Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru National Park is located south of Nakuru in the rift valley in Kenya and in the northwestern direction from Nairobi. The main feature in this Kenya national park is Lake Nakuru which is well known for its flamingos. The word “Nakuru” means dust or dusty place in the Maasai language.
Large numbers of flamingos are seen lined along the shores of Lake Nakuru due to algae which they feed on. The number of flamingos varies with water and food conditions which determine whether the flamingos migrate to other locations or stay in the same location.
This national park is a sanctuary for many black rhinos as well as a habitat for many other wildlife species and a variety of bird species. The landscape in Lake Nakuru national park is characterized by hills/viewpoints, grasslands, and trees where birds build their nests and the wildlife species rest from the heat of the sun.
Entry gates into the park include the Lanet gate, Nderit gate, and main gate. Nderit gate is used less for entry into the national park compared to the other entry gates.
Lake Nakuru national park can be visited all year round because the rainy weather does not affect game viewing since the wildlife species are within the fence which encloses the whole national park making them easy to sight. The roads connecting to Nakuru are also in good condition, accessible and passable making the Kenya tours in Lake Nakuru national park a wonderful experience.
Lake Nakuru national park was first gazetted as a bird sanctuary and was later awarded national park status to protect its natural environment. It was also the first rhino sanctuary in Kenya and this highly contributed to the number of Rhinos in the national park and it has the highest concentration of black rhinos.
Access to the park during your Kenya Tours can be through using the following means;
- By road; Nairobi – Nakuru highway via Lanet gate, from the Nakuru town center via the main gate.
- By flight; from Jomo Kenyatta international airport to Naishi airstrip in the southern part of the park
Attractions in Lake Nakuru National Park
Attractions found in the stunning rift valley scenery and in different parts of Lake Nakuru national park include;
- Flamingos are a major attraction in Lake Nakuru national park and their pink color creates a beautiful spectacle as they line along the shores of the lake while they feed. The flamingos are of two categories that is the lesser flamingo and the greater flamingos. The lesser flamingos are more in number compared to the greater flamingos. Due to water level changes, the flamingos migrate to other fresh water lakes such as Lake Bogoria for better chances of survival.
- Wildlife species seen around the park include zebras, hippos, olive baboons, vervet and colobus monkeys, waterbucks, hyenas, warthogs, buffalos, elands, gazelles, impalas, reedbucks and rhinos which are commonly seen close to the lake shores. The national park also has different viewpoints that ease wildlife viewing such as four of the big five excluding elephants.
- Bird species can be seen along with the flamingos which are a major attraction and they include pelicans, cormorants, kingfishers, ostriches, storks, herons, eagles, great white pelican, great blue eared starling, Hottentot teal, Abyssinian thrush, arrow marked babbler, Bateleur, black-tailed godwit, black-winged lapwing, crab plover, sooty falcon, and many other bird species. The best time for bird watching is from November to April which is the nesting season and also the period for breeding.
- Lake Nakuru has deep blue alkaline water where flamingos can be spotted feeding along the shores creating a beautiful sight of pink and other wildlife species can be seen grazing around such as rhinos. This lake also supports flocks of pelicans and other bird species and is a good birding site in the national park.
- Baboon Cliff is a viewpoint that offers a vantage point to see the rest of the national park and also a view of the wildlife and bird species below as well as views of the rift valley and baboons looking for food at the cliff.
- Makalia waterfall which is located on the southern end of the national park offers a great spot for picnics and hiking. It is located on a hill which offers views of wildlife species and birds in the national park.
- Lion hill viewpoint is one of the established viewpoints which make it easy to get out of the vehicle, enjoy the view and also take photos while enjoying picnics at the picnic tables which are available at the picnic sites.
Activities for tourists to engage in during a Kenya Safari Tour in Lake Nakuru national park include;
- Game drives/ game viewing offers views of different wildlife species such as the white rhino which are easily spotted along the shores of Lake Nakuru and also a variety of bird species can be seen during these game drives. Wildlife species which can be spotted include white rhinos, Rothschild giraffes, buffalos, impalas, waterbucks, hippos and many other wildlife species.
- Bird watching is better done in the company of a birding guide who knows the best birding spots and where specific birds are easily spotted in Lake Nakuru national park for a satisfying birding experience. This requires specific birding equipment such as binoculars to be able to sight the birds which include; flamingos, yellow-billed pelicans, marabou storks, hammerkops, eagles and many other bird species.
- Hiking is mostly done to reach the viewpoints which offer an opportunity to see the park’s attractions from a good vantage point. Hiking can be done on Makalia cliff.
Accommodations in Lake Nakuru
Accommodation in Lake Nakuru national park ranges from luxury accommodation, midrange accommodation and budget accommodation offering quality services and great hospitality for tourists to experience nature at its best and to create memories in the national park and they include;
- Luxury accommodation; Sarova lion hill lodge, Lake Nakuru Lodge, Flamingo camp, Merica hotel, Mbweha camp.
- Midrange accommodation; Maili Saba camp, Hotel waterbuck Nakuru, Hotel Luna.
- Budget accommodation; Mirius guesthouse
- Camping services are also available in the park at the following locations; Naishi campsite, Rhino campsite, Soysambu campsite, Kambi Nyati campsite, Chui campsite, Reedbuck campsite, Makalia campsite, Kambi Nyuki campsite, Baboon cliff, Out of Africa viewpoint, Pelican picnic site. Options for self-catering accommodation facilities are also available in the national park such as Naishi guest house.
For a Kenya Safari Tour full of color and nature visit Lake Nakuru National park and experience wonderful views of the landscape and breathtaking sights of a variety of bird and wildlife species.