The Best Safaris In Kenya

Safari In Lake Nakuru National Park

Safari In Lake Nakuru National Park
By Stuart Butler

One of the most popular parks in Kenya, Lake Nakuru National Park is centred on the large Rift Valley soda lake but also encompasses fringing grasslands, acacia woodlands and rocky escarpments.

The park, which lies just 5km south of Nakuru city centre, is best known for its sometimes huge flocks of flamingos and a large rhino population.

The park's relatively small size and easy access makes it a great bet for a quick-hit safari fix and for those without the budget to visit some of the remoter, larger or more exclusive parks, reserves and conservancies.

Even just a morning game drive out of Nakuru city gives for a very satisfying safari experience.

Safari in Lake Nakuru National Park

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Flamingo Lake Nakuru National Park kenya

Flamingoes on Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru National Park wildlife

Lake Nakuru National Park might be small and hemmed in by the city of Nakuru and other urban and agricultural developments but it’s not lacking in the wildlife department.

Aside from the key species of rhino and flamingo there’s also some beautifully patterned Rothschild’s giraffe (one of the rarest giraffe subspecies) as well as heaps of baboons, warthogs, hippos, buffalo and various antelope and gazelle.

There’s also a surprisingly visible population of both lion and leopard (this is one of the more reliable parks in which to see leopards).

Lake Nakuru National Park highlights

Flamingos

The string of soda lakes scattered in a line down East Africa’s Rift Valley attract huge numbers of flamingos. Lake Nakuru is one such lake and at times there can be over a million flamingoes in residence here. But, it’s not a guaranteed event. The flamingos are highly sensitive to fluctuating water levels and will leave en-masse for another lake the moment conditions don’t suit them. But if you time your visit right then this pink cloud is one of the wonders of the natural world. However, take note that in recent years there have been fewer flamingos present in Nakuru.

Rhinos

Nakuru National Park is home to a large number of both black and white rhinos and you’ll likely see several of these prehistoric bulldozers as you drive around. Many of the rhinos have been translocated from other parks as Nakuru is considered safe from the threat of poaching.

Easy safari

Nakuru National Park is small, quick and easy to visit and with lots of large mammals present it makes for a perfect family safari destination.

Best time to visit Lake Nakuru National Park

Avoid the main April-May wet season but otherwise this is a good year round park. Birdlife is excellent during the northern hemisphere winter when the migrants come here on holiday.

How to get to Lake Nakuru National Park

The main park gate is just 5km south of Nakuru city centre. It’s easy to organise a day safari with pretty much any hotel in Nakuru and every tour company in both Nakuru and Nairobi offer half or full day safaris.

Getting to Nakuru is a cinch from Nairobi. There’s a good road linking the two cities (though traffic can be hectic) in just a couple of hours' drive. Numerous buses also cover this route.

Where to stay in Lake Nakuru National Park

Most people stay in a hotel or guesthouse in Nakuru city and there is a massive choice to suit all budgets. It’s also possible (and, for tranquility reasons, much recommended) to stay within the park itself. The choice option here is the Mbweha Safari Camp (www.atua-enkop.com). They can also organise visits to the nearby Soysambu Conservancy (www.soysambuconservancy.org), which offers a much quieter safari experience to the sometimes busy Lake Nakuru National Park.

Safari In Lake Nakuru National Park

Stuart Butler

Stuart is the author of Lonely Planet’s Trekking in Nepal, the Rough Guide to Nepal, the Tibet chapter of the Rough Guide to China and the Bradt guide to Kashmir & Ladakh. He also writes widely about East Africa and conservation issues.

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