Lake Nakuru National Park
Travel to Lake Nakuru National Park – Rift Valley Wildlife & Flamingos
Lake Nakuru provides the visitor with one of Kenya’s best known images. Thousands of flamingo, joined into a massive flock, fringe the shores of this soda lake. A pulsing pink swathe of life that carpets the water, the flamingo are a breathtaking sight.
Nakuru is a major National Park and an important sanctuary for rhino. Both Black and White Rhino are found here, and are often seen resting under acacias by the Lake shore. There’s also buffalo, zebra, rare Rothschild giraffe and other plains game. Lion are often seen, as are leopards, resting in trees under the Baboon Cliffs.
Nakuru means ‘place of the waterbuck’ and is well named, there are very large herds all around the Lake. Nakuru is a rich source of prehistoric fossils, proving that humans have lived here for at least the past 200,000 years. The archeological site at Hyrax Hill outside Nakuru is well maintained and open to the public. This site was unearthed by Louis Leakey in the 1920’s and ever since has been a rich source of Neolithic fossils, tools, and Iron Age artefacts.
Nakukru is Maasai land. Maasai traditionally graze their herds on the grasslands between Nakuru, Elmenteita, and Naivasha. The town of Nakuru sprang to life around the construction of the Uganda Railroad, making this a centre for the colonial settlers.
Today Nakuru town is a growing urban centre with a surprisingly cosmopolitan population.
The park abounds with game. There are huge herds of waterbuck, zebra, buffalo, the endangered Rothschild Giraffe and more. This is one of your best chances of seeing Leopard in Kenya, and there are several large prides of Lion.
Apart from the obvious Greater and Lesser Flamingo, species of interest recorded here include many Great White Pelican and Black necked and Little Grebe, as well as rare Martial Eagle, Lesser Kestrel and Madagascar Squacco Heron. Lake Nakuru National Park is one of the most popular in Kenya.
Exploring beyond the lake is always rewarding and there are forests, cliffs, waterfalls and more to be found here.
Nearby Nakuru town is a busy and thriving local centre with a bustling market. The town is a hub for local transport and travel.
An excellent hike in this area is to the rim of Menengai Crater, high over Nakuru town. This huge volcanic crater is 12km across and 500m deep. Historically, this was once the site of a major inter-tribal battle between two Maasai clans. It is possible to climb up to the craters edge (2272m) with spectacular views from the top. The hike should take about 6 hours to the crater and back from Nakuru.
Nakuru has an excellent range of lodges, hotels, basic campsites and private guesthouses. The lake is popular with artists and has become home to a number of studios and boutique shops producing modern art objects, paintings, clothing and jewellery.
Main road access to Nakuru is directly from Nairobi by bus/matatu or private transport. The main highway passes by Naivasha and GilGil/Elmenteita on the way. Nakuru is a 2 hour drive from Nairobi. Getting to the lake itself is difficult without private transport.
- A chance to see thousands of flamingos.
- Climb to the rim of Menangai Crater for panoramic views.
- Nakuru is a sanctuary for Black and White rhino.