Lake Nakuru National Park is one of Kenya’s 23 National Parks and one of two in the Premium category, along with Amboseli National Park. It can be found in Central Kenya, about 90 miles (140 km) northwest of Nairobi, in the Nakuru district of the Rift Valley Province.
The ecosystem is comprised of the lake, surrounded by wooded and bushy grasslands. The park supports a wide ecological diversity including Flamingos (Greater and Lesser) and other water birds, and the Black and White Rhinoceros which are the major attractions of the area.
Lake Nakuru National Park started as a bird viewing and sport shooting area of migratory birds in 1950s, but has since been expanded and fenced to protect populations of endangered giraffes and rhinoceros.
- 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
Lake Nakuru National Park is classified as dry sub-humid to semi-arid, which basically means it’s not too wet and not too dry, or too hot or cold. The climate in this area is really beautiful, you won’t fry in the sun here like you would in Amboseli or Tsavo. You are likely however, to get rained on. Late afternoon is the most common time for rain showers. If you want the best chance of avoiding these rains, consider coming some time between July to December or January to March.
However, avoiding the rain is not guaranteed, even during these dryer months. Also, these months are in the peak tourism season, so the park will be very crowded with tourist vehicles. If you don’t mind a little rain and you want to avoid the crowd, come in December or April to June (you’d also save money coming at this time!). Another great thing about this park- it’s fenced, so even during the wet months you will see wildlife because they cannot migrate away from the park.