Lake Nakuru National Park was created in 1961 around Lake Nakuru. Lake Nakuru is one of the Rift Valley soda lakes at an elevation of 1,754 m above sea level. Nakuru means “Dust or Dusty Place” in the Maasai language. It is best known for its thousands, sometimes millions of flamingos nesting along the shores. The number of flamingos on the lake varies with water and food conditions and the best vantage point is from Baboon Cliff. The flamingos feed on algae, created from their droppings mixing in the warm alkaline waters, and plankton. But flamingo are not the only avian attraction, also present are two large fish eating birds, pelicans and cormorants.
The park has recently been enlarged partly to provide the sanctuary for the eastern black rhinos and southern white rhinos. This undertaking has necessitated a fence – to keep out poachers rather than to restrict the movement of wildlife.
The park now has more than 25 eastern black rhinoceros, one of the largest concentrations in the country, plus around 70 southern white rhinos. There are also a number of Rothschild’s giraffe, again relocated for safety from western Kenya beginning in 1977. Waterbuck are very common and both the Kenyan subspecies are found here. Among the predators are East African lions, cheetahs and leopards, the latter being seen much more frequently in recent times. The park also has large sized pythons that inhabit the dense woodlands, and can often be seen crossing the roads or dangling from trees.
As well as flamingos, there are myriad other bird species that inhabit the lake and the area surrounding it, such as African fish eagle, Goliath heron, hamerkop, pied kingfisher and Verreaux’s eagle among others.