Nakuru is the fourth largest town in Kenya. Nakuru County covers a vast area including towns like Naivasha, Gilgil, Nakuru, Molo, and Njoro. It is home to Lake Nakuru, an alkaline lake which is famous for its beautiful flamingoes and more than 400 resident species of birds which makes it a birdwatcher’s paradise. It also has the honour of having one of the best parks in the country, Lake Nakuru National Park which is home to many different wild animals. I have written a blogpost on the attractions of Nakuru National Park which is worth checking out.
1. Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru is an alkaline lake with wooded and bushy grasslands. Lake Nakuru is home to the famous flamingoes that make the lake look pink but is also home to 450 species of birds. It is also rich in wildlife and has both species of Rhino (the black and White). There are also lions, leopards, Giraffes, hyenas, buffalo, and wildebeest. Activities include game drives, bird watching, and camping. There are also viewpoints at Lake Nakuru including the Baboon cliff, Lion Hill and out of Africa. There are waterfalls called Malakia also located here.
There are lodges including Sarova Lion Hill Lodge, Lake Nakuru Lodge, and Flamingo Hill tented camp. There are also self catering options including KWS Naishi House and campsites.
For more on Lake Nakuru check out visit to the beautiful Lake Nakuru
2. Lord Egerton Castle
This Castle now belongs to Egerton University but it has a very interesting history. Lord Egerton was a man in love when he built a Castle for his bride to be in 1938. But she cruelly rejected his wedding proposal saying that the house he had built was as small as a chicken coop (the house had 6 bedrooms). It was completed in 1954. It has an interesting story as Lord Egerton never married, and banned all women from his property. The house was built by Indian labourers. It has imported materials including marbles and tiles imported from Italy and Egerton.
3. Lake Elementaita
The alkaline lake is a World Heritage Site since 2011. It is an important site for Great white pelicans and Flamingoes. It also hosts Soysambu Conservancy which has the biggest population of the endangered Rothschild giraffe. The attractions here include the flamingoes, the Rothschild Giraffe, the great crested Grebe, and the great white pelicans.
Activities here include bird watching, game drives, horse riding, and visit to the natural hot springs.
There are some hotels where one can stay including Lake Elementaita Lodge, Lake Elementaita Serena Camp, The sleeping warrior camp, and the sleeping warrior lodge.
This is a favourite spot with young Kenyans because of its affordable accommodation options. The beautiful Lake Naivasha has been associated mostly with flower farms but it is also a bird sanctuary. Some of the places to stay include Fisherman’s camp, crayfish, and KWS hippo camp. For a luxury option then Enashipai is the place to go.
Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake in the Great Rift Valley. Lake Naivasha gets its name from Maasai and it is called Nai’posha which means rough water. It is surrounded by flower farms which has been an issue of contention about use of the water but it still remains rich with bird-life. The lake is home to a variety of wildlife with over 400 species of birds, there are also hippos in the lake.
5. Hell’s Gate National Park
Hell’s gate which is south of Lake Naivasha is known for its natural rock towers. This is a favourite spot for game drives, cycling, hiking, and rock climbing. It is very popular with younger people. Some of the attractions include the Gorge walk, hot springs, the nature trails, and picnic sites.
There are two extinct volcanoes located in Hell’s gate Gorge. There is plenty of wildlife in the plains including lions, leopards, cheetahs, Zebra, eland, Buffalo, Giraffes, and gazelles. It is also home to over 100 species of birds.
There is no hotel accommodation inside the park, but options are available in Naivasha town. There are 3 camping facilities for those who would like to camp.
6. Mt. Longonot National Park
Mt. Longonot is a favourite with people who like to hike and has been nicknamed “sheer adventure”. The Mountain rises 2,776 m above sea level. It has a dormant volcano which has ridges with little vegetation.
Mt. Longonot is a great place to hike, go biking, do some bird watching and get views of Lake Naivasha, Mount Suswa, Mount Eburru and the Great Rift Valley. It is also home to some wildlife including gazelles, common Zebra, Buffaloes, and Elands. KWS has some self catering accommodation near here.
7. Menengai Crater
One of the attractions in Nakuru is the Menengai crater, which is a dormant volcano and which is the second largest surviving volcanic crater in the world. The wood covered carter is a nature reserve. The crater plunges 483 metres from the rim. It is ideal for hiking, crater walks, and bird watching. There is a camp on the rim of the crater called Maila Saba if you would like to stay the night.
8. Museums/Historical attractions
There are historical attractions worth checking out.
Kariandusi Site. This site has hand axes and cleavers including fossils. There is also a nature trail.
Hyrax Hill Museum and Hyrax Hill Prehistoric Site. This is a famous archaeological site for Neolithic and Iron age stuff. Hyrax hill which is next to it has displays of artifacts from these sites. This museum displays ethnographic materials, archaeology, and local ecology. There is also a nature trail.
Olorgesailie Prehistoric site. This is an acheullian site and has displays of pre-historic items including hand axes, fossilized skeletons of extinct species of elephants and hippopotamus dating back from 1.2 million years ago. There is also a museum, campsite, and nature trail.
Nakuru is host to one of the biggest rugby tournaments in Kenya, the Great Rift 10 a side rugby festival and now also host to one of the rugby 7’s circuit, the Prinsloo sevens.