Guide to Lake Nakuru National Park

In this blog, “Guide to Lake Nakuru National Park”, we will discuss some of the things you need to know about Lake Nakuru and how important it is to include Lake Nakuru in Your Kenya Safari Itinerary. Lake Nakuru National Park is situated on the floor of the Great Rift Valley, surrounded by wooded and bushy grassland. Nakuru means “Dust” or “Dusty Place” in the Maasai language. The park hosts a rhino sanctuary, over 450 bird species and thousands to millions of flamingos depending on the season. It is also home to 4 of the big five, 56 species of mammals, pythons, and a lot more. Lake Nakuru is one of the premium national parks in Kenya, together with Masai Mara National Reserve and Amboseli Park. Lake Nakuru National Park was identified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011.

Attractions here include, Greater and Lesser Flamingos and other water birds including a variety of terrestrial birds. 56 different species of mammals including white rhinos and waterbucks. Lion hill, Baboon cliff and Out of Africa viewpoints. Enasoit, Honeymoon, Lion hill ridge and Makalia Waterfalls. About 550 different plant species including the unique and biggest euphorbia forest in Africa, Picturesque landscape and yellow acacia woodlands. Cycle with rhino event every September yearly.

Visitors can therefore enjoy the wide ecological diversity and varied habitats. This range from Lake Nakuru itself to the surrounding escarpment and picturesque ridges. Lake Nakuru National Park is ideal for bird watching, hiking, picnic and game drives.

Lake Nakuru National Park Location (Guide to Lake Nakuru National Park)

The Lake Nakuru National Park is situated in central Kenya about 150 km (87 miles) north-west of Nairobi in the Rift Valley Province. It can easily be visited in a day tour from the capital or more likely as part of a circuit taking in the Maasai Mara or Lake Baringo. Lake Nakuru is at an elevation of 1 754 m (5 755 ft) above sea level. The ecosystem comprises the lake and surrounding bushy and wooded grasslands. The park supports a wide ecological diversity with greater and lesser flamingos and other water birds, and the endangered black and white rhinoceros as major attractions. It is one of the soda lakes in the Great Rift Valley with lake NaivashaLake Bogoria, Lake Elementaita, and Lake Baringo.

The Famous Birds of Lake Nakuru (Flamingos)

The masses of pink flamingos at Lake Nakuru draws guests from around the world. The lake is world-famous as the location of one of the greatest bird spectacles on earth – millions of pink flamingos that feed on the abundant algae which thrives in the warm waters on the shores of Lake Nakuru. The alkaline nature of Lake Nakuru supports the growth of a huge amount of the blue-green algae. The Algae attracts thousands of greater and lesser flamingos, painting her water pink. In fact, from afar off viewing point, the lake looks like a pink carpet. That’s why it is sometimes called the “Pink Lake,’ or the “bird watchers paradise”. Lake Nakuru Flamingos are undoubtedly it’s flagship tourist attraction. At times, the population can grow to as high as 1.5 million.

Although Lake Nakuru Flamingos are classified into lesser and greater Flamingos, their  size isn’t much of a distinguishing factor. It’s their different body build that tells them apart. The lesser flamingos have an extended black shade all over their beaks. On the contrary, the greater Lake Nakuru flamingos have the black streak only at their beak’s tip. The lesser flamingos have a darker pink shade on their feathers. In some instances black spots on their wings feather. The greater flamingos, on the other hand, have a fainter shade of pink with feathers of a similar color.

Lake Nakuru National Park Animals (Guide to Lake Nakuru National Park)

Lake Nakuru is also sanctuary to one of Kenya’s largest populations of black rhino. Another aspect to the active wildlife viewing here is observing the park’s zebra, hippo, olive baboon, vervet and colobus monkeys, waterbuck and hyena. Other big safari wildlife to be on the lookout for includes lion, cheetah, leopard and buffalo. The park is fenced to protect the rhino and giraffe. The only large mammal you won’t find here is the elephant.

Moving through the park’s dense acacia forest you’ll likely come upon herds of impala and waterbuck. Also, in the woodlands you may see large pythons hanging from the trees. This is the infamous African rock python that’s capable of swallowing animals whole.

Pythons are also a usual find in Lake Nakuru National park. The park is also the second best in Kenya for bird viewing, only behind arabuko sokoke national Park which is the most popular in Africa for bird and butterfly viewing.

Those who have been to Lake Nakuru will therefore attest to the park’s beauty with its rich topography of hills, grasslands and forests. There are several easily attained vantage points from which to enjoy wonderful views of the landscape and especially the lake with its undulating pink population of bird life. 

Lake Nakuru Rhino Sanctuary

Lake Nakuru National park houses one of the biggest rhino sanctuary in the world. The park was declared a rhino sanctuary in 1983. The Rhino stocking programme which ensued received white rhinos from South Africa. Currently the sanctuary has approximately 60 black and 40 white rhinoceros. The lake is also designated as a RAMSAR site. In 1986 a solar powered electric was installed by Rhino Rescue Trust. The Rhino Sanctuary began with the translocation of two adult males, one from Kitengala and the other from Lewa Downs. It’s main challenges as a conservation site include the following, population, deforestation of the catchments, siltation and pollution.

Lake Nakuru National Park entrance fees

Park Entry Fee(2020-2021)

Lake Nakuru National Park Citizen Resident Non-Resident
Adults

KSH

Child

KSH

Adults

KSH

Child

KSH

Adults

USD

Child

USD

800 200 800 200 35 20

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