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Lake Nakuru National Park Attractions And Activities - An Introduction

Lake Nakuru National Park (Lake Nakuru Game Park) dates back to 1961 when the southern park of the lake was gazetted as a bird to protect the "greatest bird (ornithological) spectacle on earth", for the future generations. In 1964, the whole of the lake was declared a bird sanctuary. in 1968, the lake Nakuru shores were added into the sanctuary and the whole area was upgraded to a National Park. In 1974 a northern extension was added to the park increasing its area to the current 188 Km2. In 1990 Lake Nakuru Game Park was designated a Ramsar site- a signatory of the Ramsar convention, for protection of wetlands of international importance. The foundation of the Lake Nakuru park food chains is the cyanophyte Spirulina platensis which can support huge numbers of lesser flamingo. Lake Nakuru National Park is managed by KWS on behalf of the Kenya government.

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Located in Nakuru County, Lake Nakuru is the only fully fenced park in Kenya with an area of 188Km²

Lake Nakuru National Park Safaris

Nairobi Lake Nakuru Safari

Lake Nakuru National Park is a premier tourism destination attracting diverse visitors of different backgrounds and with differing interests. It is the best place to see flamingoes, leopards and rhinos. Nature lovers from all over the world congregate in the park for relaxation and adventure. With over 450 species of birds identified, the home of flamingoes is an undisputed ornithological Paradise. A two nights stay will give you enough time to enjoy the numerous activities on offer-game drives, bird watching, nature walks. The greatest crowd puller is the annual Cycle With The Rhino Festival. Lake Nakuru can be visited within a day from Nairobi(See 1 day Lake Nakuru Excursion, 2 Days 1 Night Lake Nakuru Safari). A combination of safaris enables one to visit both lake Nakuru and Maasai Mara National Parks (see Nairobi Lake Nakuru Naivasha Maasai Mara 4 days 3 nights.)

Other combinations feature nearby attractions-Mt Kenya, Sweet Waters, Menengai Crater, Hells' Gate, Lakes Naivasha, Baringo and Bogoria. (

Nairobi -Mt. Kenya-Samburu -Sweet Waters-Lake Nakuru-Maasai Mara 9 days safari)

Getting there:

There are several ways of getting into Lake Nakuru Park. Driving is number one option for many sightseers. It will take you approximately 2.5 Hrs-3 Hrs to drive from Nairobi to Nakuru(157Km). One can fly from Wilson to Lake Nakuru's Naishi Airstrip. See the above above for getting to Lake Nakuru.

The Park is famous for its bird spectacle featuring over a million flamingos, over 400 migratory bird species from around the world and large flotillas of pelicans. Two species of flamingoes exists in the lake Nakuru Game Park- the lesser flamingo with deep red carmine bill and the greater flamingo with black tip. The flamingos feed on Blue green algae, created from their droppings mixing in the warm alkaline waters, and planktons.

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Lions- one of the big five 4 in lake Nakuru national park

Lake Nakuru National Park Attractions and Features

Tourists or visitor attractions in Lake Nakuru National Park comprise of what people see and do, and the cultural diversity exhibitions. The flamingo also called bird spectacle is the main attraction. Other visitor pulls or attractions in lake nakuru comprise of the pysical, geological features within and without the park, like the Rift Valley and Menengai Crater, the lakes in the vicinity like Bogoria, Baringo and Naivasha, events, meetings, relaxations and adventure activities undertaken by guests and wildlife in the park. Among the top 10 attractions in Lake Nakuru National Park include the following:
  • The home of a million Flamingoes and other Birds: 450 species in total identified.
  • Mammals: 56 different species of mammals have been identified including black and white rhinos, Rothschild's giraffes, cape buffaloes, Deffassa waterbucks, Thomson's and Grant’s gazelles, Impalas, lions, leopards, warthogs, olive baboons, black backed jackal, reedbucks, dik diks, elands
  • View-points: Lion hill, Baboon cliff and Out of Africa provide vintage views of the lake and the surrounding National Park.
  • Events- The annual Cycle with the Rhino, Animal Count,
  • Hills: Lake Nakuru has several hills including Enasoit, Honeymoon and Lion hill.
  • Waterfalls: Makalia
  • Unique vegetation: About 550 different plant species have been identified.
  • The largest Euphorbia candlebrum forest in Africa
  • Picturesque landscape and yellow acacia woodland.
  • Bahrain springs, the only permanent water source of Lake Nakuru Park.
  • Rivers Makhalia and Nderit are dry most of the time due to deforestation in Mau.
  • Reptiles:-A large number of reptiles inhabits the parks including the python and tortoise.
  • The spectacular scenery of the Rift-valley.
Lake Nakuru National Park Activities
Visitor activities, what people do in Lake Nakuru National Park comprise of relaxation and adventure undertakings inside and outside the park. These include game drives, sundowners, nature walks, excursioins, picnics, camping, bird watching and many more. Among the top 10 activities in Lake Nakuru National Park are:
  • Game Drives-Game drives are best undertaken in the morning and evening. However you can go opt for a full day game drive with picnic lunches
  • Bird Watching - the flamingo spectacle is the main fascination of visitors to Nakuru. Besides flamingos are pelicans, dartars, plovers, francolins, weavers, sterlings
  • Picnics
  • Sundowners-Sundowners/ sunset watch meals and drinks - romantic samptous meals served with sparkling drinks in the most scenic locations as the sun sinks in the horizon is an experience never to be missed. Most of the facilities do offer these on request
  • Nature walks or excursions to the lake shores
  • Camping - do it yourself/ self catering camping is available within the park campsites. You must bring your own food and firewood
  • Social bonding
  • MICE-meetings, incentive, conferences and exhibitions
  • Excursions to Menengai Crater
  • Excurisons to lakes Baringo and Bogoria
  • Excrusions to Lake Naivasha
  • Wining and dining
  • Nightlife discos, wining and dining in Nakuru town

Lake Nakuru Rhino Sanctuary

The Rhino Sanctuary was established 1984. 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.

Today the rhino population stands at 60 Black Rhinos and 40 White Rhinos. The main challenges of lake Nakuru as a conservation site are a large population, deforestation of the catchments, siltation and pollution.

Other Activities in Lake Nakuru National Park-What see and do:

Besides the National park and the Rhino Sanctuary, other attractions to visit while in Nakuru include:-

  • Hyrax Hill Acheological site and Museum: Hyrax Hill Archeological site has both stone age and neolithic exhibits. The sites dates back 3000 years ago. Within the site is an ethnographic museum exhibiting artefacts of the inhabitants of Riftvalley including the stone tools.
  • Menengai Crater: This is the highest point within Nakuru and from here you have panoramic views of Lakes Nakuru, Naivasha and Bogoria.

Lake Nakuru National Park Accommodation, Lodges, Hotels

Lake Nakuru park is served by two safari lodges, a number of bandas and campsites. Accommodation is also available in hotels within Nakuru town. In all your African Safaris, an overnight within the park gives you the best of the wildlife experience. Our recommendation is to always spend the night inside the park. In Lake Nakuru National Park, accommodation facilities include tented camps, wildlife lodges and public campsites. The following lodges are found inside the park.

  • Lake Nakuru lodge (60 Rooms and a swimming pool).
  • Sarova Lion Hill Lodge (67 rooms +swimming pool)
  • Naishi House and Annex- Self catering and can sleep six people.
  • The only tented camp inside the park is Flamingo Hill Tented Camp, There are 25 en-suite tents
  • with WC and flush toilets, writing desk, hot water and a balcony. They also have conference and laundry facilities.
Accommodation In Nakuru Town, Hotels, Nakuru Lodges , Nakuru Guest Houses

Nakuru town is served by several and guest houses hotels to cater for all classes of travellers ranging from Budget, to mid range properties. The following are hotels within Nakuru town

  • Midland Hotel
  • Hotel Genevieve
  • Pivot Hotel
  • Eros Guest House
  • Stem Hotel

Other Facilities

Bandas in Lake Nakuru:

Naishi banda; Rhino banda; Chui banda; Reedbuck banda; KWS Isikon banda; Nyuki banda; Soysambu banda; Makalia Falls banda; KWS Guest House; WCK Education Centre & KWS Education Centre bandas.

Lake Nakuru Campsites/ Camping

Enjoro campsite at the main gate.

Picnic sites in the park:

Makalia Falls, Enjoro River Mouth near the main gate, Baharini, Acacia, Baboon Cliff, Out of Africa, Lion Hill Summit.

Conservation Status:

The main challenges of existence of Lake Nakuru Park as a bird spectacle are threefold-the pollution of the lake from domestic and industrial wastes from Nakuru town, the decreasing level of the lake and the large mammal population which tends to interfere with the lakeshore breeding grounds of birds. In addition to these two is the fact that the park is completely fenced hence animals cannot freely migrate in and out of the sanctuary. Equally significance is the absence of the elephants which has resulted in some parts of the being heavily forested and hence not ideal for game watching. A major threat to the existence of Lake Nakuru National Park is the drying up of rivers due to recent incursions into Mau Forest. Unless urgent measures are taken to re afforest Mau, Lake Nakuru, Maasai Mara and even Serengeti ecosystems will never be the same.

National Parks

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