Famed for its flamingos, Lake Nakuru National Park is the pride and joy of Kenya’s oh-so-wild expanses. Here, it’s not just the abundance of incredible wildlife that will vie for your attention, but some pretty incredible landscapes too. A sea of pink makes the flamingos an obvious poster child for this park and although although flooding in recent years saw their numbers drastically decline, new statistics show that these blushing birds are flocking to Nakuru in their masses once more (yay!). Then there are the hippos, the extremely rare Rothschild’s giraffe, lions, leopards, black rhinos, white rhinos, buffalo, warthog and a whole lot of zebra. So, you may not catch any elephants here, but with so much else to see – including over 400 bird species – it’s unlikely that you’ll miss them.
The park’s namesake lake is of course the centre of attention here – this isn’t any old soda lake. According to Condé Nast Traveller, Nakuru’s swarms of algae-feeding flamingos make this one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Skirted by drowned acacia trees, the fuchsia flamingos and their fellow wildlife (that come to the water to drink) bring life to an otherwise haunted scene.
You’re likely to see many a hippo splashing about in the lake’s waters, whilst pelicans, fish eagles and herons also hang out in this spot. Leopards tend to hide out in the dense acacia forests that surround the lake, and it’s out in the open plains is that you’ll find buffalo, impala and waterbuck grazing. But the big spot here is a rhino. It’s hard to imagine that a great bulk of an animal could ever be so elusive, but elusive rhinos most definitely are – luckily for you, this is one of the best places on the whole continent to spot these incredible beasts. Just remember to keep those eyes peeled.
A game drive in Lake Nakuru National Park is essential to discovering Kenya’s wild heart. From watching a lioness napping in the branches of an acacia forest to picnicking with a picturesque cascade as a backdrop at Makalia Falls, this is one of the country’s finest spots when it comes to embracing earth’s natural beauty.
And the best way to revel in the park’s myriad offerings? By standing at one of its many lookout points. Obvs. With so many hills, you’ll be spoilt for choice – and when you’re up on Honeymoon Hill or Lion Hill Ridge, don’t forget to take in the finer details. Wildlife viewings are great and all but this park is also home to 550 different plant species, so it’s worth checking out the flora too.
One of the most striking flora species that you’ll come across is candelabra euphorbia. These towering, cactus-like trees have their own forest within the park which is the largest of its kind in the whole of Africa. It’s rather more exotic than your average forest, let's put it that way.
Northwest of Nairobi, on the edge of Nakuru Town in the Great Rift Valley.
The park opens at 7am – make sure to get there early to make the most of all that it has to offer.
Your best safari get-up – put binoculars, a hat and a good camera at the top of your packing list.
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