Flamingos at Lake Nakuru
Elephants at Lake Nakuru
|Overview||Things to do||Suitability||Country Info (Kenya)|
Nakuru is one of the alkaline Rift Valley lakes and a fantastic bird sanctuary, its shores populated at times by more than one million flamingoes. The famous ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson defined it as "the greatest bird spectacle on earth". The fortunate sentence has now become a cliché and is used up to more than enough for promotional purposes. Sadly, the past few years have seen a reduction in flamingoes which have vanished sporadically, only to reappear later in a similarly weird way, but flocks are now greatly reduced.
The park was gazetted in 1968, but since 1961 there was a bird sanctuary at the lake's south sector. With the support of the World Wildlife Fund, Kenyan government started a plan to purchase the adjacent grounds in order to widen the protected area. In 1964 the sanctuary yet included the whole lake, whose surface varies from 5 to 40 km², in addition to a shore strip. Since its gazetting as a national park, both authorities and conservation organisations have kept on winning the battle to private property and human settlings, further broadening the park limits in 1968 and 1974 to its current extension of 188 km².
The park lies only 4 km off the populous Nakuru town. This poses various consequences, almost all negative for the conservation of this natural area. After Nairobi National Park, this is the second most accessible park, since Nakuru is the fourth city in the country and the headtown of the Rift Valley. Hence the park receives a high visitor number, more than 100,000 every year, of which a great proportion corresponds to Kenyan citizens and residents.