Nakuru means “Dust or Dusty Place” in the Masai language. Lake Nakuru National Park, close to Nakuru town, was established in 1961. It started off small, only encompassing the famous lake and the surrounding mountainous vicinity. Now it has been extended to include a large part of the savannahs.
Lake Nakuru provides the visitor with one of Kenya’s best known and abiding images: scene of thousands of flamingos, a shimmering pink flock, fringing the shores of a soda lake. A pulsing pink swath of life that reflects upon the water, the flamingos are truly a breathtaking sight. These regal birds visit Lake Nakuru to feed on the algae that forms on the lake bed, although their numbers have been declining in recent years, owing in part to the lake’s extreme variability in size. Depending on weather conditions and the drainage of its waters, the lake can vary in size from 2 to 12 square miles (5 to 30 square kilometers). Lake Nakuru offers more than just its spectacular Flamingos. It is also an important sanctuary for the Rhino, both the black and white varieties. Rhinos, often the most difficult of the “Big Five” animals to find, can sometimes be seen resting under the acacias by the lakeshore. The park abounds with other game as well. There are several large prides of lions, in addition to huge herds of Waterbucks, Zebras and Cape Buffaloes. The endangered Rothschild Giraffe also makes its home in the park. And the Leopard, the other elusive member of the “Big Five,” is also prevalent in Lake Nakuru.