Lake Nakuru is a very shallow strongly alkaline lake 62 km2 in extent. It is set in a picturesque landscape of surrounding woodland and grassland next to Nakuru town. The landscape includes areas of marsh and grasslands alternating with rocky cliffs and outcrops, stretches of acacia woodland and rocky hillsides covered with a Euphorbia forest on the eastern perimeter.
The lake catchment is bounded by Menengai crater to the north, the Bahati hills to the north east, the lion hill ranges to the east, eburu crater to the south and the mau escarpment to the west. Three major rivers, the njoro, makalia and enderit drain into the lake, together with treated water from the town’s sewage works and the outflow from several springs along the shore.
Lake Nakuru was first gazetted as a bird sanctuary in 1960 and upgraded to National Park status in 1968. A northern extension was added to the park in 1974 and the lake was designated as a Ramsar site in 1990. The foundation of the parks food chains is the cyanophyte spirulina platensis which can support huge numbers of lesser flamingo.
Central Kenya, 140km north-west of Nairobi, in Nakuru District of the Rift Valley Province. It covers an area of 188 km2.
Ranges from Cold, Hot and Humid, Hot and Dry. Annual rainfall is 965mm.
- MAJOR ATTRACTIONS
- Flamingo (Greater and Lesser) and other water birds including a variety of terrestrial birds numbering about 450 species in total.
- Mammals: 56 different species including white rhinos.
- View-points: Lion hill, Baboon cliff and Out of Africa
- Hills: Enasoit, Honeymoon, Lion hill ridge etc.
- Waterfalls: Makalia
- Unique vegetation: About 550 different plant species including the unique and biggest euphorbia forest in Africa, Picturesque landscape and yellow acacia woodlands.
- Lodges: Lake Nakuru lodge & Sarova Lion Hill Lodge.
- Special Campsites: Naishi, Chui, Rhino, Soysambu, Nyati, Nyuki and reedbuck.
- Public Campsites: Makalia and Backpackers.
Game viewing, bird watching.
The vegetation is mainly wooded and bushy grassland with a wide ecological diversity and characteristic habitats that range from the lake waters to the escarpment and ridges.
The normally water-covered surface of the lake occupies about a third of the park. The lake water supports a dense bloom of the blue-green Cyanophyte Spirulina platensis from which it derives its colour and which is the major food source for the flamingo.
The lake is fringed by alkaline swamps with areas of sedge, Cyprus laevigatus and typha marsh along the river inflows and springs. The surrounding areas support a dry transitional savanna with lake margin grasslands of Sporobolus spicatus salt grass moving into grasslands of Hyparrhenia hirta and rhodes grass Chloris gayana in the lower areas.
More elevated areas have dry forest with Acacia xanthophloea, olive Olea hochstetteri and Croton dichogamus; Euphorbia candelabrum forest; and bushland dominated by the composites, Mulelechwa Tarchonanthus camphoratus and Psiadia arabica.
Rocky hillsides on the Parks eastern perimeter are covered with Tarchonanthys scrub and a magnificent Euphobia candelabrum forest.