Rivaling Amboseli for beauty and nature, Lake Nakuru National Park is Kenya’s second most visited national park. Lying in central Kenya, it is 140km north-west of Nairobi in the Nakuru district of the Rift Valley.
Thanks to the diverse ecosystem of the lake and the wooded and bushy grasslands that surround it, Lake Nakuru National Park is one of the best places in Africa to see leopards, rhinos and other favorite animals on safari. The most famous attraction here, however, is the thousands of flamingos that ring the water.
Overall, there are more than 50 species of mammals and 450 species of birds that call this amazing landscape home.
Lake Nakuru National Park cost
The entry fee is $80 for adults and $40 for students and children. Try to pay in US$ rather than KSH (Kenyan Shillings) as the fee is calculated at a very unfavorable rate from dollars. Additional fees for vehicles are required, with the amount calculated by the number seats.
KWS has started a ‘SafariCard’ scheme, which you can buy in advance and load with money to use at several parks in Kenya for a discounted entry fee.
Lake Nakuru National Park highlights
Bird lovers will be amazed by the sights on Lake Nakuru – from the flocks of flamingos to pelicans and others, there are more than enough species to keep even the most dedicated twitcher happy. The view from the top of Baboon Cliff looking down over the water is a must-see for any visitor! The park is also home to the Big Five and you’ll able to spot lounging lions and leopards on a safari.
Lake Nakuru is also partly a wildlife sanctuary, with a large fenced area around the lake set aside for protecting the rare black rhino, white rhinos, and giraffes.
Activities at Lake Nakuru National Park
There are excellent opportunities for game drives and bird watching in this beautiful national park, with a range of tours available from lodges and travel companies. Try a photo safari for something a little different – the park has lots of established viewpoints where you can stop for photo opportunities and even have a picnic at one of the tables.
The park area is also home to Makalia Falls and you can leave your vehicle nearby then take a short hike amongst the wildlife to the waterfall for more amazing views.
Getting t0 Lake Nakuru National Park
The main entrance to the park is just south (about 2km) of the town of Nakuru on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway. If you don’t have your own wheels, you can even hire a taxi from town to drive you to and around the park for around KSH2000 for a few hours. Inside the park, the roads are well serviced and accessible.
Further afield, there’s a tarmac road (the main A104) all the way to Nairobi and there’s an airstrip at Naishi for fly-in safaris. If you’re coming from Masai Mara or Elementaita, there’s also access to the park via the smaller Nderit Gate.
Where to stay in Lake Nakuru National Park
There are number of options for accommodation in both the park itself and the nearby town of Nakuru. For rooms in town, try the budget-friendly Wildlife Club of Kenya Guesthouse, where rooms are clean and comfortable with shared lounge, bathroom and kitchen facilities.
Inside the park gates, there’s a large public campsite (adults $10, children $5) just inside the main gate with good facilities for the whole family. If you’re looking for more luxury, there’s Lake Nakuru Lodge which offers first class rooms, service and cuisine with great views and organized game drives included. Also upmarket is the Sarova Lion Hill Lodge with reasonable rates, a bar/restaurant and great views from high up on the eastern slope of the lake.
When to go to Lake Nakuru National Park
The climate in this region is perfect for a safari – not too hot or cold! However, there is a lot of rain all year, especially in the late afternoon. Between July and December or January and March are the dryer seasons but these peak seasons are also busier and more expensive. Avoid the crowds in December or from April to June – because the park is fenced, there’s no danger of missing the wildlife during wet months.