Lake Nakuru is Kenya’s second most popular national park after Masai Mara and it is easy to see why. Close to Nairobi and relatively compact it has a vast lake at its heart drawing a massive quantity of birdlife and all the big game animals you’d hope for. Lake Nakuru is one of the best places to see Rhino in Kenya and Giraffe, Buffaloes, Zebras and antelope are all easy to spot. The big draw are the huge flocks of flamingos that are often found in the shallows.
The wildlife in Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru plays host to a fantastic variety of game and good sightings are virtually guaranteed. What Lake Nakuru has that the other major parks don’t have is flamingos. The shore-line is often thick with pink flamingos and pelicans fishing the shallows. The only major wildlife exceptions in the park are crocodiles and elephants. Highlights of Lake Nakuru’s wildlife include a large number of Rothschild giraffe, lions, black and white rhino, hippo and large flocks of flamingos and pelicans.
The Habitat in Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru National Park plays host to a variety of terrain. The soda lake provides shallows, mud flats and swamp whilst the surrounds provides some classical African Acacia woodlands interspersed with grasslands. To the West of the park lies a cliff which plays host to bush and scrub and troops of troublesome baboons. There are some fantastic lookouts atop the cliff over the lake, just keep a tight hold on your camera as the Baboons have been known to take them.
How to fit Lake Nakuru into your Kenya Holiday?
Lake Nakuru is in the Rift Valley around 2 hours drive from Nairobi. It falls on route for anybody heading to Masai Mara or the Mount Kenya region. Nearbye to Lake Nakuru are Lake Elimentatai (hot springs), Lake Naivasha (hippos) and Hell’s Gate (walking or cycling amidst zebras, antelope, buffalo and giraffe) and many visitors spend 2 or three days in the area. Typically Lake Nakuru will warrant one overnight stay and a half days game drive.
When is the best time of year to visit Lake Nakuru?
Lake Nakuru is a great year round destination:
July and August are peak season with Europeans and Americans making the most of their summer holidays, so expect crowds. However they also fall right after the long rains, so expect lots of lush green scenery too.
September and October play host to the short rains. Rain tends to fall for only a couple of hours in the afternoon or morning, so you shouldn’t let it stop you.
November, December, January, February and the first half of March are the dry season. Expect hot weather and quiet parks.
The second half of March, April, May and June plays host to the long rains. During this period it tends to rain through the night and into the morning. It is usually possible to get a dry spell between 10am and 2pm for getting out on safari. The advantages are that this is calving season and the parks will be very quiet.
Accommodation inside Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru Lodge: A large locally owned mid range lodge set within the park with fantastic views. Rooms are in comfortably furnished cottages, each with a small sitting out area. There is a wonderful swimming pool and a large buffet restaurant.
Sarova Lion Hill Lodge: An upmarket lodge that is part of a large professional chain. Despite this, it has a friendly reputation, great views and slick rooms.
Wildlife Club of Kenya Lodge: A small guesthouse just within the park. It is a little tired round the edges and is effectively self catering, but for a budget option in the park it is hard to beat.
Accommodation outside the Park:
Flamingo Lodge: Just outside the Park’s Eastern Gate is Flamingo Lodge, a large, clean and comfortable hotel. It doesn’t have much charisma but there is a nice sitting out area and it is convenient.</li>
Mugunda Guesthouse: Less practical, but oh so lovely. Around 45 minutes drive from Lake Nakuru, Mugunda guesthouse sits on the Subukia cooperative tea and coffee farm. The house is a beautifully appointed colonial affair with a large verandah and wonderful gardens. Walking and wildlife tours of the farm can be arranged as can night drives where there is a good chance of spotting hyena and leopard.</li>
All images taken in Lake Nakuru National Park by the Tourdust team