There are a few places in the world where you can simply park your vehicle, get out and expect to see thousands of some of the world’s mesmerizing birds. Lake Nakuru National park in Kenya is one of them!
Located in Central Kenya, some 140km northwest of the capital Nairobi, Lake Nakuru National Park is the precious asset of the Nakuru district of the Rift Valley Province. Thanks to Kenya’s relentless effort to preserve its eco system, Lake Nakuru National Park is designated as one of Kenya’s 23 National Parks; it’s one of the two in the Premium category. The second is Amboseli National Park.
Lake Nakuru National Park was first declared a conservation area as far back as 1957. This paradise on earth was a bird viewing and sport shooting area of migratory birds (it’s an important stop on the African-Eurasian Migratory Flyway). Since it was declared a conservation area Lake Nakuru Park has been enlarged and fenced to protect Kenya’s populations of endangered giraffes and Black Rhinoceros.
Kenya’s cautious policy in preserving the country’s eco system means (Lake Nakuru is protected under the Ramsar Convention on wetlands), Lake Nakuru National Park has been adjusted (and enlarged) to provide sanctuary for Africa’s rare wild animal: Black Rhino. Instead of limiting the movement of other wild animals known to inhabit the Park, such as Rothschild’s giraffe, (relocated for safety from western Kenya), lion, cheetah and leopard and large sized pythons, among other wild animals, a significant part of the park is fenced to prevent poachers.
One of the most memorable icon from Lake Nakuru’s National Park is however its millions (sometimes more than two million) of flamingos and pelican birds along the shoreline of Lake Nakuru. But as well as flamingos, there are countless other bird species that inhabit the lake and the area surrounding it. These birds including, but not limited to, verreaux eagle, African fish eagle, hamerkop, goliath heron, and pied kingfisher. Lake Nakuru’s National Park is also well known for being home to some 400 bird species, including five species on global extinction list. Some scientific findings reckon that the flamingo population at Lake Nakuru consumes about 25, 000kg of algae per hectare of surface area per year.
When Jimmy C., a tourist from Dublin, Ireland, wrote of the Park in Oct. this year: “A great location in the rift valley…with great lodges and safari drives, ideal for family breaks…only wish it had been a bit longer,” most tourists who have been there said it was a genuine reflection.
As a visitor, you will be relieved to know that Lake Nakuru National Park can be visited in a day tour from the capital. The most rewarding excursion to this magnificent place on planet earth is to take your adventure further through the well connected route to the Massai Mara or Lake Baringo and proceed east to Samburu. Where plenty more wonders of Magical Kenya awaits you.
Lake Nakuru National Park’s important years
• 1957 – declared a conservation area
• 1961 – Southern two thirds designated a bird sanctuary
• 1964 – the bird sanctuary was extended covering the whole lake and a small strip of land around it
• 1968 – gazetted as National Park
• 1977- a number of Rothschild Giraffes translocated to the park from western Kenya for their protection
• 1984 – established as first government managed rhino sanctuary
• 1986 – an electric fence was erected around the park to replace the earlier chainlink
• 1987 – the park was declared a rhino sanctuary.
• 1990 – the lake was designated as a Ramsar site
• 2009 – designated as IBA (450 identified bird species)
• 2011 – Designated by UNESCO as one of the Kenya Lakes System (Lakes Elementaita, Nakuru and Bogoria) World Heritage Sites