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Overview

Bordering the town of Nakuru, Kenya’s fourth-largest, this smallish national park is among the most popular on the East African safari circuit for two main reasons. The first is the beautiful Lake Nakuru, whose saline shallows are often tinged pink by hundreds of thousands – even millions – of flamingos, a phenomenon justifiably claimed to be the world’s greatest avian spectacle. The other big attraction is that this is the best public reserve in East Africa for rhinos. Fenced in its entirety, the park is home to around 50 white rhino, which are often seen grazing placidly along the lake floodplain, and a similar number of black rhino, which ...

Bordering the town of Nakuru, Kenya’s fourth-largest, this smallish national park is among the most popular on the East African safari circuit for two main reasons. The first is the beautiful Lake Nakuru, whose saline shallows are often tinged pink by hundreds of thousands – even millions – of flamingos, a phenomenon justifiably claimed to be the world’s greatest avian spectacle. The other big attraction is that this is the best public reserve in East Africa for rhinos. Fenced in its entirety, the park is home to around 50 white rhino, which are often seen grazing placidly along the lake floodplain, and a similar number of black rhino, which tend to be more secretive but are quite often seen in dense bush south of the lake. Also present in this wonderfully scenic park is the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe, along with lion, buffalo, waterbuck, impala, gazelle, eland, baboon, vervet monkey, warthog and buffalo. Flamingos aside, the general birdlife is excellent too, with some 50,000 great white pelicans breeding around the lake. On the southern boundary, the Makalia Falls plunge about 10 meters over a cliff surrounded by lush woodland where leopards are sometimes seen around dawn and dusk. Again on the subject of flamingos, occasionally conditions are such that they move in large numbers to nearby Lake Bogoria, about two hours' drive away.

Philip Briggs
About the Expert

Philip Briggs has written or contributed to 50-plus editions of Bradt, Insight, AA and Berlitz guidebooks to African destinations.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Lake Nakuru is one of the Rift Valley soda lakes at an elevation of 1754 m above sea level. It lies to the south of Nakuru, in the rift valley of Kenya and is famous for the large numbers of flamingos.
  • Language: English, Kiswahili & numerous indigenous languages
  • Currency: Kenyan Shilling
  • Research: Wikitravel | Lake Nakuru

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Flamingos are usually present throughout the year, but numbers are greatest when the lake is low and algae concentrations peak. This is unpredictable. Other wildlife viewing is not seasonal because the park is fenced and too small for huge internal movement. You are best planning your timing around seasons in other national parks you are visiting.