Lake Nakuru is one of the rift valley soda lakes at an elevation of 1,754 m (5,754 ft) above the Sea level. It lies to the South Nakuru in the rift valley of Kenya and is protected by L. Nakuru National Park. The lake’s level dropped dramatically in the early 1990's but has since largely recovered. In 2013, the lake received an alarming increased in the water level that led to the migration of flamingos to Bongoria in search for food.
Nakuru means the place of the water-bucks in the Masai language. L. Nakuru National Park close to Nakuru town was established in 1961. It started off small only in compassing the famous lake and the surrounding mountainous vicinity a large part of the Savannah.
Nakuru, a small (it varies from 5 – 45 km) shallow alkaline lake on the southern edge of the town of Nakuru lies about 164 km North of Nairobi, it therefore, visited from the capital or more likely a part of circuit taking in (Masai Mara) or lake Baringo and East to Samburu. The Lake is worldly famous as the location of the greatest spectacle on the earth – myriads of fuchsia peak of flamingos whose numbers are legion, often more than a million, or even 2 million. They feed on the abundant algae which thrives in the warm waters. Scientists have it that the flamingos at Nakuru consumes about 180 kg - 250,000 kg of algae per sector of surface area per year.
They are two types of flamingo species: The lesser flamingo can be distinguished by its red carmine bill and pink plumage unlike the greater, it has the bill with a black tip.
The lesser flamingos are ones that are commonly pictured in documentaries mainly because they are large in numbers. The number of flamingos has been decreased recently, perhaps due to too much tourism, pollution resulting from industries water works nearby who dump waste into the waters or simply because of changes in quality which makes the lake temporarily inhospitable.
Usually the water level of the lake decreases during the dry season and increases during the wet season.
In recent years, there has been a wide variation between the dry and wet season’s water levels. It is suspected that this is caused by increasing water shade land conversion to intensive crop production and urbanization, both which reduce the capacity of food soils to absorb water, recharge ground water and thus increase seasonal flooding, pollution and drought destroys the flamingos' food, cyanobacteria or blue – green algae
.More recent lake Umenteita Simbi Nyaima and Bongolia local climate change have been also hypothesized to contribute to the changing environmental conditions in the lakes catchment. During our recent fam trip to the park, we discovered there are some reports of increasing stake holders as mass flamingo and deaths could spread doom to the tourist industry.
The flamingos feed on algae, created from their droppings mixing in the warm alkaline water and plunk tone. But flamingo are not the only avian attraction also present are two large fish eating birds, Pelicans and Cormorants. Despite the rapid alkaline water diminutive fish, alcorapia grahami has flourished after being introduced in the early 1960s.
The lake is also rich in the bird life. They are over 400 residents’ species around the lake and the surrounding park. Thousands of both little grapes and white winged black terns are frequently seen as Stilts and Avocets, Ducks and the Europeans winter the migrant wonders.
Lake Nakuru National Park is known as a bird sanctuary with over 400 birds species including huge flamingos and other water birds. It is excellent park for wildlife and wildlife sporting and a home to many water loving animals such as Hippos and Water bucks.
Lake Nakuru was established in 1961. It now covers an area of 180 sq km. The lake is large, shallow lake surrounded by marshes, wood land and grassland. There are some rocky out crops and the largest Euphobia forest in Africa on the Eastern side. The lake is fed by 3 main rivers, the Njoro, the Makalia and the Endlite Rivers as well as springs.
Lake Nakuru National Park also offers sanctuary to huge numbers of native African animals including water bucks, warthogs, Impalas, Buffaloes, Rothschild Giraffes, Elands, endangered Black Rhinos, White Rhinos and occasionally Leopards, large schools of Hippos.