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Lake Nakuru National Park – A Safari Paradise

Flamingos at Lake Nakuru National Park

Did you know that Lake Nakuru National Park is home to the world’s largest population of flamingos? Experts estimate that Lake Nakuru can host between 1 and 2 million flamingos at a time. 

The exact number will vary depending on several factors, such as the season, food availability, and environmental factors. Flamingos are generally in plenty during the peak seasons of December to May. This is because the food is in plenty.

Despite their numbers being in the millions, flamingos have been in decline. This is due to global weather patterns, pollution, and tourism.

This article provides a comprehensive understanding of what Lake Nakuru is and why tourists visiting Kenya should consider Lake Nakuru a good tourist destination. In addition, We will discuss how the park grew to accommodate endangered species such as the black and white rhino and Rothschild giraffe

History of Lake Nakuru National Park

The Lake Nakuru National Park is known as the beautiful wildlife haven of the Great Rift Valley. Nakuru Park is 188 sq. km, with an elevation of 1,754M above sea level.

Lake Nakuru Park was created in 1961 and later expanded to accommodate various animals, such as the black and white rhinos. Due to the demand for rhino horns, the park was fenced to keep out poachers. 

Before Lake Nakuru was declared a national park, it was first proclaimed a bird conservation area in 1957. At this time, the conserved area only included the lake and small sections of the Lake’s surroundings. The goal was to reduce lake pollution and conserve flamingos and other bird species.

In 1961, Nakuru Kenya National Park was gazetted and officially became a national park like other parks, such as the Maasai Mara Reserve. 

After being gazetted as a national park, it was given the honor of being home to the rare and endangered Rothschild giraffe in 1977. Later on, in the 1980s, rhinos were introduced.

In 1984, Lake Nakuru National Park was designated the first rhino-protected sanctuary in Kenya. Later on in 1987, the government declared Lake Nakuru Africa a rhino sanctuary.

In 1990, Lake Nakuru Park was declared a RAMSAR site. A Ramsar site is a site that meets specific international criteria to be referred to as a wetland of international importance. For example, Nakuru National Park meets serval Ramsar site criteria, such as:

  • Supporting at least 20,000 shorebirds {Lake Nakuru Park supports millions}
  • Acting as a breeding ground for wetland-dependent species
  • Having a unique ecosystem
  • Being of global significance

The park could extend to the Soysambu Conservancy because it stretches 12.1 km of the southeastern boundary of the sanctuary. After all, the Soysambu Conservancy is the only remaining wildlife corridor connecting the park to Lake Naivasha. 

Lake Nakuru Recognition by Unesco

Unesco recognizes Lake Nakuru Africa, as an essential place to visit as part of your Kenya safari tours. Lake Nakuru Africa is recognized because it is home to 13 globally threatened bird species. It is also home to the most important foraging site for flamingos worldwide.

In addition, lake Nakuru Park is home to the largest nesting and breeding ground for the great white pelican birds.

Unesco also recognizes this park as an ideal adventure travel location because of its sizable mammal population, such as the black rhino, greater kudu, cheetahs, lions, Rothschild’s giraffe, and wild dogs.

In addition, Nakuru National Park is also recognized because it is part of Kenya’s lake system found in the Great Rift Valley. The lake system comprises three interlinked shallow lakes that cover an area of 32,034 hectares. These lakes are:

  • Lake Nakuru
  • Lake Bogoria
  • Lake Elementaita

Every year, more than 4 million flamingos move between the three lakes for food and breeding grounds.

Nakuru Lake also provides a wintering ground for over 100 migratory birds that seek refuge from the harsh European winters. 

Why Should Tourists Protect Lake Nakuru National Park?

When you travel to Kenya for tourism and leisure, it’s essential to collaborate with locals and the government to help conserve Lake Nakuru Africa.

Conservation efforts in Lake Nakuru help protect a major breeding ground home to more than 80% of the global lesser flamingos. Nakuru Lake is a critical breeding and feeding ground for flamingos.

In addition, Lake Nakuru is home to more than 450 bird species, including migratory birds that seek refuge from European winter. Lastly, Lake Nakuru Park has a unique ecosystem that creates alkalinity, enabling algae to thrive, which acts as a food source for flamingos. 

The main challenges affecting Lake Nakuru National Park are

  • Pollution: The pollution is from agricultural runoff, human activities, and industrial waste.
  • Climate change: Unpredictable weather changes cause the waters to rise, affecting the alkalinity
  • Habitat loss: Deforestation and the need for development lead to encroachment around the park

Which Animals Are in Lake Nakuru Africa?

A flock of flamingo at Lake Nakuru Africa

Though there are a lot of places to visit in Kenya, Nakuru National Park is the place to visit if you want to see hundreds of thousands of flamingos up close. Seeing more than 1 million flamingos at a go is just unforgettable. 

Flamingos in Lake Nakuru

The flamingos in Lake Nakuru create a vast expanse of pink. For this reason, Lake Nakuru is also known as the Pink Lake. Several factors make flamingos in Lake Nakurur thrive. These are:

  • The lake is alkaline, which spurs algae growth, which is a crucial food source.
  • Nakuru Lake is a suitable breeding ground because it is very shallow. The average depth is 0.3 meters. The deepest point recorded is 1.8 meters.
  • A savanna ecosystem surrounds Lake Nakuru and provides additional food to some flamingo species.

To protect flamingos in Lake Nakuru, the government is promoting sustainable tourism by ensuring that tourists do not disturb them while visiting the park. In addition, the government is engaging with local communities on the importance of conservation.

Finally, scientists in Kenya study flamingos and develop conservation strategies.

Rhinos in Lake Nakuru National Park

Two rhinos roaming the lake nakuru national park

Apart from flamingos, Nakuru Lake National Park is also home to rhinos. It is the first rhino sanctuary in Kenya, having been created in 1984 with the introduction of two rhinos that were moved from Lewa Downs and Kitengala. =

From the two rhinos, the population has grown to over 150. Of the 150 rhinos found in Lake Nakuru, 80% are white, while the rest are black. Rhinos are also in the Tsavo National Park and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.

In 2023, a southern white rhino known as Fertile Maimuna gave birth to a young calf to the excitement of the world.

Other animals found in Nakuru Lake Park are:

  • Warthogs
  • Baboons
  • Endangered giraffes
  • Waterbucks
  • Lions
  • Cheetahs
  • Leopards
  • Pythons
  • Different bird species
  • Zebras
  • Hyenas
  • Hippos
  • Colobus monkeys
  • Impalas
  • Buffalos

Things to do at Lake Nakuru National Park

There are several things that tourists in Lake Nakuru Park can do. One is to enjoy a game drive and all the lake offers.

Game Drives in Lake National Park Africa

The game drives will expose some of the world’s most endangered species, such as the black and white rhino. The park currently has 150 rhinos, all under 24/7 police protection.

Other animals you will see include the mighty flamingos, lions, cheetahs, hippos, impalas, and endangered giraffes.

The best time to have a game drive in Lake Nakuru is in the morning and evening. During the day, when the sun is at its peak, most animals are inactive and spend most of their time under the shade.

There are many ways that you can enjoy your game viewing. You can go for a night game trip, use a horse, or cycle within designated trails.

Birdwatching at Nakuru Lake National Park

Lake Nakuru has more than 450 bird species, making it a remarkable birding destination in Kenya. In addition, the park hosts various kinds of birds, such as endemic, critically endangered, and endangered species. Some of the endangered bird species found in the park include:

  • White-backed vultures
  • Gray-crowned cranes
  • Rueppell’s Griffon

Also, Lake Nakuru is home to vulnerable bird species such as the Abyssinian Thrush, Lappet-faced vulture, Imperial Eagle, and the Greater Spotted Eagle.

In addition, there are near-threatened species such as the Lesser Flamingo, Maccoa Duck, Crowned Eagle, and the Great Snipe. Other bird species that are in Lake Nakuru National Park include:

  • Ostriches
  • Ducks 
  • Allie
  • Gunies fowl
  • Pigeons
  • Doves
  • Grebes
  • Sandgrouse
  • Bustards
  • Cuckoos
  • Cranes
  • Swifts
  • Coots

Hiking in Lake Nakuru Park

Makalia waterfall at Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru National Park has several hiking trails that hikers can use to explore the park safely. One popular trail is the Makalia Falls trail. The Makalia Falls trail leads to a waterfall known as Makalia

 This is a 4-kilometer round-trip hike that leads to a beautiful waterfall hidden within the park. The trail is moderately challenging, with some steep sections, but the views from the top are worth it.

Another hiking trail in Lake Nakuru is the Saitoti Lion Hill Trail. This short and easy trail leads to a viewpoint overlooking the park. It’s a great place to see wildlife, such as lions, rhinos, and giraffes.

If you are an experienced hiker, you can use the Rim Trail. This is a longer and more challenging trail that takes hikers to the edge of the crater rim. The views from here are simply stunning, and you’ll likely see various wildlife along the way.

Tourists who want to see hyena caves can use the Hyena Cliff Trail. This trail leads to a viewpoint overlooking the hyena dens. It’s a great place to learn about these fascinating animals and see them in their natural habitat.

Lastly, the Lake Nakuru Loop Trail is a short and easy hiking trail that takes hikers around the lake. It is perfect for seeing flamingos and other endangered species.

Tips for Hiking in Lake Nakuru Park Africa

  • Always be accompanied by a guide. This is necessary for safety, as wild animals are in the park.
  • Wear proper clothing and footwear. The weather in the park can change quickly, so it’s essential to be prepared for both hot and cold temperatures.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks. 
  • Respect the wildlife. Don’t get too close to the animals, and don’t feed them.
  • Leave no trace. Please take all your garbage with you when you leave the park.

Camping in Lake Nakuru Park

Camping in Nakuru is a fun way to enjoy the night sky while experiencing nature in its raw form. Lake Nakuru has some of the best campsites in Kenya.

 In fact, camping should be included as one of the 23 things to do in Kenya. Some of the campsites found in Nakuru Park are:

  • Enjolo Campsite: The camp is the most accessible because it is near its main gate. The camp has basic facilities for campers and designated areas for setting up tents. Enjoro camp makes seeing wildlife such as giraffes, zebras, and rhinos easy.
  • Mbweha Camp: Mbweha has breathtaking views of the escarpments and is ideal for tourists on a budget
  • Flamingo Hill Tented Camp: Flamingo camp is best for travelers who would like to spend a night watching flamingos. It’s a luxurious tent ideal for use by bird enthusiasts.
  • Rhino Campsite: The campsite is best for travelers who desire to see endangered rhinos.
  • Makalia Falls Campsite: Makalia campsite is located near Makalia Falls and is ideal for game viewing, especially herds of buffalos.

A luxury campsite that is ideal for luxury travelers is the Lakira campsite. The site is ideal for luxury travelers who want to enjoy a night in the wild.

Picnicking in Lake Nakuru National Park

Baboon Cliff view point at Nakuru Lake

Picnicking can be done any time of the year, though the best months are during the dry season. This is because you get to see the animals without being hindered by the long grass. The dry months in Kenya are June, July, September, October, January and February.

Lake Nakuru Park has several picnicking sites that are ideal for several purposes. These picnicking sites are:

  • Baboon Cliff: This picnic site is located on a cliff in the northwestern part of Lake Nakuru. Baboon Cliff is a good place for sightseeing birds and interacting with baboons.
  • Out of Africa Outlook: This camping site is located on the southern Western shores of Lake Nakuru. It is the best place to have a 360 view Lake Nakuru Park.
  • Lion Cliff: The Lion Cliff picnic site is located on the northeastern shores of Lake Nakuru. Lion Cliff is the best picnic site for seeing lions. The best time to picnic at Lake Nakuru is 10 am – 5 pm. 

Where to Stay in Lake Nakuru Park

One of the best places to stay in Lake Nakuru National Park is the Clif. This is a luxury accommodation ideal for luxury tourists.

The Cliff Lake Nakuru

The Cliff in Lake Nakuru Park

The cliff is perched on a 100-meter-high rock overlooking Lake Nakuru National Park. It was opened in 2018 and boasts ten luxury camps with a mix of contemporary European design and a safari lodge.

Each tent at the Cliff Lake Nakuru is built on the edge of a cliff and has a fantastic view of the lake below. The rooms are spacious enough to allow a 180 view of the park, and each tent has a veranda to enable you to see the rising sun as its rays strike the pink waters of Lake Nakuru.

One thing we like about the Cliff in Lake Nakuru is that it provides numerous fun activities for its visitors.

Activities at the Cliff in Lake Nakuru

For starters, the Cliff organizes early morning game drives using open land cruisers so you can better feel what it is like to be in the wild. If you are lucky, a friendly {Do not torch} Leopard might hop on the car’s bonnet and nap. 

The morning game drives will expose you to animals such as Lions, the Rothschild’s giraffe, buffalos, and rhinos.

Besides morning game drives, Cliff Lodge offers afternoon games and an international gym for fitness enthusiasts.

After a long day in the wild, you can relax at the infinity pool with a cold drink. If your muscles feel sore, the Cliff in Lake Nakuru will send a masseuse to your room to relieve the pain.

Facilities at the Cliff in Nakuru

  • A bar
  • Spa
  • Wi-Fi 
  • Restaurant
  • Non-smoking tents
  • Gym
  • Conference center

Services offered by the Cliff

  • Masseuse
  • Laundry services
  • Wedding services
  • Transfer facilities
  • Helicopter transfer services
  • Hair dryer

Get in touch for a custom-tailored Lake Nakuru National Park safari. You will work with our local expert tour guides to create a memorable experience. If you are looking for an adventure, a wedding, or simply relaxing, we have what you are looking for!

Robert K

I am an entrepreneur who spends his time travelling around the country and Africa. I love to travel in Luxury, engaging in outdoor activities and camping in luxurious tents while counting the stars in the sky. My motto is simple: Travel the world and expose yourself to a world of opportunities.

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