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Lake Nakuru National Park

  • Southern White Rhino found in Lake Nakuru National Park and also zziwa Rhino Sanctury and seen on a 12 day wildlife safari in Uganda, Musiime P Muramura.
  • Flamingos in Lake Nakuru National Park | Destinations East Africa | 7 Day Premium Luxury Tanzania Safari

Lake Nakuru National Park is a breathtakingly beautiful and thriving natural marvel. The millions of flamingos who make their home on the tiny alkaline lake have made it renowned.

There are 188 square kilometres of protected land thanks to the creation of this park in 1961.

Due to its manageable terrain, the Park is accessible by car and enjoyable to explore on wheels. Some readily identifiable topographical markers include the prominent hills of Enasoit, Honeymoon, and lion hill ridge. The gorgeous terrain and golden acacia forests are dotted with over 550 different plant species.

After a previous fire in the Park, the Euphorbia tree species are now being integrated into the park’s ecosystem. The 2011 floods greatly enlarged the lake and disrupted the lake’s ecology by altering the chemical balance that supports it.

Wildlife in Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya

Southern White Rhino, Lake Nakuru National Park, Lake Nakuru Sopa Lodge
Southern White Rhino, Lake Nakuru National Park, Lake Nakuru Sopa Lodge

The Kenya Rift Valley is home to Lake Nakuru National Park, which is hemmed in by mountains on all sides. Flamingos, black rhinos, lions, giraffes, and both waterbuck subspecies, as well as cheetahs and Goliath herons, are just some of the wildlife that calls this area home.

The park is home to around 70 southern White Rhinos and the greatest population of Eastern Black Rhinos. About sixty-five Nubian ( endangered Rothschild’s) giraffes have been relocated since a programme began in 1977.

The rock hyrax thrives in rocky areas because of the variety in terrain. Leopards and lions are two of the animals that are currently in the area. Spotted and striped hyenas, serval cats, silver-backed and side-stripe jackals, mongooses, civets, and genets are just some of the other animals that call this area home. There are also zebras, giraffes, and buffalo in the area. Sorrowful olive baboons and intriguing black-faced vervet monkeys are the most often seen primates, while regal bands of colobus monkeys frolic proudly through the treetops.

Southern White Rhino in Lake Nakuru National Park, Musiime P Muramura.
Southern White Rhino in Lake Nakuru National Park, Musiime P Muramura.

The Baboon Cliff, Out of Africa Hill, and Makalia waterfalls are all fantastic places to go on a picnic if you’re looking for a place to kick back, relax, and take a deep breath of fresh air.  Herds of beautiful impalas, hairy waterbucks, and the timid bushbuck live in the acacia forests.

In all, there are over 550 distinct plant species, including the largest euphorbia forest in Africa, picturesque scenery, and golden acacia woodland.

Birdlife and Bird watching Safaris

Flamingos at Lake Nakuru National Park
Flamingos at Lake Nakuru National Park Riley 2020, Cliff Boat Safaris

If you’re a bird enthusiast, you should definitely check out Kenya’s Lake Nakuru National Park. There are 535 known species of birds, and 18 of them are endangered. The full list is on Avibase – Lake Nakuru National Park.  Millions of greater and lesser flamingos, as well as the African fish eagle, pelican, Goliath heron, secretary bird, hamerkop, pied kingfisher, grebe, and Verreaux’s eagle, may be seen in this park at any one moment. Many of these birds populate the area immediately next to and around the lake.

The Lake used to harbour over 1.5 million flamingos, however, since the floods of 2011/12, the Flamingo populations have dropped because of an abundance of water that has diluted the alkaline levels necessary to sustain the algae the birds eat. It has also been discovered that there has been an increase in underground sources that also contribute to the increase in water levels.

Activities and Attractions

  1. Wildlife Viewing: Lake Nakuru National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including hippopotamus, lions, leopards, giraffes, buffaloes, zebras, and rhinos. One of the main attractions was the large population of pink flamingos that used to gather at the lake in millions, creating a stunning pink carpet that’s a sight to behold. However, due to flooding of the Lake, most have now migrated to the nearby rift valley lakes including Lake Naivasha, Lake Bogoria, Lake Baringo and Lake Natron in Tanzania
  2. Bird Watching: Lake Nakuru is a bird-watcher’s paradise with 535 bird species recorded in the park. Apart from the greater and lesser flamingos, other bird species that can be seen include pelicans, eagles, herons, and storks.
  3. Game Drives: Game drives are a popular activity in the park, allowing visitors to explore the park’s diverse wildlife and landscapes. Guided game drives are available, and visitors can either choose a half-day or full-day tour to explore the park.
  4. Hiking and Walking Safaris: Lake Nakuru National Park offers several hiking and walking safari trails that allow visitors to experience the park’s spectacular landscape up close. One popular trail is the Baboon Cliff, which offers stunning panoramic views of the park.
  5. Camping: Lake Nakuru National Park has several campsites where visitors can camp overnight and enjoy the park’s peaceful and serene environment.
  6. Rhino Sanctuary: The park is also home to a rhino sanctuary, which was established to protect the endangered black and white rhino. Visitors can take a tour of the sanctuary and learn about the conservation efforts being made to protect these majestic animals.

Visit the park’s lookout spots, such as Out of Africa Hill, Lion Hill, and Baboon Cliff, to get the greatest views of the lake.

Local Communities

The Kikuyu and Maasai are only two of the indigenous groups that may be found in the vicinity of Lake Nakuru National Park.
Water, pasture, and wildlife are just some of the park’s natural resources that these towns have traditionally relied on to make ends meet.

Weather and Climate

The temperature of Lake Nakuru National Park is mild, however, it may be hot and humid, albeit not as hot as other places of Kenya, such as Amboseli National Park.

Getting to the Park

Lake Nakuru National Park is a wonderful picnic place around 3.5 hours away from the capital city through the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.
If you are short on time but still want to see one of Kenya’s national parks, this is a terrific option for a day trip.

The Lanet Gate on the major Nairobi-Nakuru road serves as another entrance to the park. Those entering the park from the Masai Mara or Elementaita do so via the Nderit Gate.

Accommodation: Lodges and Camping options

The Cliff Tented Bedroom, Lake Nakuru National park
The Cliff Tented Bedroom, Lake Nakuru National park

It’s crucial to choose the correct lodging if you want to make the most of your trip to the park. Here are some alternatives to think about:

  1. Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge: One of the greatest resorts in the park, Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge is perched on a hilltop with a view of Lake Nakuru. The lodge has opulent suites with expansive park views, a pool, and a restaurant offering delectable dishes from across the world.
  2. The Cliff: The Cliff is an opulent lodging establishment within the Lake Nakuru National Park that offers visitors unrivalled views of both the park and the Great Rift Valley. The hotel’s 10 luxurious tent rooms are situated along a cliff’s edge and provide breathtaking views of the park’s scenery and animals.
  3. Lake Nakuru Lodge: Located within the park, the Lake Nakuru Lodge provides breathtaking views of the lake. It has cosy accommodations and a restaurant on site that serves a range of cuisines. Game drives and bird viewing trips are also available from the resort.
  4. Lake Nakuru Flamingo Lodge: Even though it’s outside the park, the Lake Nakuru Flamingo Lodge has spectacular views of the lake. The resort has cosy accommodations, a pool, and a restaurant that serves both foreign and regional cuisine.
  5. Merica Hotel: Merica Hotel is a fantastic low-cost choice and is situated in Nakuru town, approximately a 30-minute drive from the park. It features a restaurant providing both local and foreign cuisine, a bar, and tidy, comfortable rooms with basic facilities.
  6. Mbweha Camp: A short distance from the park, Mbweha Camp provides opulent tents with private toilets, a pool, and a restaurant offering delectable food. The camp also provides guided hikes, bird viewing trips, and game drives.
  7. Mialo Saba Camp: The Mialo Saba Camp provides a more upscale and private safari experience since it is located in a private conservancy close to the park. It offers a range of activities, including game drives and guided walks, as well as luxurious tents with private toilets, a restaurant offering both local and foreign cuisine, and luxury tents.
  8. Mirius Guesthouse: This is a low-cost guesthouse in Nakuru town. It has a lawn, a communal kitchen, and tidy, pleasant rooms. For visitors seeking reasonably priced lodging near the park, the guesthouse is a fantastic choice.
  9. Hotel Waterbuck Nakuru: This lodging establishment, which is situated in Nakuru Town, has cosy rooms with basic facilities, a restaurant that serves both local and foreign food, and a bar. It’s a fantastic choice for tourists on a tight budget who wish to visit the park during the day and remain in the city at night.


Sample 3-Day Trip for a first-time visitor to Lake Nakuru National Park:

This itinerary has been carefully crafted to offer an unforgettable experience of the park’s stunning landscapes, abundant wildlife, and incredible birdlife.  You will witness enormous numbers of flamingos that gather along the lake’s edge, spot the Black Rhino and the Southern White Rhino that live in the park, and keep your eyes peeled for the elusive leopard. This is your chance to encounter the Big five in the shortest time.

Day 1: Travel from Nairobi to Lake Nakuru National Park

Arrive in time for lunch at your accommodation after departing from Nairobi for Lake Nakuru National Park. Following lunch, embark on a wildlife drive in the evening to witness the enormous numbers of flamingos that are gathered along the lake’s edge.

In addition to the abundant birdlife for which Nakuru is famous, the park is home to a wide variety of other animal species, such as lions, leopards, black rhinoceroses, white rhinoceroses, buffalo, Nubian (Rothschild’s) giraffes, zebras, impalas, and waterbuck.
Spend the night at Lake Nakuru Sopa Lodge or Sarova Lion Hill Lodge.

Day 2: Discover Lake Nakuru National Park

An early morning wildlife drive before breakfast to hoping to see leopards, which are regularly spotted in the Park, and then returning to the resort for breakfast. Just after breakfast, go on another drive to look for the two types of rhinos that live in the park. The afternoon is free to relax by the lodge’s pool before an evening game drive in the park.
Spend the night at Lake Nakuru Sopa Lodge or Sarova Lion Hill Lodge.

Day 3: Travel to Nairobi from Lake Nakuru

Early morning wildlife drive followed by a road journey back to Nairobi after breakfast.


Frequently Asked Questions

Lake Naivasha versus Lake Nakuru, which is better?

Both Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru are breathtaking locations with distinctive features. Lake Nakuru is famed for its wealth of wildlife, including rare white rhinoceros and pink flamingos. On the other side, Lake Naivasha is the bigger lake at over 138 km2 as compared to the 45 km2 Nakuru. It is also a birdwatcher’s paradise with a recorded 530 species of birds. Boat trips and trekking are only two of the several activities available at Lake Naivasha. Which one is best ultimately depends on your choices and interests.

What time of year are flamingos in Lake Nakuru?

The dry season, which runs from July to October and January to February, is the greatest time to watch flamingos in Lake Nakuru. When the lake’s water levels are low, it is simpler for flamingos to eat the algae and other microscopic animals that develop in the shallow waters.

How much is the admission charge for Nakuru national park?

Depending on your country and residence status, there are different admission fees for Lake Nakuru National Park. The entrance cost for non-residents is $60 USD for adults and $35 USD for children. The cost of admission for Kenyan citizens is Kshs. 1,200 for adults and Kshs. 300 for children. Citizens of East Africa pay Kshs. 1,000 per adult and Kshs. 200 per kid.

What is the ideal time to visit Lake Nakuru National Park?

The months of July through September and December through February, which fall within the dry season, are the ideal time to explore Lake Nakuru National Park. It is easier to detect animals at this time since the weather is dry and sunny. Also, during the dry season, the grasslands in the park are shorter, making it simpler to see creatures like lions and leopards.