita Lodge which is just 30km from Lake Nakuru. If you love nature, serenity and scenic retreats while enjoying the views of the Great Rift Valley, then Lake Naivasha Country Club, Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge, Naivasha Simba Lodge are great places to stay outside of Lake Nakuru. . On the shores of Lake Naivasha is Loldia House, a plush, ancient house built during the Second World War. Loldia House offers breathtaking views of the dormant volcano in Mount Longonot, is a great place to stay and only a short drive from Lake Nakuru National Park.