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A fabulous bird spectacle

Wed, Jan 13, 2010


General Info:

Lake Nakuru is located near Masai Mara in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya in eastern Africa, about 160 km north of the national capital of Nairobi. The word ‘Nakuru’ in Masai language means ‘Dust or Dusty Place’. The Lake is listed in the Ramsar Convention of wetlands.

Avian spectacle of Nakuru Lake:

The lake is particularly attractive to the tourists for the innumerable fuchsia pink flamingos (sometimes numbering even two million!) that congregate here to feed on the algae, like Cyanobacteria, the popular food of the birds that is found at the lake aplenty. The sight of the birds sitting on the lake water leading to a pink cover or that when they fly together to form a pink cloud is simply amazing.The algae thrive here much owing to the warm alkaline water (Lake Nakuru is a Rift Valley soda lake) and what is more interesting is that the flamingos also help the algae’s existence by feeding them their droppings. Thus, it is a mutual give and take proces at Nakuru Lake that make it a top tourist spot in the final count. According to eco-experts, the birds consume a minimum of 2,50,000 kilograms of algae per hectare per year. In recent years, the congregating flamingo population is found to be declining and one of the major reasons attributed to this development is the presence of large number of tourists which is scaring off the birds. Increasing water pollution is another reason. The reduction in the number of flamingoes has put the local tourism industry under a big threat.

Flamingo types:

The flamingos that descend at Nakuru are classified into two types: the Lesser Flamingo featuring deep red carmine bill and pink plumage which are more in number and the Greater Flamingo, the latter featuring a bill with black tip.


There is nothing known to be a good or bad time for spotting the flamingos at Nakuru Lake. The birds visit the lake throughout the year, the frequency depending largely on the availability of the algae. If the availability of algae is inadequate, then the birds will fly off to some other destination like Lake Elmenteita, Simbi Nyaima and Bogoria. Thus, it is always a matter of luck awaiting those tourists who make prior booking for witnessing the Lake Nakuru turning pink.


Lake Nakuru is located to the south of Nakuru, the capital of Rift Valley Province in central Kenya.

Nakuru National Park:

Lake Nakuru National Park was set up in 1961 encompassing the Nakuru Lake and its surrounding mountainous area. Now, its borders have been extended to include the adjoining savannah land.


Yellow-barked acacia trees mainly throng the banks of the lake.


Various other birds apart from the flamingos, like the grebes, cormorants, avocets, ducks are found in the Nakuru Lake area. Besides, there are white and black rhinos, Rothschild giraffes, warthogs, waterbucks, baboons and other large animals. Lions and leopards and pythons also inhabit the deep woods.

Reaching Nakuru Lake:
  • By air:
    Nakuru Lake can be reached from Nairobi, which is well-connected with various places worldwide. One can also fly into Nakuru park from Nairobi owing to the presence of the Naishi airstrip but this option can be availed only during the dry season.
  • By rail:
    Railway service links Nakuru with Nairobi.
  • By road:
    Nakuru town is connected with Nairobi by A104, which is a starting route for many safari trips. Nakuru is also accessible from Nyeri via Nyahururu, bordering the Aberdare Range (170 km), from Kisumu at the Lake Victoria shore (116 km) or from Naivasha on the main Nairobi road (65 km). The main gate of the park is 4 km south of downtown Nakuru.
  • Sarova Lion Hill Lodge

  • Hotel Waterbuck Nakuru

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