Lake Nakuru National Park – The Home of Flamingo Birds

Lake Nakuru National Park is Kenya’s most popular national park, famous for its pink flamingos that live on the Rift Valley soda lake Nakuru’s banks. The area around Lake Nakuru and the flamingos was designated as a conservation area in 1957, with the primary goal of protecting the birds and the lake from pollution.

This Park is located on a Rift Valley floor in Central Kenya, north-west of Nairobi, next to Naivasha National Park. The park’s floor is primarily covered by grasslands composed of woodlands and shrubs containing over 550 plant species, including acacia woodlands. The park is currently managed by Kenya Wildlife Services, which also manages the country’s other national parks.

In 1968, the park was expanded to 188 km2 and more animals were introduced to diversify its ecosystem. Among the introduced animals is the rare Rothschild giraffe species introduced to the park in 1977. This initiative was backed by the Kenyan government to boost wildlife conservation in East Africa. The efforts were backed by fencing the park with an electric fence in 1986. This keeps the animals within the parks bounds and against poachers. In 1990, Lake Nakuru became a RAMSAR site, the park was marked and IBA site in 2009 and it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A birder’s Paradise 

Lake Nakuru National Park is a birder’s paradise, home to over 400 bird species including the famous pink flamingos, Northern Puffback, African Fish Eagle, and many more. Other wildlife species include waterbucks, impalas, the big five (lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffaloes), endangered white and black rhinos and Rothschild giraffes. The park’s landscape includes dense forests, hills and steep escarpments, which create beautiful scenic views.

The Park entry fees vary depending on whether the visitor is a citizen, foreign resident, or a non-resident, with citizens paying Ksh. 860. Payment can be made using VISA cards, MPESA, or direct deposits to the Kenya Wildlife Services bank account. You can make a reservation online or pay on arrival at the park entrance.

Attractions in Lake Nakuru National Park

Lake Nakuru

You can tell this is where the park’s name was derived and therefore it’s the major attraction here, this rift valley soda lake attracts large numbers of flamingoes that feed on the algea that grows along the alkaline shores. The flamingoes have a bright pink color that adds to the beauty of the park. Other bird species also reside along the shores like the Montane white eye, Shining sunbird and more. There are also two flamingo species, the lesser and greater flamingoes.

Lake Nakuru also has waterfalls like the Makalia waterfalls in the south of the park, the surrounding is serene and beautiful.

Wildlife diversity in Lake Nakuru National Park

The Park has a diverse biodiversity inclusive of a variety of wildlife species like the white and black rhinos, endangered Rothschild giraffes, the big five safari animals that mark a complete African Safari, herbivorous animals like zebras, impalas, antelopes, carnivores such as cheetahs, hyenas among others.

Bird species

Besides the pink flamingoes are other beautiful bird species that reside or migrated to the park such as the black winged lapwings, eagles, kingfishers, herons, starlings, grey crowned cranes, hammer kops which are part of the 400 bird species.

Activities in Lake Nakuru National Park

Game drive in Lake Nakuru National Park
Game drive in Lake Nakuru National Park

Game Drives

Interested in having the best experience at the park, game drives are the top activity to enjoy. Providing wonderful and unforgettable views of the wildlife species. You are likely to come across each of the species found in the park during these drives. It is more like “no animal is left unseen.” Lions, Leopards, Rothschild Giraffes, Rhinos, and large herds of Buffaloes and Zebras can all be found grazing. Game drives can be done at any time of day, whether early in the morning or late in the evening.

Bird Watching

Lake Nakuru, a bird lover’s paradise as well as an internationally recognized IBA (Important Birding Area) site, is the place to visit for all bird lovers. Enjoy beautiful views of the graceful and colorful flamingos to aggressive eagles, pied kingfishers, and herons.

There are numerous birding spots within the park, including Lake Nakuru, dense forests, and savanna vegetation.


Hike to some of the best viewpoints that offer beautiful views of the park from an elevated point. These include; the Makalia cliff, Baboon cliff, and many others, on the steep escarpments and hills.

How to get there?

Lake Nakuru National Park can be reached by road or air. By road, the park can be accessed via the Nakuru gate near Nakuru town or the Lanet gate along Nairobi-Nakuru Highway. Visitors arriving by air use the Naishi airstrip, which is located south of the park.

Best time to visit

The best time is when there is less rainfall, which is from June to October and December to February. During wet seasons, the animals seek shelter and are scattered throughout the park. This  makes it difficult to see or find them in the usual game tracks.

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