The northeastern shores of the lake, being close to the Main Gate, are the most accessible and heavily trafficked section of the park, with the route between the gate and Sarova Lion Hill Lodge getting relatively busy; the southern parts of the park are usually empty. The vegetation in the north is mostly lightly wooded acacia forest and this area, close to Nakuru town, is the least interesting for wildlife, so if you have the time you’d do well to focus your attention on the south.
Taken clockwise, the main park road runs through the woods, past Lion Hill and into an exotic-looking forest of candelabra euphorbia – great cactus-like trees up to 15m high. At the southern end of this zone you come into a stretch of more open country, past the turning up to Lake Nakuru Lodge, and one or two side tracks down to the mud and the lakeshore, after which the road turns west into the southern park’s dense acacia jungle. This is where you may see a leopard and – if they overcome their shyness – one of the park’s sixty-odd black rhino. Several kilometres further, the road opens again onto wider horizons with plenty of buffalo, waterbuck, impala and eland all around. You’re likely to see one of the park’s forty white rhino here, looking for good grazing, and this is also the most likely area for seeing the park’s herd of introduced Rothschild’s giraffe.
The west shore, especially “Pelican Point”, offers the best chance of seeing the flamingos, if they’ve returned. In places, the road runs on what is virtually a causeway, past the lake’s edge, with high cliffs rearing up behind. Finally, the main route leaves the shore and ploughs north, through thick forest with many tall trees and dense undergrowth, back to the Main Gate.
Good vantage points around the lake include the northern mud flats (follow established tracks across the dry surface); the dead tree watchtower (northeast); Kampi ya Nyuki and Kampi ya Nyati campsites; Lake Nakuru Lodge, for a general view across unobstructed savanna; and the high “baboon cliffs” in the west.