Since late 2010 the water level in Lake Nakuru has been constantly growing. Flamingos left at the time and never really came back in sizeable numbers. I hadn’t been in Nakuru since September last year and I was shocked to see how far the lake has reached in the past few months. Many acacias that once were many kilometers from the lake are now under water and dying. All the plains surrounding the lake have been submerged, pushing the animals more and more inland. The main western road into the park at the base of the cliff has been covered by water and closed, and even the main gate has now been reached by the water. And in the forest in the south, the Makalia and Nderit rivers are still flowing at their maximum capacity, flooding the forest and continuing to fill up the lake. Very few roads are still passable, so the game viewing circuit has been reduced considerably.
I remember photographing this lone Acacia tree in the middle of the plains many times in the past, it was often used by White Rhinoceroses for shade. It is now well under water.
Sightings of animals in general are not as easy as they used to be as more and more wildlife has been pushed into the forest. White Rhinoceroses are still easily seen in the clearings or near the forest edge. We hadn’t seen many Black Rhinos until the last morning on the second safari when we found five of them, snorting and puffing repeatedly before sunrise.
We had a fantastic encounter with a small family of White Rhinos just after sunrise, framed by a giant Yellow fever acacia one early morning.
On the second safari in Nakuru in early August we had a very nice sunset with Flamingos on the only remaining access point to the lake. Flamingos were not many but the lighting conditions made for some very nice photographic opportunities.
Though Lake Nakuru is generally visited primarily for Flamingos and Rhinoceroses, I am always on the lookout for Leopards or Lions as I feel that the scenery in which they are sometimes seen provides excellent photo opportunities. On the first safari we found a Leopard on top of Enasoit hill, we were completely alone and found this female looking at us. She retreated in the bushes soon after we spotted her. On the second safari we had a fantastic afternoon with a male Leopard resting on a fallen Acacia, in a typical Nakuru Acacia forest. The Leopard was well asleep and didn’t descend from the tree at all until darkness. However, it stood up and yawned a few times and sometimes it’s all you need to make a nice image which also gives the sense of the environment in which these animals live.