Lake Nakuru is a shallow strongly saline lake within a picturesque landscaping of adjacent woodland and grassland. This landscape consists of sections of marsh and grasslands changing into rocky cliffs and outcrops, sections of acacia woodland and rugged slopes layered with a Euphorbia forest. The lake’s catchment is bounded by Menengai crater towards the north, the Bahati hills to the north east, the lion hill ranges to the east, eburu crater south along with the mau escarpment to the west. Three rivers; the Enderit, Njoro and Makalia flow into the lake.
Lake Nakuru was gazetted to be a bird sanctuary during 1960 and then upgraded to National Park standing within 1968. A northern section was included in the park in 1974 while the lake became run as a Ramsar site in 1990.
The foundation of this park’s food chains is the cyanophyte spirulina platensis which can support large amounts of lesser flamingo. During peak season more than one million flamingos fly to the lake shore plus 500,000 pelicans. The Park also comprises Kenya’s largest population of rhinos.The surface area of the lake uses up about a third of the park. This particular lake supports a lustrous bloom of the blue-green Cyanophyte Spirulina platensis where it takes its colour. It’s a food resource intended for flamingos. The lake is actually fringed by alkaline swamps with sections of sedge, cyprus laevigatus as well as typha marsh along the river inflows and springs. The surrounding parts support a dry savanna together with lake edge grasslands.
The weather is normally warm and dry.
Wildlife – Birds: Approximately 1.5 million flamingos plus 450 other species of bird life. Fauna consists of Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelle, the rare long-eared leaf-nosed bat, waterbuck, impala, gazelle, striped hyena, bat-eared fox, colobus monkey, rock hyrax, hippo, leopard, lion, rhino, wild cat, reedbuck and the golden cat. Migrant mammals comprise the lion, black and white rhino as well as endangered Rothschild’s giraffe. Escapades while here include; birding, outdoor camping and also picnics with the best views on the lake from Baboon Cliff, Out Of Africa Hill not to mention Lion Hilll.
Access by Road: The park is actually 160 km north-west of Nairobi located at Nakuru. The main gate and also the park headquarters is in fact 4 km to the south of Nakuru town.
Accommodation and Lodges in Nakuru are; Sarova Lion Hill Lodge, Lake Nakuru Lodge. KWS self-catering accommodation: Naishi Guest House, Flamingo Guesthouse and much more. It is possible to trip to this park throughout the year.
Lake Nakuru National park is within the rift valley region with spectacular landscape made of woodlands, savannah grasses, lake Nakuru that occupies a third of the entire park area, rocky cliffs and outcrops, acacia trees and shrubs and euphorbia forest on the eastern border. There are some rivers that run through the park namely; Njoro, Enderit and Makalia drain into the lake.
The park is a world heritage site on the UNESCO listing, first gazetted as a birds sanctuary in 1960 and then into a Kenya national park by 1968. In total the park is fenced over an area of 188sq km, recently enlarged to include a sanctuary for the black rhinos-there are currently 25 black rhinos and 70 white rhinos within the park.
Lake Nakuru is found in the Gift Valley region of central Kenya occupying 27% of the total area of Lake Nakuru National Park. The shallow alkaline lake is around 2km north of Nakuru Town and is 9km long and 5.5km wide (50 sq km). To the north, the Ramsar lake is bordered by Menegai crater, Bahati hills in the north east, Eburu crater to the south, Mau escarpment in the west and Lion Hill ranges in the east.
Lake Nakuru is home to the largest flocks of lesser flamingos that camouflage the lake into a pulsing pink mass- a spectacular Kenya Birding site. Several birds fly to the lake to feed on the abundant algae and plankton that forms on the shores of the lake such as little grebes, white winged black terns, stilts, pelicans, cormorants, hammerkop, ducks, African Eagle, Heron, Pied kingfisher, avocets and several Euro-Asia migrant species.
Large herds of waterbuck, zebras, buffalo, Rothschild giraffes, hippos, olive baboons, colobus monkeys, black and white rhinos among other mammals are seen roaming the grasses that surround Lake Nakuru and the fringing woodlands.
Where to stay
There are several Lake Nakuru accommodation facilities with luxury facilities and others as budget Kenya safari accommodation options. Flamingo Tented Hill camp offers Kenya safari accommodation in spacious canvas tented rooms with fitted bathrooms and running water. Other places to stay while visiting lake Nakuru include Lake Nakuru Lodge, Sarova Luxury hill camp and several self camping sites within the park.