Lake Bogoria National Park this small reserve can only be visited as a day trip and is on few tourist itineraries. There is only one road through which needs to be backtracked to leave. Most of the reserve consists of a large, algae-rich lake usually inhabited by big flocks of flamingos. Aside from birds, there is very little wildlife.
The reserve’s main appeal lies in the scenery and the flamingos. The movement of the flamingos depends on water levels and algae concentrations. The reserve is also a refuge for greater kudu, but these stately animals aren’t seen very often. Warthog, Kirk’s dik-dik, Grant’s gazelle and impala can occasionally be seen crossing the road.
The scenery of Lake Bogoria NR is breathtaking. The road runs along the lake at the base of the Rift Valley escarpment. Labor Hot Springs is an interesting landmark and a reminder of the tectonic activity in the area that shaped the Rift Valley. The road climbs up to viewpoints from where the dramatic scenery can be observed on a larger scale.
Consistently warm temperatures are the norm at Lake Bogoria, thanks to its equatorial location. It does get colder higher up the escarpment, but this area is off-limits to visitors. The weather in the Dry season (September to February) is very agreeable, though rain can wash in at short notice. The Wet season is characterized not so much by rainy days as rainy afternoons.
Flamingos can be seen at the lake throughout the year. But it’s probably best to see them in the Dry season (September to February) when you can avoid the overcast skies and rain interruptions of the wetter months. The only drawback is the dust that can cloud the air at this time.
Unfortunately, overgrazing due to livestock encroachment is a big problem in the reserve, and there is very little wildlife to be seen. However, the birding is great and the real draw is the flamingos. Leopard tortoises are quite numerous. Mammals sometimes encountered are impala, dik-dik, zebra, Grant’s gazelle, and warthog.
The reserve is home to one of Kenya’s last remaining populations of greater kudu. Although present, these magnificent antelope are very shy and you need to be lucky to see them. Dusk and dawn are the best times for a chance encounter.
Lake Bogoria can be visited throughout the year. The flamingos are mostly present, but their numbers vary greatly. When water levels are too high or low, the flamingos can’t feed, and move away – the timing of this isn’t predictable.
Lake Bogoria National Reserve has more than 350 birds on its list, but the main attraction is an estimated two million lesser flamingos that flock in the shallow waters feeding on algae. Mixed in are many greater flamingos as well. Lake Bogoria is one of the best places in Kenya to see large flocks of these birds. Plenty of other waterbirds are easy to spot, and the call of a fish eagle is never far off.
Lake Bogoria is a good bird-watching destination at any time of the year, but the best time is from November to April – during these months the migrants from Europe and North Africa are present. This coincides with the breeding season when many species are nesting. Although good for birding, April tends to be very wet and isn’t recommended for general wildlife viewing.
Lake Bogoria is not a conventional safari destination. The best time to visit is when there are lots of flamingos, but this is unpredictable. At most times of the year though, there are usually a good number of flamingos, which makes it worthwhile visiting at any time of the year.
Being close to the equator, temperatures are quite uniform throughout the year at Lake Bogoria. Daytime temperatures are in the upper twenties, while it cools off considerably at night. Along the lakeshore, temperatures are higher than on the top of the escarpment. The area isn’t very wet, but there is some rain throughout the year.
Dry season –September to February
The weather is very pleasant. Days are usually sunny and dry. The ‘short rains’ experienced in November in most of the country aren’t very pronounced here. January and February are very dry.
September, October, November & December – It is mostly sunny, but it does rain occasionally. Afternoons are pleasant with temperatures reaching 28°C/82°F, but evenings and early mornings are cold at around 11°C/52°F.
January & February – These are the driest and warmest months before the rains. Temperatures reach up to 30°C/86°F and higher. Early mornings stay chilly with temperatures around 11°C/52°F.
Wet season –March to August
It doesn’t rain a lot, but afternoon showers can be expected on some days. The heat breaks when it rains, and then it builds again until the next shower. Afternoon temperatures are around 28°C/82°F. April is the wettest month.
March – The rain might start in March or April. March seldom sees a lot of rain though. Afternoon temperatures are around 30°C/86°F.
April & May – These are the wettest months, but it seldom rains all day on continuous days.
June, July & August – June is drier, but the rain picks up again in July and August. July is the coolest month with afternoon temperatures reaching 26°C/79°F.
Lake Bogoria is located 250km/155mi from Nairobi. Bogoria is mostly visited as a side trip from Nakuru. The lake is more frequently visited now, because many of the flamingos that left Lake Nakuru, due to unsuitable conditions, made Bogoria their new home. You can either join a safari in Nairobi or rent a car and visit Lake Bogoria independently. The southern entrance to the reserve is located 38km/23mi north of Nakuru – a 4WD is essential. The sealed road from Nakuru to the northern entrance is 150km/93mi.
Most visitors to Kenya come through Nairobi, which is one of the largest transport hubs on the continent. International flights arrive in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) 15km/9mi southeast of Nairobi.
There are no domestic flights to Lake Bogoria or Lake Nakuru. Charter flights between reserves are typically organized by your tour operator.
In our opinion, there is no problem with safety inside Lake Bogoria National Reserve. There is no accommodation in the reserve aside from a campsite. Visiting on a daytrip on an organized safari is very safe. If you are on a self-drive safari, it is important to avoid driving after dark and to take safety precautions in the towns.
Before coming to Kenya you will most likely require several vaccinations. Lake Bogoria is a shallow soda lake in the Rift Valley and malaria is a big concern here. All precautions should be taken seriously. Taking antimalarial medication is recommended, and to minimize the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes, the use of repellent (those containing DEET are most effective) and covering up at dusk is advisable.
Although incidents are extremely rare and there is no need for paranoia, you should always be aware of the potential danger of wildlife encounters. Listen to the instructions given by your guide and use your common sense.