Sunday, July 22, 2012

Nakuru Safari

Safari is an important part of a trip to Kenya - especially first trips.  Because we didn't have much time this go-round I decided to take Val (my chairman) to Lake Nakuru for a short weekend trip.  It's not far from Eldoret and the road between here and there is pretty good.

We had a nice trip, it only took about 3.5 hours.  On the way into the park we were greeted by the usual assortment of baboons, monkeys, antelopes and birds.

The place where we're staying, Lake Nakuru Lodge, is nice.  Especially because it sits on a hill overlooking the park and the views are fantastic.

Last night after our evening game drive we had about an hour before dinner was served.  We spent time on the porch to Val's room drinking white wine and chatting.  Looking over the park to the cliffs on the far side we could see fires from houses on the cliffs flickering like fireflies along the hills.  The stars at night were also quite nice, especially compared with Indianapolis.

We've seen some great birds - I don't have many pictures of them because I'm traveling light without my telephoto lens as I'm continuing on to Italy.  Val has taken tons of pictures so she may be able to fill in for me.

It turns out that the hotel only has a very low electified fence that is quite easily conquered by the baboons.  This has led to some interesting encounters.  One out-right begged Val for food, one tried to steal my camera, another tried to break into my room via a sliding glass door opened for ventillation, and countless others have danced across the porch and pulled tiles from the roof trying to scale it.  I got some pretty good video of them playing outside my room - will upload when I get back to better bandwidth.

On our early morning drive, we were treated to two rare finds: we saw a leopard (my first good look ever) and we also saw a single lion try to take down a cape buffalo.  When the lion's friends didn't close in quickly the buffalo went on the offensive and chased the lion away.  It was pretty amazing to watch.

We topped off our late morning drive with an amazing symphony of pelicans flying in formation over the van repeatedly.  I shot some video of this and hope to also get it edited and posted soon.

Our final game drive took us to see the waterfall at the edge of the park.  It was probably about 30 stories tall and quite easy to access and photograph.  We drove up to the top of baboon cliff, where it was raining slightly and the small structure was occupied by very loud people smoking :-(  Otherwise the views were fantastic. There weren't any other big animal sightings but we had a good time taking pictures of the numerous birds.

This was definitely my best trip to Nakuru, and Val had a fantastic time.

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