Lake Nakuru National Park
Lying majestically along the Great Rift Valley, Lake Nakuru National Park is remarkably one of Kenya’s most pristine national parks visitors on Kenya safari should consider on their bucket list travel destinations. The park takes its name from Lake Nakuru which sits at altitude 1754m and it set, 170kms Northwest of Nairobi capital city. Its close proximity makes it possible for visitors with limited time to also have their dreams come into reality while on Kenya safari holiday.
- History of Lake Nakuru National Park
Like other parks, Lake Nakuru National Park features an incredible history that is worth sharing with the world. The history of this park can be traced as far as 1961 when it was founded as a national park. It occupied an area of 188sq.kms and its establishment was mainly to provide a perimeter buffer zone to protect the lake from human encroachment and minimize impacts of urban and agricultural development. In 1993, it gazetted as a Rhino Sanctuary and currently, this conservancy area prides itself as a home to over 45 black rhinos and 31 white rhinos.
In the 1950s, it became a bird watching and sports shooting site for migratory birds and in 1957, it was set as a conservation area due to its eco-diversity. In 1964, a section of the park was gazetted as a bird sanctuary and it was during this period that its boundaries increased to incorporate the entire Lake Nakuru. Today, Lake Nakuru is designated as a Ramsar site in Kenya.
The lake itself occupies a small area of between 5 and 45sq.kms and it is an incredibly shallow alkaline lake along the Southern edge of Nakuru town, 164kms North of Nairobi. This waterbody is a popular birding site in the world given is diverse birdlife including 2 distinct kinds of flamingoes. The park was designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011 and currently, it is incredibly one of Kenya’s unique destinations.
Wildlife in Lake Nakuru National Park
The different wildlife species that make Lake Nakuru National Park one of Kenya’s premier wildlife safari destinations include leopards, cheetahs, lions, wild cats, giraffes, long-eared nosed bats, antelopes, warthogs, zebras, hippos, Thompson’s gazelles as well as primate species like olive baboons, colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys. Over 56 distinct mammal species exist in Lake Nakuru National Park alone making it an unusual game viewing safari destination.
- Birdlife in Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru National Park is of no doubt a birder’s paradise. Over 400 distinct birdlife exist in this park alone making it the best birding safari destination visitors on Kenya safari should consider a must-visit. The different bird species to identify on a birding tour in this park include flamingos-both the lesser and greater flamingos, Hammerkop, Verreaux’s eagles, African fish eagles, goliath heron, Ruppel’s griffon vultures, Schawlow’s wheatear, rufous necked wryneck, white-headed vultures, lesser kestrel, lappet-faced vultures, brimstone canary, Abyssinian thrush, arrow marked babblers, broad ringed white eye, grey-headed woodpeckers, white-fronted bee-eaters and many more. Most migratory birdlife can be best identified in this park from November to April.
Activities to do in Lake Nakuru National Park
A visit to Lake Nakuru National Park is never complete without a glimpse at wildlife. Diversity in wildlife species makes this park a leading wildlife viewing safari destination in Kenya. On game viewing tour, the different wildlife species to expect to view include the Rothschild giraffes, lions, leopards, hyenas, zebras, antelopes, rhinos, cheetahs, birds to mention but a few. Game viewing in Lake Nakuru National Park is best carried out in a comfortable 4×4 safari vehicle.
Birding in Lake Nakuru National Reserve involves identifying bird species such as the lesser and greater flamingos, Hammerkop, Verreaux’s eagles, African fish eagles, goliath heron, Ruppel’s griffon vultures, Schawlow’s wheatear, rufous necked wryneck, white-headed vultures, lesser kestrel, lappet-faced vultures, brimstone canary, Abyssinian thrush, arrow marked babblers, broad ringed white eye, grey-headed woodpeckers, white-fronted bee-eaters and many more. Migratory birdlife can be best identified in this park from November to April. To have an exceptional birding experience, make sure you have a camera and a pair of binoculars.
- Explore the Makalia Falls
Have an exceptional view of magical Makalia falls while on a hike/visit to Lake Nakuru National Park.
- Guided nature walks
On guided nature walks in Lake Nakuru National Reserve, you have a chance to uncover the diverse birdlife and wildlife species.
Best time to visit Lake Nakuru National Reserve
A Kenya safari in Lake Nakuru National Reserve is best conducted in the dry months of the year that is July, August, September, October, November, and December than January, February, March. For birders who are interested in spotting a variety of migratory birds, the best time to visit the park starts from November to April.
- Accommodation in Lake Nakuru National Reserve
The best accommodation alternatives to choose for your night stay in Lake Nakuru National Park include Lake Nakuru Lodge, Sarova Lion Hill Lodge, Naishi Guesthouse; campsites like Reedbuck campsite, Chui campsite, baboon cliff, Acacia picnic site, Kambi Nyati campsite, rhino campsite, and flamingo camp.
- Getting to Lake Nakuru National Reserve
The best way to get to Lake Nakuru National Reserve is either by road or by air. By road, the main gate is 4kms off Nakuru Town, 156kms from Nairobi. By air, one may use a chartered aircraft from Nairobi Airport to Naishi airstrip.
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