Lake Nakuru National Park is found in the Great Rift Valley and is heaven with lots of wildlife to see making it one of the top tourist destinations in Kenya. The National park is located in the North-western part of Nairobi and it will take you about 2 to 3 hours to drive from Nairobi to Lake Nakuru National Park.
What animals will I be able to see while in Lake Nakuru National Park? This is one of the most frequently asked questions by tourists planning on visiting Lake Nakuru National Park and the answer is that you will be able to see a wide range of animals living in the different parts of the National Park. Lake Nakuru National park is home to over 59 animal species some of which include over 150 Rhinos which are found in the Rhino sanctuary, the Rothschild giraffe which was introduced to the National Park in the 1980s, zebras, warthogs, baboons, reptiles like pythons, lions, leopards although they are rare and many more others.
Lake Nakuru National Park is characterized by grasslands, woodlands and Lake Nakuru which act as habitats for the different animals that live within the National park. The best and most recommended way of seeing the animals is through game drives that are conducted under the supervision of a trained and experienced tour guide. While on these game drives, there are a few rules that you need to follow like not feeding the animals, making minimal or no noise at all, keeping a distance away from the animals, drive at a considerate speed to avoid knocking down the animals and do not litter the National Park among others.
Tourists who want to have a clear view of the National Park and the animals can use baboon hill which has a clear view of the whole National Park, the Lions Hill and the out of Africa Lookout. There are so many animals found within the National Park but we have listed a few below so that you can get a glimpse of what to expect while on your safari.
Black and white Rhinos
Lake Nakuru National Park has the largest number of black rhinos in the country and these are found in the Rhino sanctuary that is found within the National Park. Both the Black and white Rhinos are part of the big five with the black Rhino being extinct in many African countries due to constant poaching. They have the same colouring even though they are known as black and white Rhinos and they have a brown to grey colouring. The white Rhinos are known as white because of the Wijd (Wijd was used to describe the upper lip of the Rhinos) Dutch word that was used to describe the Rhinos.
The black Rhinos have been declared critically endangered by the IUCN and unlike their white counterparts that feed on grass, the black Rhinos feed on bushes and trees. The Rhino sanctuary is surrounded by an electric fence to keep the animals safe and keep them from roaming around the National Park.
Hippopotamus (hippos) are both land and water animals and can be seen floating along Lake Nakuru and its banks. They are herbivores in nature and are seen in the National Park all year round when taking game drives. They are extremely large numbers that can breathe for about eight minutes underwater and can also live on land for a few minutes. The reason why they are always in water is to cool off from the heat and to prevent cracks from getting on their skin. Although they can be seen throughout the year, the best time to see hippos is during the dry season.
These are some of the largest animals on land in Africa and are known to be some of the most dangerous animals in the wilderness. They are usually found along Lake Nakuru where they get their water for drinking and also immerse in the Lake when it becomes hot. Also known as the African caped Buffalo, they have horns on their head that they use to fight when they feel attacked by predators. We advise that you keep a distance away from the buffalos while game driving.
Waterbucks found in Lake Nakuru National Park belong to the Kobus species that live around water bodies and in the open grasslands. They normally have a grey or reddish-brown shaggy coat which becomes darker when the waterbuck becomes old. They keep on staying where water bodies are because they do not do when they are dehydrated and can be spotted along Lake Nakuru throughout the year.
The Rothschild’s giraffes are unique from other species with each of them having unique patches on their bodies that are orange-brown in colour. They have ossicones on their heads which are five in number as compared to other giraffe species. They live in open grasslands and feed on leaves due to their height and which can be seen in the Rhino sanctuary with the Rhinos.
Best time for animal viewing in Lake Nakuru National Park
Animal viewing can be done all year round but the best time is considered to be the dry season when the grass is dry and thin making it easy to view the animals. The animals also converge around the waterholes during the dry season to cool off and get drinking water. June to September are the dry months and recommended for game viewing in the National Park. You should however note that this is also a peak season with large crowds of tourists and increased accommodation fees among other things.
If possible avoid animal viewing in the wettest months which are April and May because it will be difficult to see the animals due to the rains that might interfere with your game drives.
Despite the prolonged rains in April and May, it is still possible to see the animals although it might be a little hard. The rainy season is also experienced from October to December and March and during this period, the animals keep to their habitats and are rarely seen.