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Nakuru is the largest town in the Rift Valley lakes region and is a good place to stock up on provisions and browse for crafts in the good curio market. It’s also on the edge of the Lake Nakuru National Park, which is one of Kenya’s most popular parks to visit, thanks to its accessibility and proximity to Nairobi. The chances of seeing animals, such as rhino and leopard, are much better here than in other parks and reserves, and the flamingos on the lake itself and on other lakes in the region are spectacular.
The next major town along from Naivasha and 156 km from Nairobi, Nakuru is Kenya’s fourth largest town and is in the centre of some of the country’s best farming land. It is a pleasant, slightly dusty agricultural town with many supermarkets and shops mostly selling farming equipment and supplies; the main crops grown around town include coffee, barley, maize and wheat. Indeed, the name derives from a Masai term meaning ‘place of dust’. Although its history can be dated back to the prehistoric period, thanks to archaeological findings at Hyrax Hill, modern Nakuru came into existence in 1900 when the building of the railway opened up access to the surrounding lush countryside, attracting hundreds of white settlers to the area. Lord Delamere, one of the most famous figures in colonial times, collected around 600 sq km of land here and developed wheat and dairy farming.Read more
Lake Nakuru National Park is just 4 km south of Nakuru town and was established in 1960 as the first bird sanctuary in Africa to protect the flamingos and other birds in the hills and plains around the lake. It covers 188 sq km, and the lake is fringed by swamp and surrounded by dry savannah. The upper areas within the national park are forested. The lake itself is the centre of the park surrounded by huge white salt crusts, whose surface area varies from five to 40 sq km.
Game viewing is very rewarding here, and the whole park can be driven round in half a day. There is a variety of wildlife including bat, colobus monkey, spring hare, otter, rock hyrax, hippo, buffalo, waterbuck, lion, leopard, black and white rhino, hyena, giraffe and 450 species of bird, but the most popular reason for visiting is the wonderful sight of hundreds of thousands of flamingos.