To the north west of Nairobi and Naivasha and situated within the Great Rift Valley, lies the stunning Lake Nakuru. The lake itself is well protected by the Nakuru National Park which surrounds its shores. The park is approximately 100 miles or a 3 hour drive from Nairobi. Lake Nakuru lies at an elevation of 1,745 m
The park features an abundance of wildlife and some amazing view points at Lion hill, Baboon Cliff and Out of Africa. The Makalia waterfall is also well worth a stop for some great photo opportunities.
Guided game drives are offered by the lodges and the majority of tour companies across Kenya. If you prefer to self-drive, the routes around the park are generally good, so a normal car should be fine in most cases (although maybe not after very heavy rains). Like with most parks in Africa, a 4 x 4 is always preferred for extra ground clearance and to handle any tricky spots.
We last visited the park back in 2018 while visiting family in Kenya. My mother-in-law treated us to this trip and I’ve included a collection of photos here.
One of the main highlights were the colourful pink flamingos against the back drop of the lake. Lake Nakuru was once the main habitat for these stunning birds. But several years ago the flamingos were forced to migrate due to rising water levels. They became more prominent at nearby Elementaita and Bogoria lakes. I’ve since heard reports though that populations have began to return to Lake Nakuru once again, which is great news.
Besides flamingos, the park also has a good population of Rhino. There’s lots of buffalo, zebra, waterbuck, baboons, colobus monkeys, leopard, giraffe and a few lions. In total around 450 species of birds and 56 wildlife species can be found here.
We stayed at the Lake Nakuru Sopa Lodge which offers spectacular views across Lake Nakuru and the National Park. The lodge is located 21 kilometres on all weather road from the park gate. Sopa also features 60+ rooms in a chalet style, swimming pool, buffet style restaurant, bar/lounge area (with epic views!), gift shop and conferencing facilities.
The weather was a little cold when we visited, so we didn’t use the pool but I imagine it to be extremely enjoyable on a warm day.
This was a perfect spot to base ourselves for a couple of days. However, at the time of writing, Sopa Lodge is closed and we are waiting for updates as to their re-opening.
Makalia falls are fed by the Makaila River that rises in the south-west of the Mau Forest, and creates a beautiful spot for visitors to Nakuru National Park to enjoy. The falls is are located at the south side of Lake Nakuru National Park, around 45 – 50 minutes from the main gates.
There are also hiking trails and picnic spots here as well and being a great opportunity for bird watching and game viewing. We spotted the shy and elusive Colobus monkey here resting in a tree. You have to keep your eyes peeled and you’ll be surprised what you see!
While heading toward Makalia falls, we were stopped in our tracks by two male baboons, in a full on fight. I only managed to capture the end of it as it all happened so quickly. Wow, these guys can be extremely aggressive and defensive.
You can see from the pictures there is some injuries resulting from the encounter, which is being attended to by others in their family!
I hope you enjoyed looking at some of our photos from Lake Nakuru. Although we experienced very heavy rains while we were there, we managed to still get some great game viewing opportunities. I’d love to go back, especially now the flamingos are returning once again!
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