is a major Rift Valley lake in Southwest Kenya
, the second that one encounters when driving out from Nairobi
At 188 square kilometres, Lake Nakuru National Park is a relatively small fenced wildlife reserve, of which around a third is taken up by the lake itself. The area is most famous for its enormous populations of flamingos which nest along the shoreline. Depending on the season, there can be hundreds of thousands, possible even millions of these birds on view. The park is also renowned for its populations of rare black rhinos, white rhinos and Rothschild giraffes. Predators including lions, leopards and cheetahs are also present and seen with reasonable regularity.
Unfortunately the park is immediately adjacent to the major urban centre of Nakuru Town and almost completely encircled by intense agriculture, which greatly reduces any sense of wilderness and makes the place feel like something of an suburban park. It really is not the wonderful wilderness that it was even relatively recently. Furthermore Nakuru is an essential stop on the standard minibus circuit around Kenya, which means that the vehicle traffic can be both very heavy and tonally challenging.
Up to around 1995 Lake Nakuru was considered to be a near essential component of a trip around Kenya. But these days the place has become so overrun by population, traffic and industry that it really is a lot less attractive. We therefore tend to recommend Nakuru for inclusion in trips relatively rarely. When we do it tends to be to guests who are particularly keen birders or who are prepared to overlook the downsides in order to see this famous lake for themselves
For higher end trips we tend to stay at one of the better lodges in the Lake Naivasha
area and visit Nakuru on a day trip from there.Mbweha Camp
... is the best smaller lodge close to the park, being set just outside the quieter southern end of the reserve.Lake Nakuru Sopa Lodge
... is the bestDeloraine
... is something really rather different, a fabulous Colonial Era manor house around 35km to the northwest of the reserve, an elegant retreat renowned for its horse-riding.
Most visitors to this Lake Nakuru area tend to stay for 2 to 3 nights, usually in combination with popular Kenyan safari areas such as Maasai Mara
, as well as time down on the Kenya Coast