Lake Nakuru National Park Safari

Lake Nakuru National Park

Lake Nakuru National Park is located in the rift valley of Kenya. This is an active continental rift zone that will result in the creation of a new ocean basin in about 10 million years. Fortunately, this will be a very slow process because the continental plates are only splitting apart at about 5-7mm per year.

This area facilitates the creation of the rift valley soda lakes and Lake Nakuru is one of those lakes. A soda lake is a natural phenomenon that is ideal for the production of algae. Therefore, this shallow lake is a gathering point for millions of flamingos throughout the year. When the conditions are right the flamingos line the shores of the lake and on occasion their large numbers can turn the entire lake pink.

However, Lake Nakuru is also the natural habitat for other African wildlife such as giraffes, black rhinos, white rhinos, plus many other species.

Traveling At Lake Nakuru

We amused ourselves observing the baboons at the park entrance while our guide spoke with the park rangers and acquired our permits.  The baboons can get quite aggressive especially if they think you have food. Fortunately, we did not have any food.

baboons at lake nakuru park entrance kenyaLuckily, I did not have any bananas or this baboon probably would have jumped on me.

After passing through the park entrance our guide informed us that the park rangers had warned him that certain sections of the road were flooded. Therefore, improvisation would be necessary to reach our overnight accommodation inside the park.

flooded roads at lake nakuru national parkSome of the roads were flooded inside the park due to recent heavy rains.

However, improvisation was not a problem for our rock star safari guide and we soon had a work around plan. Our guide had worked in this area for decades and therefore he knew how get to our hilltop lodge by traveling through the jungle. Plus, we would have some fun along the way.

The Giraffe Family

While we were traveling off piste we went through some pristine woodlands that we normally would not have traveled through. Therefore, we had some unique wildlife viewing opportunities. We soon discovered a baby giraffe and its mother. I have come across many giraffes on safari, but never a baby giraffe.

photo baby giraffe lake nakuru kenyaThe baby giraffe is standing in front of its mother with white rhinos in the background.

photo baby giraffe lake nakuru kenya

photo baby giraffe lake nakuru kenyaAhww, the mother is kissing the baby giraffe.

Family of White Rhinos

Next, we would be very fortunate and come across a family of white rhinos. The white rhinos are endemic to the Lake Nakuru ecosystem in contrast with the Black Rhino that was introduced. There are limited numbers of rhinoceros at Lake Nakuru National Park with approximately 75 white rhinos and 25 black rhinos.

white rhinos lake nakuru national park kenyaSmall family of white rhinos at Lake Nakuru.

We idled the vehicle for awhile and they drifted closer for some more photos.

white rhinos lake nakuru national park kenya

white rhinos lake nakuru national park kenya

The white rhinos are predominantly grazers and they are characterized by broad mouths which they use to feed on grass. In contrast, the black rhinos have a more narrow mouth and prefer to feed on leaves and shrubs. The white rhinos also typically have a longer front horn and tend to be a bit slower moving than the black rhinos. In addition, the ears of the black rhino are noticeably different.

Black Rhinos

The next day while we were out on safari we would come across the black rhinos that live at Lake Nakuru. Here are a some photos of the black rhinos to compare and contrast.

black rhinos lake nakuru park kenya

black rhinos lake nakuru park kenya

black rhinos lake nakuru park kenya

Flamingos and African Buffalo

A flamingo and the African buffalo certainly make for an odd comparison. This is because the former is so elegant and in the latter mother nature has created the most perfect sloppy beast. However, the contrast can create nice photo opportunities. 

african buffalo poses with some flamingosAfrican buffalo poses for a photo with some flamingos.

Flamingos also make nice photos by themselves.

flamingos lake nakuru kenyaThese 4 flamingos made a nice photo.

However, I thought that the photo actually looked better inverted because the reflection of the flamingos is actually better than the real images.

flamingos lake nakuru kenyaInverted photo with flamingos.

Baboon Cliffs

Overlooking Lake Nakuru is a high vantage point that sits atop the Baboon Cliffs. This is an ideal location to observe Lake Nakuru when the flamingo flock is numbered in the millions. Unfortunately, large numbers of flamingos do not like to visit the lake when the water levels are this high. Therefore, I plan to return when viewing conditions are optimal so I can witness the millions of flamingos turning the whole lake pink. 

baboon cliffs lake nakuru kenya

Lake Nakuru Lodge

Lake Nakuru Lodge is situated on a hill in the center of the park and it has sweeping views of the area. This view was very impressive and the villas where we stayed was also quite nice. 

However, there were some encounters with security that make me hesitate to recommend this place.  There are many villas at the lodge, I would estimate that there are at least 100 or more. However, there were only a few guests perhaps due to the high water levels or other reasons.

Late one night my female friend went out on our private villa deck to sit for a few minutes and was approached by the “security” guard who began flirting with her. She did not know anybody was out there lurking in the darkness or would not have ventured out onto the deck. The security guard is very big and heavily armed. Apparently, there must be poachers or robbers working in the area although that doesn’t explain why he was hanging around outside our villa.  

hilltop view lake nakuru kenya

There was more strange unprofessional behavior the next morning when we went to breakfast. One of the security guards and a couple pals were again hanging around outside our villa. From what I could tell there was no reason for this other than the fact that they liked checking out my friend. 

Very strange behavior indeed. Unfortunately, we would encounter more of this at our lodge when we arrived at Amboseli National Park and it was to be a bit more aggressive.

Conclusion

The aforementioned issues with lodge security notwithstanding we had a great time at Lake Nakuru National Park. Our guide had once again given us a great safari adventure. I was certainly going to give him nice tip when we got back to Nairobi. The next day we were going to spend the morning at Lake Naivasha and then we were driving all the way to Amboseli National Park. It was going to be a long day!

 

Additional resources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Nakuru