Lake Nakuru National Park lies about 160 kilometers (100 miles) northwest of Nairobi and can be reached in two hours if driving from Nairobi City. The park was created in 1961 around Lake Nakuru and has since expanded to include the surrounding areas and provide a buffer zone for protection from agricultural and industrial influences. At 188 km² (73 mi²) Lake Nakuru National Park is a relatively small park, but it is one of Kenya’s prime parks in terms of biodiversity and opportunities for sightings of rare animals. In 2011 it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Lake Nakuru is an alkaline lake, which feeds one of the park’s main attractions – the flamingos (greater and lesser). These magnificent birds migrate in thousands, even millions, between the lakes within the Rift valley and you can see a mesmerizing pink mass in and around Lake Nakuru for most of the year. The lake’s water is colored by the green-blue Cyanophyte spirulina platensis, an algae that is the major food source for the flamingos. Flamingos, as well as pelicans, cormorants and other water birds, can be appreciated from the road, when approached on foot, or by going to the top of Baboon Cliff, one of the three established viewpoints (the other two being Out of Africa and Lion Hill), which allow you to park your car and walk around, take photo’s and have a picnic.
The next big lure of Lake Nakuru National Park is the rhino. The charity Rhino Rescue focused on this park, and as a result about 60 black rhinos and 40 white rhinos happily roam the park, protected by an electric fence to keep the poachers out. Despite the lower numbers, white rhinos are more frequently encountered, even as many as 20 on a single game drive, while the black ones live more secluded lives. Due to the protective fence, elephants are the only members of the big five who do not live in the park. Lions, leopards and African buffaloes can all be sighted, and Nakuru is especially famous for its leopards, which can frequently be spotted during the day. Other impressive residents include the Rothschild's giraffe, waterbuck, cheetahs, large pythons, hippos, hyenas and over 450 bird species. Within the park boundaries is also Makalia Falls, a waterfall you can enjoy on foot.
Lake Nakuru National Park is a perfect place for bird watchers, game drives, eager photographers and leisurely picnic-goers. In September you can join the beautiful ‘Cycle with the Rhino’ event.
Officially the park’s climate is described as dry sub-humid to semi-arid. Rain showers are frequent in the afternoons. July to December and January to March are considered the drier months, but also bring more tourists. To avoid crowds, consider visiting in December, or in the period from April to June. Interesting animal sightings are guaranteed throughout the year due to the protective electric fence.