Kenya is one of the few places in the world where you can watch spectacular flamingos scenes perfect for photography. The lesser flamingo is the most common variety in Kenya mainly due to proximity to lake Natron which is the largest lesser flamingo breading ground in the world. A host of greater flamingo are also especially in places where there are large numbers of the smaller variety. The 2 live harmoniously since they don’t compete for food as lesser flamingos feed on algae and the greater flamingos feed on crustaceans and other shoreline creatures. Kenya and neighbouring Tanzania hosts one of the highest number of soda lakes in the world which are the most characteristic habitat for flamingos. In this guide, we shall cover some of the most popular flamingo paradises in Kenya where you can sight spectacular gathering of million-strong swarms.
1. Lake Nakuru
This is the most sought-after flamingo destination in Kenya mainly due to its large quantity of flamingos that can go to 1.5 million in the height of the season, proximity to Nairobi the capital and that the adjacent national park has one of Kenya best game scenes. Until recently, lake Nakuru has boosted enough blue algae quantities that sustain some flamingo flocks in shallow waters all round the year. This made it possible to sight large to small flocks of the spectacular birds in the lake irrespective of the visiting time. Even though their numbers has dropped significantly and at times flocks are totally not available in the period preceding the rainy season, Lake Nakuru is still one of the most dependable flamingo sighting spots in Kenya. The periods toward the end of the short and long rains are the best for flamingo watching safari in Nakuru. During these periods the amount of blue algae increases to levels enough to sustain the birds in their millions. The epitome of lake Nakuru flamingo safari will be at th adjacent out of Africa lookout that gives a sweeping view of the saturated pink plumage of large swarms that spectacularly blanket the shallow waters during peak season.
Besides flamingo, Lake Nakuru is a great ornithological site boosting over 400 bird species. The lake is also the best in central rift valley for a combined flamingo and game viewing safari. The adjacent park has one of Kenya greatest rhino sanctuaries. From Nakuru you can easily access Lake Bogoria and Lake Elementaita which are the other two major flamingo spots in the country.
2. Lake Bogoria
In the entire great rift valley lakes circuit, Lake Bogoria is now the most reliable flamingo spot with considerably large swarms sighted almost all round the year .Here the numbers can increase to 2 million in the aftermath of the wet season. They lake is just two hours drive from Lake Nakuru which makes it possible to include for a day excursion when on a safari in Nakuru.
Lake Bogoria is the best for flamingo sighting between the months of August and October. Besides flamingos, Lake Bogoria boosts a mesmerizing view of hot water spray towards the western shore. The lake rest abreast the barren siracho escarpment with the park main road leading up to the top of the scarp offering has some perfect viewpoints to photograph the spectacular flamingo scene.
Importantly, besides flamingo, lake bogoria is a water bird heaven with stunning view of waterfowls and duck species. The adjacent lake bogoria is popularly known for boosting a large quantity of greater kudu.
3. Lake Elementaita
This is the best alternative to look at after flamingos migrate from Lake Bogoria and Lake Nakuru. The lake is less than 40 minutes away from Lake Nakuru which makes it possible to visit on a half day roadtrip. Although it is smaller than the other two- 2 times less the size of Lake Bogoria and 2.5 times less the size of Lake Nakuru- flamingos in Lake Elementaita count s to over 200000. The soda lake also boost an impressive population of birds like African spoonbill, great white pelican, helmeted guineafowl and Egyptian geese. The nearby soysambu conservancy is an impressive game viewing spot.
4. Lake Naivasha
Despite lake Naivasha being a fresh water lake, a significant number of lesser and greater flamingos seek refuge in this lake due to the presence of alkaline salt water masses formed through tectonic risings like Lake Oloiden (little lake) in the south western part of Lake Naivasha. In addition, the shores of Lake Naivasha have plenty worms , crustaceans and crab which are the main diet for greater flamingos. Sometimes Lake Oloiden alone is packed with over 20000 flamingos
Located two hours drive from Nairobi, Lake Naivasha is the most accessible lake in the great rift valley central lake region. The lake is also home to several water birds species amongst them over 30000 waterfowls.
5. Lake Amboseli
As the amount of blue algae keep reducing in the great rift valley lakes due to the lowering alkalinity caused by human activities, flamingos are increasingly relocating to the least expected places. Such places are Lake like Amboseli and other smaller saline water marshes on the base of Kilimanjaro.
6. Lake magadi
The soda lake is in the far southern part of Kenya on the Tanzania border. The area is well known for its extreme hot weather akin to the Kenyan coast. Lake Magadi is the closest soda lake from lake Natron which is the largest breeding site for the two East Africa flamingo. From lake Magadi you can easily go for a Lake Natron safari viewing the lake from the Kenyan side.
Some flamingos also carry out breeding in Lake Magadi.
7. Lake Turkana
Lake Turkana is in the far northern Kenya region. Very few visitors get to this destination mainly due to the distance from the capital Nairobi and that it is not a popular safari destination. Flamingos here are found in a small circular crater lake known as lake flamingo. The soda lagoon is one of the three water bodies that were separated from the larger water masses of the lake by lava deposits that are today beautiful black basaltic soil found on the island. However, being on the far north of the country, Lake Turkana is not a very dependable flamingo sighting spot.