lake nakuru, kenya: a flamingo-lover’s paradise

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Kenya is indeed one of the most spectacular places on earth to see an abundance of wildlife. The Big Five usually get the fanfare: the African elephant, black rhino, Cape buffalo, lion and leopard. However, once you are in Kenya there are many other spectacular sites with their own unique abundance of wildlife.

Lake Nakuru is one of them.  The lake is located in Kenya’s Rift Valley and is part of the greater Lake Nakuru National Park.  The park was created in 1961 two years before Kenya secured its independence from Great Britain and now encompasses 73 mi² [188 km²].  It is best known for the up to two million pink flamingos that use its shores as a nesting ground.

It is the huge abundance of algae in the lake that attracts all of the flamingos and from a distance the lake simply looks like a mass of pink due to the sheer number of them. It is estimated that the flamingos consume approximately 550,000 lbs. [250,000 kg] of algae per hectare of surface area per year.

During my stay at Lake Nakuru our safari vehicle drove right to the shore and we were able to get out to witness this spectacle on the ground. In the distance, I also saw Warthogs, Hyenas, and several Black Rhino. If you are a bird enthusiast, you can also catch a glimpse of the goliath heron, the African fish eagle, the verreaux eagle, the hamerkop, white winged black terns, pelicans, cormorants and the pied kingfisher among the approximately four hundred species at the lake and in the park.

Lake Nakuru National Park is located 102 miles [164 kilometers] from Nairobi, an approximately two hour drive from Nairobi. It was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1999.

For more information, check out the Kenya Wildlife Service’s Lake Nakuru Information page.

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