Lake Nakuru National Park

Lake Nakuru national park is branded as “A beautiful wildlife haven” that lies along the Great Rift valley region. The park is surrounded by the busy wooded grasslands that are dotted with the Acacia trees. The park is famous for its large flocks of Flamingos that get another nickname “the pink lake”. The park got its name from locals who named it from the word “Nakuru” which means the dusty place.

Lake Nakuru National Park

The park surrounds the pink lake which is an alkaline lake that contains much Algae that attracts a great number of Flamingos. The national park was gazetted as a birding Sanctuary. It covers an average area of 188 square kilometers making it one of the small national parks in Kenya. The park was created in 1961 with a small size only capturing the lake and small surroundings. Later the park was enlarged to capture the Black Rhino sanctuary so as to up easily protect the remaining rare rhino species which was greatly affected by poachers.

The park was named after the key attraction at the park which is Lake Nakuru which is near the Nakuru town which was famous as the dustiest town in the region. Lake Nakuru national park started as covering the lake and nearby volcanic mountains and the open savannah grassland.

By 2009 the park had over 25 black Rhinos in the Sanctuary making it one of the largest sanctuaries in Kenya with more Eastern Black Rhinos. The sanctuary also has over 70 Southern White Rhinos. Lake Nakuru National Park is found in the North-Western part of Nairobi on the main road that connects Uganda and Nairobi Kenya. It takes 3 to 4 hours drive from Nairobi to Lake Nakuru National Park. It is 170 kilometers by distance from the capital city Nairobi.

Lake Nakuru National park is famous as a birding paradise with a record of over 400 bird species. The park hosts both lesser and greater flamingos in large flocks, the park is an excellent destination of game viewing with 4 members of African big 5 all available those are Buffalo, Rhinos, Leopards, and lions only missing are the Elephants. Lake Nakuru national park is managed by the Kenya Wildlife Services.

Accessing Lake Nakuru National Park

The park can be accessed through any of the 3 gates those are Nderit gate, Main Gate, and Lanet gate. Among the 3 gates, Nderit is the least used making is low famous among the gates. If one is using tour operator, then you can have a wonderfull scenic drive with a stop at the Great Rift valley spot as you drive through Nairobi-Nakuru high way entering the park through the Lanet Gate or branch through Nakuru town to use the main gate. The drive takes 4 to 5 hours covering around 170 kilometers from the town Nairobi. If using public means, there are several shuttles that operate daily from Nairobi city which will drop you at the Nakuru town where you can get special hire to the park.

Another option is through the daily flights that operate from Wilson airport or Jomo Kenyatta international airport to Naishi airstrip which is found in the Southern part of the park.

Attractions found in Lake Nakuru National Park

There are several attractions found in Lake Nakuru National Park however the size of the parks looks small. Its gifted by nature with a lot of attraction found inside and outside the park as summarized below:

  • Animals: Lake Nakuru national park has 4 of the 5 members of African big 5 with only African Elephants missing. The park is much famous as a birding sanctuary but provided the best animal game viewing. The animals found at the park include Zebras, baboons, hippos, giraffes, hyenas, lions, warthogs, monkey, elands, impala, leopards, waterbuck, buffalo mention but a few.
  • Birds: A home of over 400 bird species with both Lesser and greater flamingos. Other birds include ostriches, herons, great blue eared starlings, kingfishers, pelicans, Hottentot teal, cormorants, Abyssonian thrush, Sooty falcon, black-tailed godwit, arrow marked babbler among others. The different ecosystems found in the park gives an advantage for the park to host a good number of bird species. The swamps along the lake, rocky volcanic rocks, open savannah grasslands as well as the thorn shrubs at the park. 
  • Baboon cliff: The Baboon cliff is the great viewing point where the guests go to have great aerial views of Lake Nakuru national park. The guests do walking safaris with the guide at the Baboon cliff, it’s a rich area with birds and wildlife. It got its name from the dominating baboons at the cliff where they go for sunbathing and leisure playing overlooking the rift valley.
  • Makalia waterfall: Makalia waterfalls is found in the Southern part of Lake Nakuru national park. It provided scenic views accompanied by hiking. It also a good spot for wildlife viewing as they come for water to quench their thirst.  It also homes more birdlife with both water birds and on-land birds like Woodpeckers, Common bulbul, mention but a few. Guests also do sightseeing at this point viewing the strength of the waterfalls from the bottom or hike and view the falls from the top.

Activities done in Lake Nakuru

Wondering what to do or see during your proposed safari to Lake Nakuru  park. Worry not again after reading all the necessary detailed information about the park on our blog posts or national parks. We provided all the necessary information for one to plan their trip at ease, below are the key happy moments while in Lake Nakuru  park.

  • Hiking safaris: You don’t need to have hiking experience in order to hike any of the hiking spots in the national park. The guided nature walks take you closer to the wildlife while on foot with the escort of the game ranger. The hiking spots include Baboon cliff, Lion hill viewpoint, Makalia cliff.
  • Birding: Lake Nakuru national park is known as a birding sanctuary that was started with the main aim of protecting and conserving rare bird species found at the park. The park hosts the largest population of Flamingos in East Africa. Other birds include both water birds and on-land birds which include: Marabou storks, Pelicans, Hammerkops, Hottentot teal, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Abyssinian thrush, Lesser Kestrel, Bateleur, Maccoa duck, Pallid harrier, Black-winged Lapwing, Crab-plover, European Roller, Sooty Falcon, Great snipe, Speke’s weaver, vultures and many more. The park has over 400 bird species that can be easily seen throughout the year. The birding safaris in Lake Nakuru national park are more rewarding especially during the rainy season when the birds are nesting.
Lake Nakuru National Park
Flamingoes at Lake Nakuru
  • Game viewing: Every guest when planning to come to Africa thinks of African big 5 as the most popular wildlife to view. It is true Lake Nakuru national park is not a good destination for the big five but it’s the only park In Kenya where one is assured to see the rare black Rhinos during your game drives. Other animals include Lions, leopards, cheetahs, Hyenas, Buffalo, Giraffes, Zebras, wildebeest, gazelles, oribi, dik-dik, warthogs, and others. The morning game drives are the most rewarding when nature is much active with more action to catch up with.

Lake Nakuru national park is one of the nearest parks from Nairobi where guests can even do short day safari after a business meeting. Wondering where to spend less but enjoy great wildlife experience in a short period of time then Lake Nakuru national park is the perfect destination.

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