The trip from Ol Pejeta to Lake Nakuru was one of the easiest we had in Kenya. Not because the roads were good, but because it was one of the shortest trips we had to overcome, about 3 to 4 hours. If you just gave me an eyebrow raise, let me just tell you that your idea of “short distances” really change in Kenya, since all the parks are so far from each other. When you drive 7 to 8h from one park to another, a 3 to 4 hours drive is like a ride to the nearest bakery back home.
One thing that has to be said is that the road from Ol Pejeta do Lake Nakuru´s National Park is extremely dusty. How dusty? Your-luggage-and-everything-in-the-car-including-yourself-will-change-colors kind of dusty. No exaggeration. So, it´s a very good idea to use a scarf to cover your mouth and nose or one of those medical masks. We didn´t know about this before, so we arrived at the hotel covered in dust and I felt my throat a lot during the whole day because of the amount I inhaled.
Our driver took a shortcut road that saved us an hour. About halfway we stopped at a small, but very welcoming road shop, where we watched a demonstration about the Equator line. It was a very simple presentation, but it´s amazing how a bucket with water can entertain tourists for about 20 minutes without being bored, lol! Basically, the man showed us that when water is poured inside a bucket, it swirls in different directions depending if it is in the southern or in the northern hemisphere. It´s called the Coriolis Effect. It´s one of those simple things that you never think about before you are confronted by it at a demonstration in the middle of nowhere in Kenya, or if you watch the Simpsons, lol!
This was also the shop where we bought most of the Kenyan wooden art we wanted to bring back home. The seller was friendly and took her time wrapping everything up, knowing the goods would travel far. We also thought the prices (of course after bargaining) were very fair, in comparison to other shops we had been to. By the way, most tourist guides stop at the same shops.
The arrival at Lake Nakuru was so pleasant! While driving alongside the lake´s national park we could already spot many wild animals like zebras, elephants, black rhinos and jackals. Our hotel, the Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge wasn´t so far from the park´s gate, so we didn´t have the usual longer bonus game drive inside the park before arriving at our lodge. We were ok with it though, since we were super excited to see our next accommodation (and dying for a shower after the dusty road)! By the way, this is the only hotel that, upon arrival, the employees took the time to clean our luggage before bringing them to our lodge. Wow, such a nice welcome touch!
The hotel sits on a higher terrain, giving the tourists a beautiful view from the bar´s terrace. We loved to just sit there with drinks and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings. Since our room wasn´t ready by the time we arrived, we went straight to the restaurant after the drinks. The quality and quantity of food at Sarova Lion Hill left us simply amazed. Probably the best food we had in our trip! We couldn´t get enough. After we stuffed ourselves, we went to our lodge, which was very simple but comfortable. The only problem of this stay was that the lodges were very close to each other , and we could hear every conversation and snoring symphony from our neighbors…If you want to read the full review I wrote about this hotel at Trip Advisor, click here.
The afternoon game drive at Lake Nakuru National Park was very nice, mostly because it gave us a change of scenery: a lake with very green thick vegetation. We saw gazelles, zebras, white rhinos, giraffes, hyenas, jackals, and a loooot of buffalos with young babies, who were my favorite! Until then, we had only seen buffalos lying around or eating, so it was a delight to see young buffalos playing around and having the time of their lives! Additionally, this is where we saw a lioness for the first time and it left us so starstruck. She was crossing the road before us, definitely in hunting mode. Such a huge, beautiful creature!
Lake Nakuru is also where you can see thousands of flamingos. That is, if you arrive before we did, lol. Since we arrived in the beginning of November, after the migration months, we could only see a couple, mostly grey ones. We still found it beautiful, but of course if you can arrange to see the lake swarmed with pink flamingos (around 2 million!), I bet it´s an unforgettable view. The best time would be during dry season, that means, June, July and August.
We were allowed to get out of the car near the lake, which we were hesitant to do. I mean, there was a buffalo lying right behind where our car parked and we had seen hyenas scouting around in that same area. This is one of those situations that you either trust your guide, or you don´t get out of the car and therefore decide to miss out on something. It´s your choice, really. In the end, we decided to get out because the buffalo looked really chilled and we could use some stretching of our legs. When the buffalo got up, our guide told us to go back in the car, even though the buffalo didn´t seem interested. Most of the time, the animals will not do anything to harm you, unless you disrespect their space.
Back at the hotel, we were invited to watch a cultural dance and music presentation by the fireplace, which we found both informative and entertaining. The performance showed different chants and traditional dances of various tribes across Kenya. It was the perfect ending to a short, but very refreshing stay at Lake Nakuru National Park!
To take a look at Lake Nakuru yourself, click on the video below!