Nakuru County is amongst the Leading top tour travel Safari destination in Kenya. It lies at the heart of the Great Rift valley neighboring Nyandarua County to the East, Kiambu and Kajiado counties to the South, Narok, Bomet, and Kericho Counties to the West, and Baringo and Laikipia Counties to the North. This makes it the epicenter of activities that includes social-cultural, economic, political, and spiritual dealings.
Nakuru town is a strategic tourist attraction site for both domestic and international visitors who are on transit to other destinations. For instance, a circuit tour will be incomplete if Nakuru doesn’t feature on the travel plan. The town has all types of accommodations ranging from budget to luxury hotels, lodges, and camps.
In Nakuru, you enjoy landscapes, wildlife, birdlife, historical sites, lakes, and the inviting environment favorable throughout the year. Among the attractions in Nakuru includes;
MT.Longonot National Park
Rising from the floor of the Great Rift Valley like a monolith is the extinct volcano of Mount Longonot. A unique feature is a thick forest that lies within the crater of the mountain. The crater rim also provides great scenic views across the beautiful Rift Valley all the way to Lake Naivasha. Major wildlife attractions at Mount Longonot include buffaloes, elands, lions, leopards, bushbucks, common zebra, giraffes, and Grant’s gazelles.
Mt.Longonot is ideal for day trip hikes, adventure and camping.
Hells Gate National Park
Named for the intense geothermal activity within its boundaries, the Hell’s Gate National Park is a remarkable quarter of the Great Rift Valley. Spectacular scenery including the towering cliffs, water-gouged gorges, stark rock towers, scrub-clad volcanoes, and belching plumes of geothermal steam make it one of the most atmospheric Parks in Africa. Hell’s Gate is an ideal venue for a day trip from Nairobi where, in addition to the bio-diversity that includes raptors, visitors can enjoy mountain biking, rock climbing, and a natural spa.
Lake Naivasha is a beautiful freshwater lake, fringed by thick papyrus. The lake is almost 13kms across, but its waters are shallow with an average depth of five meters.
Lake area varies greatly according to rainfall, with an average range between 114 and 991 sq. km. At the beginning of the 20th Century, Naivasha completely dried up and effectively disappeared. The resulting open land was farmed, until heavy rains a few years later caused the lake to return to existence, swallowing up the newly established estates.
Read Where to stay in Naivasha
Afternoon wind and storms can cause the Lake to become suddenly rough and produce high waves. For this reason, the local Maasai christened the lake Nai’posha meaning ‘rough water’.
The lake and its surroundings are rich in natural bounty, and the fertile soils and water supply have made this one of Kenya’s prime agricultural regions. Much of the lake is surrounded by forests of the yellow barked Acacia Xanthophlea, known as the yellow fever tree.
These forests abound with birdlife, and Naivasha is known as a world-class birding destination. The waters of the lake draw a great range of game to these shores. Giraffes wander among the acacia, Buffalo wallow in the swamps and Colobus monkeys call from the treetops while the Lakes large hippo population sleep the day out in the shallows.
Important Places to visit in Naivasha
The region surrounding the Lake is well worth exploring. There are two smaller lakes nearby, Oloidien, and Sonachi, a bright green crater lake.
Activities in the Lake include bird watching, boat riding, camping, and staycations around the Lake.
Lake Elementeita is a soda lake, in the Great Rift Valley, about 120 km northwest of Nairobi, Kenya. Elementeita is derived from the Maasai word muteita, meaning “dust place”, a reference to the dryness and dustiness of the area, especially between January and March. The town of Gilgil is near the lake. In the south-to-north sequence of Rift Valley lakes, Elementeita is between Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru.
The major Nairobi-Nakuru highway (A104 Road) runs along the nearby escarpment affording motorists a spectacular vista towards the lake. Today the lake is a protected area due to its birdlife and has been named as a UNESCO heritage site together with Lake Nakuru and Lake Bogoria.
At Lake Elementaita, you’ll experience calming staycation while either in a lodge, hotel, or camping site. The nearby Ugali hills make it ideal for hikers and adventure makers.
The Kariandusi archaeological site is amongst the first discoveries of Lower Paleolithic sites in East Africa. There is enough geological evidence to show that in the past, large lakes, sometimes reaching levels hundreds of meters higher than the Present Lake Nakuru and Elementaita, occupied this basin.
Dating back between 700,000 to 1 million years old, Kariandusi is possibly the first Acheulian site to have been found in Situ in East Africa. Dr. Leakey, a renowned paleontologist, believed that this was a factory site of the Acheulian period. He made this conclusion after numerous collections of specimens were found lying in the Kariandusi riverbed.
This living site of the hand-ax man was discovered in 1928. A rise in the Lake level drove pre-historic men from their lake-side home and buried all the tools and weapons which they left behind in a hurry. The Acheulian stage of the great hand-ax culture, to which this site belongs, is found over a very wide area from England, France, and Southwest Europe generally to Cape Town.
Tourist attractions within the site include:
- Camp Site
- Nature Trail
- Archeological Site
- Museum Exhibition Hall
- Picnic Site
- The Gorge
- Monumental Church Building
- Bird Watching
Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru National Park is located in the southwestern part of Kenya, northwest of Nairobi. The national park encompasses an area of 73 square miles (188 sq km). It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site celebrating the flamingos and abundant wildlife.
On the floor of the Great Rift Valley, surrounded by wooded and bushy grassland, lies the beautiful Lake Nakuru National Park. Visitors can enjoy the wide ecological diversity and varied habitats that range from Lake Nakuru itself to the surrounding escarpment and picturesque ridges. Lake Nakuru National Park is ideal for bird watching, hiking, picnic, and game drives.
Wildlife is bountiful with a populous predator presence to reflect the abundance of prey. Predator species include lion, cheetah, leopard, and hyenas. Large pythons might be found as well. Giraffe and the two species of rhino are mammalian highlights however there are several other species. The waterbuck is more common than in other parks.
In Lake Nakuru, you’ll enjoy game drives across the park, camping, and accommodation at the nearby hotels for daily trips to the lakeside for bird watching.
Located on the northern side of Nakuru is the single largest surviving volcanic crater in the world. The Menengai Crater is an extinct volcano that offers striking views of Lake Nakuru, Lake Bogoria, and the crater itself.
It is believed that the crater is a historic ground for a battle between different clans from the Maasai community who fought for grazing land and pastures on the slopes of the Rift Valley. For photography lovers, 8 km to the top of the crater, the beautiful pink and blue colors of Lake Nakuru and Lake Bogoria become clearer and can make excellent pictures under a brisk sunset.
Menengai crater is ideal spot for day trips adventure.