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Lake Nakuru National Park: A Great Opportunity for a Kenyan Safari Adventure

Updated on April 8, 2015

The Famous Flamingos of Nakuru

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Lake Nakuru National Park--Location

Those who know about African safaris know that the East African nation of Kenya is one of the leading countries for such a holiday. This nation that was formerly a part of British East Africa ranks near the top of sub-Saharan safari destinations, along with its East African neighbor of Tanzania and South Africa. Although there will be quite a bit of culture shock, Americans will feel more at home in Kenya than in many African nations because of the widespread use of English, which springs from its colonial period.

Massai Mara and Amboseli National Park are two of the more famous of the Kenyan national parks that visitors flock to. Another gem that does not get nearly as much press or notice is Lake Nakuru National Park, which lies right outside the relatively large city of Nakuru. Although the Kenyan capital of Nairobi is much larger, Nakuru has a population of around 300,000, making it one of the leading metropolitan areas in Kenya.

Lake Nakuru National Park sits about 156 kilometers to the northwest of Nairobi. Americans can figure that this is a bit less than 100 miles. Those visiting the park from Nairobi may think that a day trip to Nakuru would be in order. However, the best times for viewing animals is early in the morning or late in the evening, so visitors may want to stay near the park.

Wildlife at Nakuru

The landscape of Lake Nakuru National Park is dominated by Lake Nakuru, as its name would suggest. The land around the lake boasts a wide variety of native species that visitors can enjoy viewing. The topography of the land is largely a brushy grassland in which African acacia trees are prevalent and remind visitors of scenes from The Lion King.

Some of the more prevalent animals at Lake Nakuru are gazelles and baboons. Giraffes and zebras are also easy to spot while driving through the park. There are a few large cats, but they are more difficult to spot. Rhinoceroses and Hippopotamuses are quite thick in population and are among the more common animals in the park.

The park is best known, however, for the very large concentration of pink flamingos that inhabit the lake's shoreline. While driving in from Nairobi, the shore of Lake Nakuru actually takes on a pinkish hue because of the massive number of flamingos. Overall, the ecosystem of the park is home to more than 50 mammal species and 450 bird species. Wildlife lovers will not get tired of finding new and exotic animals quickly.

Costs at Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru is part of the Kenyan Wildlife Service and its roster of national parks. As such, the 2012 rate for residents and citizens of East African nations is 1,000 Kenyan shillings (about $12-$13). Americans and others who live outside of East Africa are charged the equivalent of $80. Vehicles are also charged a fee that depends on the type and size of the vehicle.

The Park has two lodges that can accommodate visitors: The Lake Nakuru Lodge and the Sarova Lion Hill Lodge. There are also camping options. The Kenyan Wildlife Service recommends that overnight visitors bring along water and picnic food for their trek through Lake Nakuru National Park.

Directions and Must-See Vista

There is a direct route from Nairobi on the A104 road. The city of Nakuru is about 156 km northwest of Nairobi. The main gate to the park itself is about 4 km from the center of Nakuru. It is also relatively close to the major Kenyan city of Eldoret.

Those who visit the park must visit Baboon Cliff. This vista that sits a few hundred feet above the level of the lake provides an amazing panoramic view of the park at the surrounding countryside and will not disappoint visitors. As its name suggests, there are usually several baboons that hang out on the cliff.

Those traveling to Lake Nakuru will want to avoid the rainy season if possible. The early summer (northern hemisphere) is a good time to visit, as the temperatures are generally in the 70s to low 80s Fahrenheit.

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