Spot flamingos at Lake Nakuru
Film fans may remember the scene in Out of Africa when Denys Finch Hatton's little yellow gypsy plane swooped above the pink flamingo–filled waters of Lake Nakuru to the sound of the John Barry soundtrack. The lake is indeed known for the thousands of flamingos that nest along its shores, attracted to the lake's vast quantities of tasty algae. (Recent rising water levels have resulted in many of the birds moving their nests elsewhere, but naturalists believe they'll return when the waters recede.) In 1961, the lake and its surrounding land were named Lake Nakuru National Park, now protecting the black and southern white rhinos, warthogs, lions, baboons, and other wildlife that live here. The lake is a roughly three-hour drive from Nairobi.
By Harriet Constable, AFAR Local Expert
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Incredible Up-Close Encounters With Wildlife
After completing our missions work, my friends and I spent a few hours riding through the Kenya Wildlife Service's Lake Nakuru National Park. This male zebra and his harem were just feet from us--I hardly needed my telephoto lens. We also saw thousands of flamingos and pelicans, which were stunning both up close and from the lookout at Baboon Point above the lake. It was not uncommon to come across a group of giraffes, just having a snack, or some rhinos taking shade under an acacia tree. We even saw some warthogs careening around one field and a pride of lions in the distance. It truly was a fascinating opportunity to see these animals up close, but not in a zoo. Consider hiring a reputable tour/safari company van/driver for this type of experience (or any in Kenya, from my experience; we use Mission Tour & Travel: http://www.missiontourandtravel.org/). Most of the safari vans have pop-up tops so you are able to stand within the safety of your vans to see the wildlife. At the lookout at Baboon Point, especially, be wary of your surroundings, leave your food in your car, and close all your car doors and windows. As the name suggests, baboons frequent the area and will grab your sandwich at best or bite you at worst. I would not recommend picnicking at the tables provided. There was one lookout point higher than Baboon Point that was appropriate for a respite and lunch. This experience was well worth the group-per-person rate of about $40 to enter the park.
Not to miss park in Kenya
Lake Nakuru National Park is a favorite, and a not to be missed during your visit to Kenya. Located about 130kms out of the capital, Nairobi, Lake Nakuru National Park ecosystem provides for about 56 different species of mammals and a variety of terrestrial birds numbering nearly 450 species and is an important sanctuary for Rhino. It has wonderful views and excellent accommodations and will never disappoint.
By James Mungai
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