Lake Nakuru lies just south of Nakuru town, itself less than a two hour drive from Nairobi. It is a very shallow, strongly alkaline lake 62 km2 in extent, set in a picturesque landscape of surrounding woodland and grassland next to Nakuru town. The landscape includes areas of marsh and grasslands alternating with rocky cliffs and outcrops, stretches of acacia woodland and rocky hillsides. The lake catchment is bounded by Menengai Crater to the north, the Bahati Hills to the northeast, the Lion Hill ranges to the east, Eburu Crater and the Mau Escarpment to the south. Three major rivers, the Njoro, Makalia and Enderit, drain into the lake, together with treated water from the town's sewage works and the outflow from several springs along the shore.

Lake Nakuru was first gazetted as a bird sanctuary in 1960 and upgraded to National Park status in 1968. A northern extension was added to the Park in 1974 and the lake was designated as a Ramsar site in 1990. The foundation of the Park’s food chain is the cyanophyte “spirulina platensis” which can support huge numbers of lesser flamingo. Unfortunately fish were introduced some years ago, upsetting the balance and resulting in most of the flamingos leaving for the next lake up the Rift Valley, Lake Bogoria. Despite this, the lake remains one of Kenya’s finest bird watching destinations and there are still good numbers of flamingos to be seen although this is changing with rising lake levels having a big impact.

The Park also contains huge numbers of large mammals with big herds of buffalo, zebra, warthog, a wide range of antelope species plus large troops of baboons, vervet and colobus monkeys. Lions are often seen and the park provides a great chance to see a number of more unusual species including otters, striped hyena and some huge pythons. Lake Nakuru is where the game department relocates problem animals, such as stock-raiding leopards, and threatened species, such as the rare Rothschild’s Giraffe and both Black and White Rhino, making it an ideal place to see these rarer species.

There are two large safari lodges based in the park and a good range of hotels in Nakuru town. We prefer to use the old game warden’s bungalow which is located on the edge of the forest, south of the lake near the airstrip. With its own private waterhole, it is a fabulous spot to sit and unwind. Despite the Park’s relatively small size and easy access from Nairobi it never seems to get that busy down in the southern section, with most of the tourist traffic concentrated around the lakeshore tracks. The cottage comes with a caretaker who keeps the place immaculate and makes sure you have everything you need. The Park’s rhino ranger force is based nearby and the rangers are very good at letting you know if they have seen anything unusual when out on patrol.

Lakes Lake Baringo Lake Bogoria Lake Magadi Lake Naivasha Lake Nakuru Lake Turkana Lake Victoria