Two of the better-known lakes in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha are within easy reach of the capital, Nairobi. Each offers a distinctive safari experience and are often included in a Kenyan safari.
- Part of the Great Rift Valley lake system
- Within a one- to two-hour drive of Nairobi
- Often included in Kenyan safari itineraries
- Lake Nakuru is a soda lake, best known for its incredible numbers of flamingo and other water birds
- Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake, a favourite feeding spot for a wealth of fish-eating birds, hippo and other wildlife
Great lakes of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Nakuru is situated some 160 km northwest of Nairobi and Lake Naivasha is only 102 km from the capital. Both offer a totally different safari experience and are easy to include on your itinerary.
Lake Nakuru is often one of the first stops on Kenya safari itineraries for two reasons. It's a soda lake renowned for its incredibly large flocks of flamingos which literally turn the lake pink, their numbers reaching into the hundreds of thousands. It's said to be the 'greatest bird spectacle in the world'.
As it's within easy reach of Nairobi and is one of the few fenced national parks, it's a safe haven for black and white rhino because the rangers are better able to protect them from poachers. White rhinos are grazers and are found on the grassy floodplains around the lake. Black rhinos are browsers. They are found in the thick acacia woodlands in the southern reaches of the lake.
Wildlife is plentiful and some of the more notable species include the endemic Rothschild's giraffe, large numbers of buffalo, waterbuck, reedbuck and other antelope and small numbers of lion and leopard. Apart from the flamingos, bird lovers should be able to spot large numbers of white pelicans and a myriad of other woodland and water birds.
Lake Naivasha is an ancient freshwater lake in the Great Rift Valley and is set at its highest point, 1,890 m (6,200 ft) above sea level. The outlet for this lake, Njorwa Gorge, forms the entrance to Hell's Gate National Park which has spectacular examples of rock formations and an abundance of flora and fauna, including some extremely rare breeding pairs of Lammergeyers, also known as bearded vultures.
Lake Naivasha is home to a wide variety of wildlife including a healthy population of hippo, a variety of freshwater fish like black bass, tilapia and crayfish, and many fish-eating birds like fish eagles, pelicans, kingfishers and cormorants.
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