- Travel Inspiration
The Great Rift Valley is a natural masterpiece. Stretching 6000km across the Middle East and Africa, it is one of the largest geographical marks on the continent and among Kenya’s most iconic sites. Astronauts say it is one of the most visible marks on the planet from space.
The monumental Rift was formed when ancient geological forces ripped the earth apart, and today it is a dramatic natural wonder filled with vast freshwater and alkaline lakes, towering volcanoes, and panoramic savannahs teeming with wildlife.
The spectacular lakes are a highlight of the Great Rift Valley, and the picturesque Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha with two of the most popular.
Lake Nakuru National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located 140km northwest of Nairobi and covering an area of 180km².
This beautiful park is surrounded by lush grassland and is renowned for its prolific birdlife, with 400 resident species. In the past, huge flocks of vibrant pink flamingos were drawn to Lake Nakuru’s algae, however since 2012 rising water levels have forced the flamingos have moved to other lakes in the Great Rift Valley.
Wildlife species within the park include the hippo, buffalo, zebra, eland, waterbuck, leopard lion, and the endangered black and white rhino and Rothschild giraffe. There are also a number of fascinating prehistoric sites in the area.
Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake located 100km from Nairobi. This shallow lake attracts a wide variety of wildlife, including pods of hippos, colobus monkeys, reedbuck, impala, gazelle, zebra, duiker and waterbuck.
The birdlife here is outstanding and ornithologists visit Naivasha for the numerous birds that the lake attracts.
The Great Rift Valley is a magical place to go hiking through the wooded trails, have a picnic by the lovely lakes, go bird watching or take a game drive to see Kenya’s incredible wildlife in a truly magnificent setting.
Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha are excellent year round destinations, although the best months to visit are during the dry season from June to early October as temperatures are moderate and there’s little rain chance of rain (although this region does experience the occasional shower during the dry season). If you’re visiting Kenya’s Masai Mara from August to October to witness the Wildebeest Migration, we recommend that you also include Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha in your itinerary.
Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha can be added to any of our Kenya holidays. If you’re visiting the Masai Mara on our Luxury Kenya Safari, or heading north to Laikipia or Samburu on our Kenya Off The Beaten Track itinerary, we recommend that you stop at either Lake Nakuru or Lake Naivasha en-route, particularly if you’re making the journey by road. You can also fly from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport to Lake Nakuru (duration 1h 10m).
If you’re visiting Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha we recommend staying at Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp, a small camp on the shores of Lake Elmenteita in the Soysambu Conservancy, just a two-hour drive from Nairobi and a short distance from Lake Nakuru. The camp features luxury safari tents all with private verandas, and a spectacular Flamingo Suite, perfect for honeymooning couples.