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Lake Nakuru Budget Safari Tours

With one of the most picturesque of Kenya’s Rift Valley lakes at its heart, Lake Nakuru National Park is an excellent place for a budget safari. From a practical point of view, Lake Nakuru is a compact park, and is easy to get to, and get around, without the need for high transport costs. But it’s also one of Kenya’s most rewarding parks, with big cats (including tree-climbing lions), black rhino, endangered Rothschild’s giraffe, flamingo and so much more in a very small space. To round it all off, the scenery here is magnificent, with a steep escarpment offering views right out of the classic movie Out of Africa.

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1-20 of 178 cheap tours, packages and holidays to Lake Nakuru National Park

5 Questions About Lake Nakuru Budget Safaris


5 Questions About Lake Nakuru Budget Safaris

Answered by Anthony Ham

What kind of vehicle can I expect on a budget safari to Lake Nakuru?

“Unless you’re on a self-drive trip, on your Lake Nakuru budget safari you can expect to be driven around in a minibus or a 4WD vehicle. You’ll see the white minibuses in parks all over Kenya, and they’re a good option for parks like Lake Nakuru where you never have to go too far off-road. Specially adapted for safaris, they have a pop-up roof: you stand on the seats and have a great view of the animals and surrounding landscape. Depending on the size of your traveling party, you might also be driven around in a 4WD vehicle. Self-drive budget safaris are not very common in Kenya, certainly when compared to group budget tours, but they are possible. If you are self-driving, you’ll drive a rental 4WD vehicle. Unlike in other countries, you’ll usually be given camping equipment, rather than an adapted 4WD camping vehicle.”


How do I avoid the crowds in Lake Nakuru NP?

“Lake Nakuru is a small and very popular park, which means that it can be difficult to avoid the crowds. One thing you can do is stay at one of the campsites inside the park boundaries. There aren’t many accommodation choices inside the park, so most visitors stay in the nearby town of Nakuru. While they’re still queueing to enter the park around dawn, you can already be out exploring, giving you a precious head start for around an hour before things get crowded. Another way to avoid the crowds is to visit outside the busy high season months (which run from July to March). The only downside to doing this is that April and May are the months with the highest average rainfall. June can be an excellent (and slightly quieter) month to visit.”


Should I camp or stay in cheap lodging on a budget safari in Lake Nakuru NP?

“Apart from one exception, the only option if you want to stay inside the park is to camp. For such a small park, Lake Nakuru has a good number of campsites, most of which are close to the lake. The public campsites have basic facilities that include a shower-and-toilet building, as well as cooking facilities and a shared dining area. The special campsites (which should be for your traveling party alone) are bush camping experiences, with no facilities. The only cheap lodging inside the park is the Wildlife Club of Kenya Guesthouse, a tidy cottage near the lake with simple rooms, shared bathrooms, a kitchen and a lounge. If you don’t mind staying outside the park, the adjacent town of Nakuru has a big range of cheap and affordable accommodation. Many of these are good choices, and they’re just a short drive from the park entrance.”


How much does a Lake Nakuru NP budget trip cost?

“As with all safaris, there are almost as many budget tours and packages as there are operators. As a basic guide, the cheapest budget safaris will start at around US$150 per person per day. It would be less, but you have to factor in the cost of park fees, which for Lake Nakuru National Park are US$60/35 per adult/child per day. You will have to pay these fees, but ask your operator whether they’re included in any prices they quote. Some include them, some don’t and you don’t want any nasty surprises when it comes time to pay. This daily cost estimate should include all accommodation (including campsites and camping equipment), a guide, driver, food, water, and two game drives on most days that you’re in the park. On a really cheap camping safari, you may be expected to help out around camp with some of the camp chores (which might include setting up and taking down tents, cooking and washing up). Prices may be a little lower in the low season, although the difference is not great when it comes to the budget end of the market.”


Is 4 days a good length for a Lake Nakuru NP trip?

“Four days is more than enough time to enjoy your Lake Nakuru budget safari. You are on holiday after all, which means that you don’t want to rush things. With 4 days to enjoy the park, you will be able to really get to know it well. Having this many days also increases your chances of seeing the park’s signature wildlife, whether it’s a leopard, a tree-climbing lion or a rhino down by the lakeshore. This amount of time would also allow you to factor in time to relax, rather than always rushing from one place to the next. At the same time, Lake Nakuru is not a big park. If you only have limited time, a couple of days might be enough to enjoy it, leaving time to add on an excursion to one of the other nearby Rift Valley lakes. These might include Lake Naivasha, Lake Elmenteita or even Lake Baringo. Menengai Crater, Hyrax Hill Prehistoric Site or Hells Gate National Park are other possible excursions.”


Lake Nakuru Reviews

4.0/5 261 Reviews
Ariadne van Zandbergen  –  
South Africa ZA

Ariadne is a renowned African wildlife photographer whose work is featured in many well-known guidebooks and magazines.

Rhinos in the mist

If you expect to see the flocks of flamingos, which are Lake Nakuru’s claim to fame, you’ll likely end up disappointed. Due to rising water levels, the flamingos have moved to other Rift Valley lakes and this might well be a permanent...

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Alan Murphy  –  
Australia AU

Alan is a travel writer and author of over 20 Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guides to Southern Africa and Zambia & Malawi.

A feel good park with spectacular scenery

Some parks just make you feel good when you are on safari – in Lake Nakuru NP, the animals almost look as if they’re smiling… It’s no wonder the park is so popular, with its dramatic Rift Valley views, rich wildlife population (four...

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Moira  –  
Germany DE
Reviewed: Feb 16, 2024

Many different scenarios and even a family of lions. Some of them attempted to hunt some zebras. We did also see some rhinos. They were a bit far away, but we were well equipped with lenses. I would stay closer or inside the park next...

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Venkat Ramani  –  
India IN
Reviewed: Mar 23, 2023

Great place to sight exotic birds and all types of herbivores and warthogs. Fortunate to see a Rhino with a month-old calf very close by. There are lions too. The Lake itself is a great view from every part of the park

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James Neils  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Feb 9, 2023

Being able to "feed" an eagle. Guide whistled and tossed a fish in the lake which the eagle swooped down and grabbed. We have a movie of it. To walk among Zebras and a mother and baby giraffe up close was special. We went there to see...

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Ryo  –  
Japan JP
Reviewed: Oct 30, 2022

You can watch Rhinos easily, but there are very few flamingos that made this lake famous.
It takes 3 hours drive from Nairobi with paved road.

If you want to do another place in this country other than Masai Mara, this is the best.

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