Nakuru, Kenya: A Bird Watcher’s Paradise

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Nakuru, Kenya: A Bird Watcher’s Paradise

In Lake Nakuru you can kill two birds with one stone. Not in the literal sense of course – game wardens on duty won’t let you. Rather, Lake Nakuru is a bird watcher’s paradise that offers tourists twofold benefits – you save money and time all in one trip!

Bird Watching Fascination

I have a long standing association with Nakuru. I landed my first job straight out of high school here, and had my first taste of making and spending real money in this town. The casual work cash only wet my appetite and fascination with bird watching, which goes back to my childhood.

As a kid I spent a great deal of time hunting birds in the local bushes with other boys. We got to know different kinds of birds – yet it never struck me that the flamingos on Lake Nakuru have economic value. Later, I wanted to experience first-hand the flamingo sanctuary that is the talk of the town. This is how “killing two birds with one stone” kicks in.

Killing Two Birds With One Stone

I told my housemate, Njoroge, about spending time and money at the lakeside, watching flamingos and hippos take a dip in the lake with a dozen lions roaming around and Columbus monkeys jumping from one yellow tree to the next.

“You need your head tested,” Njoroge remarked. “You actually paid to go watch birds…,” he added shaking his head vigorously in disbelief.

Flamingo birds give Nakuru town its appeal, plus a great deal more. Timing your visit to coincide with peak season, when the most flamingos are in residence, is essential.


“Where else can you watch 350-450 different bird species and 56 types of mammals in one location for the same price?”  I asked him (here we get the “two birds with one stone”).

“If you put it that way,” he mumbled with distaste in his voice, and walked out of the room. No point trying to knock sense into his head. Njoroge may not get it, but many others do – Lake Nakuru National Park is awash with tourists from around the world who are willing to splash on this town’s rich heritage, even if the locals don’t value the splendor.

And if you are interested in making the trip yourself, here are a few things to know about this beautiful place.

Nakuru City

Nakuru City is about 160 kilometers to the west of Nairobi and is the capital of Nakuru County. The city is ranked fourth, behind Kisumu, Mombasa, and Nairobi, in population and popularity.

This fast growing city, built on the floor of the Great Rift Valley, is home to different birds. Flamingo watching is the unique selling point of Lake Nakuru National Park, and tourists from overseas plan trips here just to see flamingos – but pelicans, geese and numerous bird species also share this habitat with wild animals.


Nakuru – Buffalo

You can’t miss the magnificent sight of flamingos from the main A104 highway passing through Nakuru from Nairobi City. Lake Nakuru is within sight from this road, but its effect is not as electrifying as watching the long, pink-legged flamingos pecking away, knee-deep in water.

Ol Karia Geothermal Station

If you want value for your money, plan your trip to Lake Nakuru National Park with a stopover at Ol Karia Geothermal Station. Ol Karia Geothermal Station is an underground natural source of steam, with water temperatures of up to 304 degrees centigrade. This is the largest geothermal project in Africa, and the natural source of power with the greatest commercial potential in the world.


Nakuru – Geese

Power generated from Ol Karia Geothermal Station is projected to supply half of Kenya’s domestic energy consumption. From here you also have a choice to proceed to Hell’s Gate National Park or make a comprehensive trip around the Great Rift Valley or get back on A104 and head to Lake Nakuru. You can also head over to Masai Mara for a safari.

Flamingos give Nakuru its appeal, plus a great deal more. Timing your visit to coincide with peak season, when the most flamingos are in residence, is essential. In addition, you get the opportunity to see buffalo, zebras, rhinos, and small antelopes all in one swoop.

Where to Stay

There are a wide range of places to stay at at Nakuru. You can also camp in the park if you want to wake up in the morning to the sound of birds. This city also has a lot of hot spots within close proximity to reasonable accommodation if you want to experience the night life.

So with that in mind, go ahead and “kill two birds with one stone” here in Nakuru!

Samson Midigo

Samson Midigo

Anyone who enjoys reading and writing is a delight. Writing is my passion. I've enjoyed a diverse career in writing for print in Kenya and electronic media online for different clients. In between reading and writing SEO, articles, web content and e-books, I run Organized Common Sense Word Press blog and have been published in, and