Surrounded by a bushy grassland and a woody forest is one of the most beautiful paradises on the planet. The Great Rift Valley floor hosts Lake Nakuru, home to millions of flamingos and a stunning array of flora and fauna. Lake Nakuru National Park might stretch over just 188 sq. kms., but it still manages to present perfect surroundings for animal watching, game drives, bird watching and exhilarating hikes.
Despite its tiny size, the park is home to as many as 550 species of plants, including yellow acacia woodlands and the biggest euphorbia forest on the continent. The lake occupies roughly two-thirds of the park area and its waters support a blue-green bloom which is the main source of food for the millions of flamingos that can be found at the lake.
This ancient landscape has often been termed as the ‘cradle of mankind’ and numerous documentaries and films have been shot in the park. World-famous ornithologists, writers and artists have visited the park. In fact, Sir Peter Scott, a popular ornithologist, had once said; “there can be no more remarkable ornithological sight in the world.”Lake Nakuru has an uncanny resemblance to the Lake Natron National Park in Tanzania and that is because both parks are dominated by an alkaline lake which covers roughly two-thirds of the area and attracts millions of flamingos. Moreover, despite their small size, both parks also present an incredible array of ecosystems and wildlife.
- Wildlife Rating: 5 stars out of 5
- Scenery Rating: 5 stars out of 5
- Bush Vibe: 3 stars out of 5
- Altitude: 1756 meters above sea-level
At a distance of just two hours from Nairobi, Lake Nakuru is unmissable for anyone planning a wildlife adventure in the country. 1.2 million flamingos aside, the national park also lets you see white and black rhinos, hippos, giraffes, impalas, waterbucks, elands, warthogs, hippos, baboons, zebras, buffaloes, leopards and tree-climbing lions.
Lake Nakuru gained popularity around the world as a major success story for the rhino. It was home to the Rhino Rescue project and its electric fence presents a safe haven for its endangered inhabitants. Today, the park hosts as many as 40 white rhinos and 60 black rhinos and is one of the best places to see predators during the day.
The area below Flamingo Hill is the go-to spot for seeing lions. This is one of the places which forces you to look up for lionesses have a habit of sleeping in the acacia trees found here. The area around Makolia Camp is frequented by leopards and the caves beneath Lion Hill are home to numerous species of snakes, including the deadly python.
- Lake Nakuru attracts millions of greater and lesser flamingos and a variety of other water birds.
- Excellent bird watching opportunities
- Biggest euphorbia forest in the continent
- Black and white rhinos
- Breathtaking scenery
- Few options to choose from for your accommodation
- Low on bush vibe
Nakuru Town has very little to choose from, so tourists only have two feasible options – the Sarova Lion Hill Lodge and the Naishi Guest House. The Sarova Lion Hill Lodge is located on the eastern side of the lake and is famous for presenting stunning views across the water. On the other hand, the Naishi Guest House is a self-catering cottage that allows you to see gazelles and rhinos graze nearby from its terrace.
Although a year-round destination, the months of July and August tend to coincide with the peak season. This is when you can expect crowds, lots of greenery and excellent game viewing opportunities. The months of March to June are best avoided as this coincides with the wet season, and it tends to rain through the night and well into the morning.
Lake Nakuru National Park itineraries are often combined with other lakes present in the Great Rift Valley. Conservation areas such as the Aberdare National Park and Lake Naivasha should be your go-to destinations while visiting Lake Nakuru.