Lake Nakuru National Park

Size: ca. 188 square kilometres

Founded: 1961

Distance from Nairobi: ca. 140 kilometres

Highlights:

Lake Nakuru National Park is a paradise for bird-lovers and one of the best nature reserves in Kenya to see rhinos. The large flamingo colonies colour the alkaline lake in a hue of pink, while zebras, buffaloes and rhinos graze along the riverbank. You can also find the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe here.

Description:

Despite its small size, the Lake Nakuru National Park impresses with its huge variety of fauna and flora. The alkaline lake, with its salt solution, creates the best habitat for blue-green algae and minute crabs, called crustaceae. This algae and crabs are the main food source for the lesser flamingos. Approximately 30 percent of the world’s beautiful flamingo population reside at Lake Nakuru. The blue-green algae give the flamingos their typical pink feathers. Keep your camera ready as you might just catch thousands of these birds spreading their wings and suddenly taking flight – an experience not to be missed. The number of flamingos at any given time vary according to the water level and salt concentration of the lake.

In addition to the 450 different bird species, the Lake Nakuru National Park also offers protection to the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe and the two African rhinoceros species: the black and the white rhino. Between the 1970s and 1990s, the number of rhinos found in Kenya had decreased drastically due to poaching. In order to contribute to the preservation of the species, a breeding programme with 19 animals was started in Lake Nakuru National Park. The population numbers for rhinos have recovered and steadily increased over the years. Today, individual animals are regularly relocated to different regions in Kenya.

The Lake Nakuru National Park is also home to large buffalo herds, waterbucks, hippos and a wide variety of gazelle species. The “yellow” fever acacia forest on the riverbank, together with the taller trees, offers shade and the ideal hunting ground for leopards. The lions make their home and prefer to hunt in the short grass savannah in the northern Lake Nakuru National Park. Apart from elephants, you can see almost all the well-known animals of East Africa in this 188 square kilometre park.