Best Things To Do In Lake Nakuru National Park

In this article, we cover the Best Things To Do In Lake Nakuru National Park. Surrounded by marshes, woodland and grassland, Lake Nakuru, is situated in the Great Rift Valley and the park is managed by Kenya wildlife service. The park covers 73 square miles and not only includes the lake, but also the savannah, forests and swamps, and the southern end of the park also encompasses the Makalia Falls. Famous for its rhinoceros sanctuary, Lake NakNational Parkpark is an ideal place to visit in Kenya.

The park is an excellent spot for wildlife spotting and is home to water-loving animals like hippos and many more. Established in 1961, Lake Nakuru Park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is renowned for its incredibly vast flamingoes that turn the lake into pink colour. It is supposed to be the greatest bird spectacle in the world and is one of most the famous parks in Kenya.

The lake varies in size from five to 30 square kilometres depending on rainfall and is rich in birdlife; there are 400 resident species on the lake and in the surrounding national park. In addition to its 400 species of birds, Lake Nakuru National Park is home to 50+ mammal species and over 500 species of flora. Recently the park has gathered tourists more because of its leopard sightings and the rare Rothschild’s giraffe. The acacia and euphorbia forests are na ow haven for animals during the day, making Lake Nakuru an excellent wildlife destination in Kenya

A brief history of Lake Nakuru National Park

Lake Nakuru is a shallow, alkaline lake. Lake Nakuru has been recognised as a conservation area as far back as 1957. It was declared a bird sanctuary in 1961, before being officially announced as a national park in 1968, extending its boundaries to cover a total area of 188 sq km. In 1977, endangered Rothschild’s giraffes were introduced from western Kenya to protect their population, and in 1984, it was designated as Kenya’s first rhino sanctuary.

The lake itself, which lies at 1,754m (5,755ft) above sea level, became a wetland site of international importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1990, and, in 2011, was awarded Unesco World Heritage status, along with nearby Lake Bogoria and Lake Elementaita. It’s also internationally recognised as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA), home to an estimated 450 bird species.

Up until 2012, Lake Nakuru was renowned for its vast flamingo population (sometimes exceeding 1.5 million), which covered the lake in a blanket of pink. Since 2012, rising water levels from heavy flooding have drastically reduced this phenomenon, shrinking the flamingos’ breeding and feeding grounds. More recently there have been promising signs of flamingos returning, which bodes well for the health of the park’s biodiversity and its tourism industry.

How to Reach Lake Nakuru National Park

Getting from Nairobi to Nakuru by car is very straightforward – just follow the A104 road the whole way there. From Nakuru town, the entrance to the national park is 4km to the south. If you’re coming from Maasai Mara National Reserve, it’s around a five-hour journey along a combination of tarmacked and gravel roads.

It’s also possible to fly from Nairobi to the Naishi airstrip at the southern end of Lake Nakuru National Park, which only takes half an hour – although this route doesn’t always operate, so it’s worth checking the schedules closer to the time of your visit if you intend to fly.

 Top Things To Do In Lake Nakuru National Park

1. Game drives

Lake Nakuru National Park is one of the most popular destinations for game drives in Kenya after Masai Mara and Amboseli. Upon your visit, you can book a guided tour or self-drive through the park to see a wide range of wildlife, including the famous flamingos, rhinos, buffalos, giraffes, zebras, baboons, and more. Game drives in Lake Nakuru usually take place early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the wildlife is most active. Due to the many things to do while in Lake Nakuru, expect to spend a few hours exploring the park, stopping to observe and photograph animals along the way. In addition to the wildlife, game drives in Lake Nakuru offer the chance to see the park’s diverse landscapes, which include woodlands, grasslands, and acacia forests.

2. Bird watching

Lake Nakuru, a renowned birdwatching destination in Kenya, has over 400 bird species. Being a birding hotspot, bird watching is for sure every visitor’s top thing to do in Lake Nakuru National Park during your safari. The lake’s shallow waters and surrounding forests, grasslands, and acacia woodlands provide habitats for a diverse range of bird species, including both resident and migratory birds.

Some of the bird species commonly seen in Lake Nakuru include flamingos, pelicans, cormorants, herons, egrets, kingfishers, eagles, vultures, and many more. The best time for birdwatching in Lake Nakuru is during the dry season, between July and October when the lake is at its lowest and the birdlife is concentrated in smaller areas.

You can take a guided birdwatching tour or explore the park on your own to observe the birds. Some popular birdwatching spots in the park include the shores of the lake, the acacia forests, and the cliffs overlooking the lake. You can also visit the nearby Lake Naivasha, which is another popular bird-watching destination in the area

3. Nature walks

It is always good to get out of the car and feel the grass beneath your feet as you stroll through the park enjoying the cool breeze of fresh air with whispers of bird songs. This is the perfect opportunity to explore the park’s diverse flora and fauna up close. Guided nature walks are led by experienced park rangers who provide information about the park’s wildlife, plants, and conservation efforts.

During your nature walks, you can explore different parts of the park, including the lake’s shoreline, acacia woodlands, and grasslands. Along the way, you may spot a variety of wildlife, such as giraffes, buffalos, zebras, baboons, and various bird species.

Nature walks in Lake Nakuru provide a unique and intimate experience of the park’s ecosystem, allowing you to appreciate its beauty and complexity on a more personal level. You can also learn about the park’s conservation efforts and the challenges faced by the park in preserving its biodiversity. We recommend that you wear appropriate clothing and footwear for walking on uneven terrain and bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and plenty of water.

4. Visit the Makalia Falls

Located on the southern end of the park, Makalia Falls is a stunning sight to behold. Visitors can hike to the falls and enjoy a picnic while taking in the beautiful scenery. The falls are a popular attraction for visitors to the park, and they provide a beautiful backdrop for photography and sightseeing. Visitors can view the falls from a nearby viewpoint or take a short hike to get closer to the falls

5. Visit the Baboon Cliff

Baboon Cliff is a popular viewpoint located in Lake Nakuru National Park. It forms one of the must-visit places in Lake Nakuru due to what it has to offer. It is named after the baboons who are often seen climbing and playing antics on the cliffs. The cliff is situated on the eastern side of the lake, and it offers visitors a stunning panoramic view of the lake and its surroundings.

From Baboon Cliff, visitors can see the lake’s shimmering waters and pink flamingos in their thousands that are often seen wading in the shallows. The view from the cliff is particularly beautiful at sunset when the lake is bathed in golden light. The area around the cliff is a popular spot for birdwatching, and you can also see other wildlife such as zebras, giraffes, and buffalos. The Cliff is accessible by road, and you can drive or take a guided tour by Denki Travel

6. Visit the Rhino Sanctuary

The Lake Nakuru Rhino Sanctuary is an important conservation area that provides a safe habitat for the endangered rhinos and contributes to the overall conservation efforts in the region. A visit to the Rhino sanctuary should be a top priority among the things to do in Lake Nakuru National Park.

The sanctuary which is home to more than 70 black and white rhinos, is one of the largest concentrations of rhinos in East Africa. You can take a guided tour and game drive to see the rhinos and other wildlife, such as buffalo, baboons, and various bird species. The sanctuary is also an important breeding ground for the rhinos, and you may have the opportunity to see young rhinos with their mothers grazing around.

7. Camping

Camping is an exciting adventure that allows you to sleep under the sky in the wild to experience nature and the wild first-hand. Lake Nakuru National parisng one of the top camping destinations in Kena; it gives campers more than just sleeping undethe r sky in tents; campersLakelake Nakuru national park get enjoy the enjoy the unique vegetation in the prk, the semi-humid weather and if one is lucky they get to see a few animals up close Lake Nakuru national park has seven operational camping sites that spread in the northern and southern parts of the campers can expect to enjoy cool weather in the night, beautiful sky campers can expect to enjoy cool weather in the night, beautiful sky viws, magnificent views of the concentrated flamingos resembling a pink blanket covering the surface of Lake Nakuru national park and scenic views of the surrounding in the park.

  • Enjoro campsite; This campsite is just next to the park’s main gate hence very accessible and the most used by the park’s visitors.
  • Nakuru tented camp; Nakuru tented camp is one of the quiet and calm campsites in Lake Nakuru National Park.
  • Mbweha camp; Mbweha campsite is known to be the most delightful campsite with the most adorable game viewing, watching and nature experiences,
  • Flamingo Hill tented camp; Located on the shores of Lake Nakuru, this campsite is considered a luxury campsite and is a most demanded campsite because it gives campers the best birding viewpoints.
  • Lakira camp. Also known aa s luxury campsite located within Lake Nakuru national park at the edges of Lake Nakuru.
  • Rhino campsite; Known as the most traditional campsite in the Lake Nakuru national park, the greatest selling point to view endangered rhinos in the park. This campsite is basic to the details all guests who visit this site have e real meaning of camping without any additives.
  • Makalia Falls Camp is one of the greater experiences of the water fall breeze and sounds and game viewing especially herds of buffalos.

8. Picnicking

Picnicking is one of the activities that Lake Nakuru National Park offers in its full splendour. Several designated picnic sites within the park offer beautiful views of the lake and surrounding landscapes. The picnic sites are equipped with picnic tables and benches, as well as basic amenities such as toilets and trash cans.

You and your friends can bring your food and drinks to enjoy a picnic in the park, or still you can order meals from the park’s restaurants and cafes. Some popular picnic sites in Lake Nakuru include the Baboon Cliff Picnic Site and the Makalia Falls Picnic Site, both of which offer breathtaking views of the park’s landscapes and wildlife. Picnicking in Lake Nakuru provides a relaxing and enjoyable way to experience the park’s natural beauty and wildlife.

9. Pink Flamingos on the lake

The sight of thousands of pink flamingos feeding on the surface of Lake Nakuru is one of the world’s great wildlife spectacles. A few years ago, millions of these elegant, colourful birds could be seen at any one time on the lake. Then, mysteriously, they disappeared altogether. Now they’ve returain, but in diminished numbers, as they migrate out to other lakes across the Rift Valley too. At Lake Nakuru though, there are still thousands of flamingo to be seen. This majestic sight is best observed at the height of the dry season in January and February when the birds are at their most numerous.

10. The Out of Africa lookout

Out of Africa was the film that inspired a generation of travellers to undertake safaris in Africa. This classic movie was filmed in part within Lake Nakuru National Park, and many shots were taken from a lofty hilltop that’s become known as ‘The Out of Africa Lookout’. Drive to the top of this steep hill for excellent views across the entirety of Lake Nakuru and the surrounding land, and immerse yourself in the romantic scenes that inspired the film.

Best Time To Visit Lake Nakuru National Park

Given that Kenya sits directly on the equator, temperatures don’t tend to fluctuate a great deal throughout the year. Due to Lake Nakuru National Park’s high altitude, it usually avoids the scorchingly hot weather you might expect elsewhere in the country, with temperatures typically hovering around 25-28C (77-82F) during the daytime and dropping overnight to around 10C (50F).

The best time to visit is during one of the dry seasons – either between July and early October, or January through until early March – as these months provide optimal conditions for wildlife viewing. April and May tend to be the wettest months, and are therefore best avoided, as many animals seek shelter during heavy rains, while dirt tracks used for game drives are rendered unfit for purpose.

Where To Stay

There’s an excellent variety of places to stay both within Lake Nakuru National Park and just outside – it all depends on your budget and what kind of experience you’re after. Most lodges and camps offer safari experiences, including game drives, bush walks bird-watching excursions with experienced park rangers.

Within the park, Lake Nakuru Lodge is a delightful eco-friendly retreat surrounded by wilderness, meaning you’ll have a chance to spot wildlife directly from your accommodation. Facilities include a large outdoor pool, a spa, and an on-site restaurant serving delicious Kenyan and Indian cuisine, plus traditional bush barbecues.

Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge, overlooking the eastern shore of Lake Nakuru, is another outstanding choice, featuring 67 luxurious villas, a panoramic terrace bar and an organic vegetable garden that provides fresh ingredients used in the on-site restaurant. Flamingo Hill Tented Camp and Mbweha Camp, both on the outer edges of the park, are also options worth considering.

If you don’t mind staying just outside the park, there are plenty of hotels in Nakuru town, such as Sarova Woodlands Hotel and Spa, which offers spacious, air-conditioned rooms, two restaurants serving an eclectic mix of cuisines and an outdoor pool. You can spend a night there, and enjoy a game drive in Lake Nakuru National Park.

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