Easter Weekend Safari   Leave a comment

Easter was a long weekend here in Kenya.  With things fairly quiet in the clinic, some of us decided to go on a bit of a safari to Lakes Nakuru and Naivasha.  We hired a driver who we all call Taxi Max who would be our guide and he arrived in his beat up land rover early on Friday Morning.  In addition to myself were Manika, Kalpana, Anita, and Justa.  This was my first introduction to the Kenyan highway system.  While there are short stretches of semi intact pavement, the vast majority of the roads are a mixture of large rocks imbedded in red dirt or asphalt in such disrepair that some drivers resort to driving in the dirt to the side of the road.  Even going as slow as 30 KPH, we were still being thrown around the land rover for most of the ride.

Along the road to Nakuru, we passed over the Equator.

Lake Nakuru is a beautiful nature preserve run by the Kenyan Wildlife Service.  Quickly after paying our admission fees and entering the park, we were stopped by a pair of park rangers.  After a brief discussion with our driver, the rangers demanded our entry cards and receipt.  Then they drove off without returning our cards.  This was likely a scam on their part to illegally sell entry passes from paying customers outside the park and pocket money.  It is a sad truth that you have to be on your guard for this kind of scheme in Kenya.

We saw an amazing array of animals in the park.  The following are just a small sample of the many pictures I took in Lake Nakuru Park.

   

After a quiet night’s sleep in the Lake Nakuru Lodge, we went for a final morning game drive by the lake and up to Baboon Point.  We had a spectacular view of the lake and park from the point.  As we drove out of the park, we found a tortoise in the middle of the road, so we helped him back into the woods.

From Nakuru, we drove towards Nairobi to Lake Naivasha.  We had a nice lunch at Fisherman’s Camp during an afternoon rainstorm while Colobus monkeys played in the trees.  When the rain cleared, we hired a motor boat to take us out to a small island where you can walk with herds of zebras and wildebeests.  The island is actually now a peninsula since the booming flower industry around the lake has drawn down the level of the lake enough to form a land bridge to the island.  Max decided it would be a good idea to ‘help’ the wildebeests with their daily migration across the island by chasing the herd.  As we walked around the island, the clouds began to break and a series of rainbows appeared on the horizon.  On the boat ride back to the camp, we passed by the region of the lake where hippos like to spend the day.  There were 30-40 hippos including several babies that kept diving out of sight.  We learned that the babies will actually dive under their mothers to nurse.

  

When we returned to the camp that night, we found that our banda (cabin) had been sold to a group of drunken partiers.  The manager decided to put us in the staff quarters in a triple bunk bed.  I was able to practice my bargaining skills (a must have in Kenya) to drive the price way down the next morning.  Our last adventure was to a gorge known as Hell’s Gate.  The gorge was full of obstacles that we had to climb over and down which made for an exciting walk.  Lining the walls of the gorge are natural hot springs that give the gorge it’s name.  Nearly halfway down the gorge, we started to hear thunder and feel drops of rain.  I suggested that we leave immediately and any resistance from the group vanished when a Masai guide leading another group rounded the corner, pointed to the top of the gorge and simply said “GO!”  We just made it out when sheets of rain began crashing down on us.  I hate to think what it would have been like at the bottom of the gorge.

The rain continued on the drive back to Eldoret and turned into a thick fog that made travel a bit precarious, but we made it home just fine thanks to Max.  All in all, we had a wonderful trip.

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Posted April 14, 2009 by chrislux in Travel

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