Lake Nakuru National Park - The greatest Show on Earth.
Area: 188 square kilometers.
Airstrips: Naishi Airstrip.
Opened: June 1968
Activities: Game Drives, Rhino Sanctuary and bird life.
Photographs taken in 1900 show Nakuru as desolate empty plain. It appears to begin abruptly at the end of the first railway platform built ‘’ as if the bare and mysterious land beyond was forbidden territory’’, wrote Alastair Matheson in Railway across the equator.
For tourist, and bird watching buffs, the 188km2 of Lake Nakuru is something of a Mecca. This reserve is a real treat for visitors with its extensive lake and diverse range of habitats including marsh, rich grassland, acacia woodland, Euphorbia forest and rocky outcrops all supporting around 550 different species of plants, plus a myriad of birds and animals.
First gazetted as a bird sanctuary 1960 and then being declared a National Park in 1968, it is considered to be one of Kenya's greatest bird watching destinations, playing host to over 450 species. There are reported to be 56 resident mammals including rhino, lion, leopard, giraffe, zebra, waterbuck, warthog, gazelle, impala, baboons, hippo and buffalo. The only member of the 'big 5' not present is the elephant, because the park is too small. You might even see hippo lazing in the shallows of the lake's northern shores.
Flamingo (Greater and Lesser) and other water birds including a variety of terrestrial birds numbering about 450 species in total.
56 different species including white rhinos, waterbuck etc.
Lion hill, Baboon cliff and Out of Africa
Enasoit, Honeymoon, Lion hill ridge etc.
Unique vegetation: About 550 different plant species including the unique and biggest euphorbia forest in Africa, Picturesque landscape and yellow acacia woodlands.
Participate in the cycle with rhino event every September yearly.
About 156 km northwest of Kenya's capital Nairobi lies Lake Nakuru National Park. At 1,754 m above the sea level, the lake is one of the most famous Great Rift Valley soda lakes. The 188 square kilometer scenic lake is one of Kenya's most popular parks. It treats visitors to varied ecological diversity consisting of pockets of acacia woodland, a waterfall, bushy grassland and rugged rocky escarpments.
Wildlife and Birds
Lake Nakuru National Park was the go-to destination for a colourful view lesser and greater flamingoes. This was until 2012 when floods got rid of most of the algae that the birds depended on. Since then, most of the flamingos migrated to nearby Great Rift Valley lakes, notably Lake Bogoria. You will still see hundreds of thousands of pelicans and flamingos. The lake was most renown for its exquisite birding but wildlife viewing cannot be ruled out. Save for the elephant, all the other bug safari animals are easy to see.
Unique vegetation consisting of over 500 distinctive plant species
Baboon Cliff, Out Of Africa and Lion Hill viewpoints
The annual rhino cycle event
Easy wildlife viewing
Weather and Climate
While the park is remarkably closer to equator, temperatures are colder than expected. This is attributed to the high altitude. Daytime temperatures are at the pleasant twenties while nights are cooler. These temperatures are consistent all year round. April and May are the wettest months while the rest of the year is generally cold with rains here and there.
Best Time To Visit
Lake Nakuru National Park offers magnificent bird and wildlife watching throughout the year. However, as you may understand, rains may interrupt your game drive, or make conditions colder than tolerable. The game is present all year round, and visible through the sparse bushes. Flamingos used to be the top attraction ant Lake Nakuru. However, climate changes and low algae concentration have forced most of them to move to neighbouring lakes within the Rift Valley.
How To Get There
Lake Nakuru National Park is conveniently located just 156 km from Nairobi, and 5km from Nakuru Town. As one of the major regional transport hubs, Nairobi is accessible through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Check with your local travel agency or airline for schedules and possible routes to Nairobi.
The Nairobi-Nakuru Highway is one of the best in the country and driving won't take more than 3 hours. However, the best way is to take a scheduled flight from Nairobi to Lake Nakuru Airstrip.
The park is complete with comfortable campsites, guest houses and lodges. Naishi Guest House, Pelican Picnic Campsite, Black Packers Campsite, Out Of Africa Campsite, Rhino Campsite, Makalia Campsite, Naishi Campsite, Reedbuck Campsite, Chui Campsite, Soysambu Campsite, Kambi Nyuki Campsite, Kambi Nyati Campsite and Baboon Cliff Campsite are amazing areas where you can stay and enjoy extraordinary view of the park.
Notable lodges are Sarova Lion Hill Lodge and Lake Nakuru Lodge.
Make sure you adhere to your antimalarial vaccinations as per your doctor's instructions. The park and Kenya by extension, pose no other notable threat to tourists. The area is incredibly peaceful and native communities welcoming.
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