The Sarova Lion Hill Lodge is lovely and we have visitors at breakfast…African Speke’s Weavers.
They have made nests outside the main hall at Lion Hill, so we get to enjoy their antics before our game drive.
Lake Nakuru National Park is small and quite unique. It is a refuge right beside the city of Nakuru–like having a huge natural zoo at your back door. Almost all species of African animals live here except the elephant. Because it is next to the city, there is no way to contain the huge elephants. They pretty much go whereever they want, so they would endanger the people in town. We plan a full morning before we must head off to our next lodge. We start in the yellow acacia forest and find our olive baboon friends, again.
Then a real treat—a beautiful Long-crested Eagle. It’s early morning so it is watching for prey, usually a rodent.
We move toward Lake Nakuru—bird central– and find an old tree “decorated” with yellow-billed storks.
Near the lake, Sacred Ibis crown the yellow acacias,
And a Sacred Ibis lift-off from the lake. This is a grand sight.
Then we see a Hammerkrop wading at the shore. It is named because the feathers on the back of it head resemble a hammer.
Flamingos reflect across the lake as they take flight.
Nakuru is an alkaline lake and is one of the prime viewing areas for lesser and greater flamingos. Flamingos are attracted here becuase the soda lake produces the Spiruina algae. This food source also produces the pink of their plumage. When they dry their feathers we can appreciate the spectacular display.
Beside the flamingos, we have a mélange of other water birds—Maribou stork, Great Cormorants, Egyptian Geese, heron and gray-headed gulls in flight and on the ground.
This is a birder’s paradise. There are large numbers of pelicans.
And they put on a synchronized swimming show
As they nosh along the shore—it is still breakfast time, after all.
The African spoonbill (no queston how he got his name) uses his adapted bill to sieve food from the mud.
A yellow-billed duck (again, naming follows form) swims by us.
And an Egyptian Goose also looks for food in the shallows.
The lake is a focus of life at Nakuru. Zebra cross our road in an area that may soon be cut off as the water rises.
Finally, we see our first Rothchild’s Giraffe walking near the water …times three! Note the white legs. This is one of the most endangered giraffe species and Lake Nakuru is one of the few places we find some of only a few hundred still in the wild.
Once again, a plug for scheduling extra time in Nairobi: beside the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, try to visit the Giraffe Manor, a Rothchild Giraffe sanctuary, if you can. Giraffe can stick their head in your window while you sip morning coffee. Again we didn’t leave enough time to schedule a night. Unfortunately, we got this information from others who had made the stop. We now know you also can go for a day trip!
As we head back to the woodlands we find another Rothchild Giraffe herd with a young calf.
And an olive baboon is beside the road nursing a tiny baby.
A bit farther, a white rhino is grazing in the grass. He walks right beside our car, totally ignoring us.
We need to head back to our cabin at the lodge before lunch.
I found this pink trumpet vine by the pool.
We’re heading off to our next lodge at Larsen’s Tented Camp, in eastern Kenya, near the Somali border. Nakuru gives us a final gift…a black rhino stands on the edge of the riverine woodland as we leave. We would have stayed here another day!
As we head to our next location in eastern Kenya’s Samburu National Reserve, we pass more local shops, like this butchery with meat hanging in the window. Oh, yummm.
Continuing through the Riff Valley, we see a geyser in Kenya’s geothermal fields. Although Kenya has for long depended on hydropower for electricity needs, it also is investing in alternative native sources of energy, such as geothermal and wind.
Then a quick stop at Thomson’s Falls, a 243 ft scenic waterfall on the Ewaso Ng’iro river.
We cross the equator.
Then enjoy a beautiful sunset…on the road.
This should have been a good thing. However, it get’s a bit uncomfortable (read menacing) here. Obviously we are behind schedule and traveling after dark. It seems the eastern part of Kenya has become a haven for Somali immigrants. These people are predominantly Muslim, have caused some problems for Kenya, and are forming their own poor isolated enclaves. So Kenya has brought in armed troops all over the area, placed spiked barriers on the roads and military check points. We were supposed to be within the Samburu National Reserve by sundown. Arriving after dark, the border guards in the town of Archers’s Post Gate don’t want to let us through. We wait for about 30 minutes while the issue is sorted out. Our guides tell us not to stare at people in the village—who are not smiling as they stare at us– and definitely NO cameras, no pictures. Young boys throw rocks at one car in our group and break a window. Money is exchanged and we pass through. Whew! We arrive at a lovely tented camp… another world.