Monday, January 19, 2009

Baringo and Bogoria

This weekend we (Left to right: Marissa, Chris, Me, Brett) headed down into the Rift Valley to Lake Baringo Island Camp (Blue placemark).

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Island camp was built in the 70s, on land that is leased from the tribe that lives on the island.  The camp only takes up a small portion of the land mass at the southern tip.  It's a tented camp with nearly all of the "rooms" facing east, which means that you can watch the sunrise from your bed (although it was raining Saturday AM).

Like all of the other resorts in Kenya, there is a very british colonial influence as evidenced by the tea in the above photo - note the birds helping themselves to the leftover milk :-)  

We decided to go hiking on the island to a few hot springs (red placemark) on the north end.  It was a really nice hike becase you're basically walking through a village and there are several of the local young men who "volunteer" to guide you to your destination.  Although, they work hard to be helpful without making you feel like you're in a tourist trap.  

I was having a really great time until about 50 feet from the hot springs when I stepped on a thorn.  I instantly became the spectacle with nearly 20 locals surrounding me trying to help get the remaining thorn out of my foot (Chris got some pictures, but I don't have them yet).  I was pretty gimpy, and was luckily able to secure a humilliating ride back to the camp on a boat.  The thorn will continue to be a topic as there is still a tiny piece (2mm - we did an ultrasound of course) that we're going to let "work itself out naturally" - yeah, I can't wait.

Despite the thorny start, we really had a nice time at Island camp.  We went on a boat tour of the lake and saw hippos, crocs (not the shoes), and many beautiful birds.  The highlight of the trip is when the boat guide buys some fish from the local fishermen to feed the fish eagles.  They stuff some balsa wood (naturally occurring in the area) into the fish, whistle for the eagle, and through the floaty fish about 10 meters from the boat.  The fish eagles spot the fish from hundreds of yards away and fly down close to the boat to grab the fish.  It's definitely exciting to see.  Again, Chris has some amazing pictures that I'll share when I get them.

There was a bar-be-que on Saturday night that was spectacular, and we stayed up drinking Tusker and playing cards in the camp's bar both Friday and Saturday night.  We found that Brett is exceedingly good at cards and exceedingly bad at hustling, which was good for the rest of us :-)

We decided to round out our trip with a visit to the hot springs of lake Bogoria as they were nearby.  Marissa didn't like the smell or the steam so we didn't stay long.  The flamingos were very pretty though, (more pics later).

Well, I'll leave you with a teaser for tomorrow's post - Today I traveled to Kogelo with friends, which is the village where Barak Obama's grandmother lives.


heather said...

You are one crazy mzungu! I am a little unclear how a thorn in your foot is going to work itself out. Won't it just keep working itself in?

Marc said...

Well it seems like it's been getting better every day. So, perhaps I'll have a less metaphorical "piece of kenya" with me when I leave this time.

Heitkampfam said...

I need bird photos.