Wednesday, Mar. 24, 2010

Lake Nakuru National Park

Two hours northwest from Nairobi, along Kenya's best and most scenic road, is Lake Nakuru National Park, one of the smallest but best game parks in Africa. The soda lake is home to a sea of pink flamingos and the surrounding parkland offers the closest view you're likely to get of a white rhino (they tend to gather in front of the acacia forest at the southern end of the lake). Other park residents include leopards, buffaloes and hippos. The park is best explored in the golden sun of the late afternoon. You can circle the lake clockwise in your car, then drive to the top of Baboon Cliff for a stunning sunset view.

Nakuru town has little to recommend it, so stay in the park at the Sarova Lion Hill Lodge, on the east side of the lake, which has great views across the water. Even better is the old warden's house on the south side, now called the Naishi Guest House and rented as a self-catering six-bed cottage by the Kenyan Wildlife Service for $200 to $250 a night. There you can enjoy a sundowner on the terrace as rhinos and gazelles graze nearby before you retire inside for dinner by the fireside. But be warned: there are no fences. For details, see