Declared a national park in 1968, Lake Nakuru national park in Kenya is one of the top national parks to visit during your safari. The national park is located in the Rift Valley floor, south of Nakuru County in the central part of Kenya. The park spans over a radius of 118 square kilometres and is elevated a 1,754 meters above sea level.
Lake Nakuru national park was first established in 1961 as a bird sanctuary and encompasses Lake Nakuru which is one of the several alkaline lakes found in the Great Rift Valley of East Africa. Among some of the park’s main tourist attractions include the African warthog, baboons, eastern black rhinos and the southern white rhinos. The national park derives its name from the Masai word “Nakuru” to mean “dusty.”
Lake Nakuru national park gained a lot of fame because of its large population of flamingos. However, because of rising water levels and in sufficient algae, the flamingo migrated from the park in 2014 and very few have since returned. Most flamingos have been spotted at Lake Bogoria over the recent years and this has been attributed to their large supply of food in the area.
Apart from flamingos, Lake Nakuru national park in Kenya is blessed with over 400 species of birds including a large number of Pelicans, cormorants, African fish eagles, Verreaux’s eagles, Goliath herons and so many more. The park is surely a great place for bird lovers who wish to engage in birding activities in the park.
Lake Nakuru national park is also a great destination for wildlife viewing safaris in Kenya. The park is said to have the highest number of rhinos in Kenya; with 25 black and 70 white rhinos. The park also has a large population of Rothschild’s giraffes, tree climbing lions, waterbucks, leopards, impalas, zebras, buffalos, hippos, warthogs, baboons, antelopes and many more.
Activities done in Lake Nakuru National Park.
Game Drives in Lake Nakuru national park in Kenya are one of the best game viewing experiences that a tourist can have, especially if you are doing the day game drive in the park. Top wildlife viewing spots in the national park include the water fall at Makalia, lion hill and baboon cliff. Among some of the wildlife seen in the national park includes; warthogs, giraffes, leopards, lions, Eastern Black and Southern White Rhinos, Hyenas, Jackals, Hippos, Pythons, Bruchell’s zebras, and antelopes among others. The park also hosts some primate species like Olive baboons and vervet monkeys.
Guided Nature Walks
Guided nature walks in the park will give you an opportunity to explore the national park on foot. You will have an opportunity to have the face-to-face encounters with wildlife in the park. The best nature walks in the national park are conducted around the baboon cliff, giving tourists panoramic views of the lake and park at large.
Birding in Lake Nakuru national park is quite a unique experience that is offered to tourists visiting the park. As earlier mentioned the park is famous for its massive flocks of Greater and Lesser Flamingos that can be seen gathering around the lake. Other bird species to look out for in the national park include the Yellow-billed Pelicans, Marabou Storks, Hammerkop and Fish Eagles to mention but a few.
The national park has designated campsites for visitors interested in camping during your stay in the park. The park has both private and public campsites; with private campsites having shower rooms running with water 24/7, camp fire areas, and toilets/latrines among others. Camping in the park is usually conducted near the beautiful Makalia falls. Tourists interested in camping activities in Lake Nakuru national park are charged differently depending on which campsite you preference.
Visitors staying in the special campsites pay USD 50 dollars for non-residents, 600 TZ Shillings for foreign residents and 500 TZ Shillings for Citizens. For the public campsites, visitors are charged USD 30 for non-residents, 600 TZ Shillings for foreign residents and 250 TZ Shillings for Citizens. Please note that all the above fees are for adult visitors.
Best Time to visit Lake Nakuru National Park.
The national park can be visited anytime of the year; although the best time for tourists to visit the park during the months of January, February, March- July and September, October and December.
Getting to Lake Nakuru National Park.
For visitors interested in visiting Lake Nakuru national park in Kenya, kindly note that the park can be accessed by both road and air transport. By road, the national park is situated approximately 155 kilometers North West of Nairobi city and 5 kilometers from Nakuru town. The roads leading to the park are tarmacked which makes driving to the park easy. However, the roads within national park are majorly dirt roads which can be hard to navigate especially if you are travelling to the national park during the rainy seasons.
The national park is also accessible from Masai Mara national park which is approximately a six hours’ drive covering a distance of 235 kilometers. This means that you can easily combine a safari to Lake Nakuru national park with a visit to Masai Mara national park.
By air, the park can be accessed from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi to the Naishi airstrip which serves Lake Nakuru national park.