LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK
Flamingos, Rhinos & Hippos
Lions? Leopards? And Chimps
For pure variety of landforms and wildlife few parks equal this gem sitting on a pretty alkaline lake just a short drive from Nairobi. Lake Nakuru National Park offers visitors the chance to spot exotic birdlife but also rare species like rhinos and endangered Rothschild’s giraffe. Also keep a safari eye out for lion, leopard, and cheetah. This unique reserve has it all.
Besides the lake, Nakuru is a picture-perfect blend of acacia forests, waterfalls, woodlands, and distinctive euphorbia trees all nestled under towering rocky escarpments. Here you’ll find a surprising variety of wildlife in these picturesque settings – look for hyena, monkey, baboon, wild dog, hippo, and even python hanging from the trees!
Perhaps Nakuru’s signature attraction is its complement of assorted birdlife found on and around the lake. Most famous, of course, are its flocks of Greater and Lesser pink flamingos, sometimes filling the shoreline in bright ribbons of color.
They are joined by the avian company of cormorants, kingfishers, ostriches, pelicans, geese, storks, and raptors such as eagles and herons. During your visit here you’ll see quite a few of the over 500 species that inhabit this rich eco-system.
The Rare and Endangered
Besides great populations of birds, Nakuru also boasts large numbers of endangered species such as the black and white rhino. The park’s special sanctuary gives safari-goers a chance to encounter these large, elusive creatures.
Also roaming the acacia forests look for the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe, and keep an eye out for the uncommon African wild dog, which makes its home here.
Sharing this land flocked with distinctive acacia trees are the Maasai people, nomadic herders from whom the park takes its name. They construct traditional villages surrounding the reserve and live as they have for eons, herding their cattle and pushing back at an ever-encroaching modern world.
Known for their brightly colored shukas and deft beadwork, the Maasai are a living link to a past that stretches back beyond colonial Africa, to an era when the entire continent was wild and untouched.
Lion Hill, Out of Africa & Baboon Cliff – Lake Nakuru features awesome points of observation to enjoy viewing the wildlife below. You’ll get pretty views of the park from these vantage points. Look for lions near Flamingo Hill.
Sea of Pink – The numbers of flamingos vary with the season and also from year to year. At one time their numbers were in the millions but you can still see bright flocks adorning the shoreline – a colorful contrast to the blues, greens, and rich ochres of the park’s foliage.
Makalia Falls – Amongst the park’s scenic spots, the falls are their most visual after the rains. You’ll find a nearby campsite with plenty of opportunities for bird watching.
Big Cats – Although Nakuru makes its reputation with its birdlife and rhinos, there are still opportunities to spot lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, serval cat, jackal, and smaller carnivores like civet, genet, and mongoose.
These reserve-based projects help the livelihoods of the nearby rural communities.
- Education for local students, including computer skills training
- Healthcare – providing medical supplies to the local health centers and mobile clinic
- Energy – providing hundreds of local families with energy-efficient stoves – reducing the need for firewood.
Ol Pejeta Eco-Facts
- Sanctuaries to protect endangered chimpanzees, oryx, hartebeest, Grevy’s zebra, and bat-eared fox
- Home to the world’s last remaining northern white rhinos
- The largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa – the rhino population has increased by over 100 in the last 25 years.
The park is on the smaller side – 188 sq. km (162 sq. mi) – but this makes it easier to cover its hills, grasslands, and forests. And, to spot the wildlife as you safari through its verdant topography.
Location: Near to Nairobi – 170 km (105 mi) – it’s easily reached in just a few hours. You can take a day trip and even combine it with other nearby parks.
Climate: The park has a surprisingly higher elevation at 1,756 m (5757 ft.) and is cooler than most Kenya parks, even though it is near the equator. Not too hot or cold, nor wet or dry. Temperatures range from 120 – 250 c (540 – 770 f).
Best time to visit: Lake Nakuru is open throughout the year. Even the rainy season can’t put a damper on travel through the park as the roads are well-maintained. However, the dry season from July through December still presents the best conditions for spotting the park’s colorful diversity of wildlife.
Operating hours: The park is open from 6 am to 6 pm daily. Entry is not allowed on foot and visitors can only hike in special areas in the company of a KWS ranger.
Getting there: Book a tour with Africa Kenya Safaris. We’ll take you there in style – a specially outfitted 4 x 4 Safari Jeep.
By air – we’ll arrange for you to fly into the nearby Naishi airstrip.
This is Lake Nakuru National Park
A rich expression of water, forest, towering rock, and exciting peaks, Nakuru is a small treasure to discover. A fun addition to any safari, this beautiful park serves up the bright colors of its birdlife with the thrills of big cats and the quiet certitude of its protected species.
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