Saturday, July 31, 2010

July 28, 2010. Lake Nakuru

Today we left the hotel at 8AM. We are staying here another night so we didn't have to pack everything up. The hotel was feeding some of the monkeys on the grounds the morning so we got to see some more velvet monkeys and some colobus monkeys. We drove for about an hour and stopped at a shop/bathroom. (This has been a regular occurence and we think the driver may get some cut of what we spend.). I have resisted the temptation to buy things but today I bought a small carved gazelle made from olive wood and a pair of carved wooden earrings shaped like African women. Kathy didn't buy anything! She is now resisting the temptation!
After driving awhile in the park we saw some baboon troops, waterbuck, and cape buffalo. Then in the distance we saw a herd of zebra, near the lake. (Our driver, Yusuf, had opened the top of our touring van and we were able to stand up and look around.). We soon saw the unmistakeable pink streak of flamingoes, pink with black tips and underwings - blue sky and water, puffy clouds and mountains in the background. SPECTACULAR! Surreal! A little ways away, a large herd of zebra were standing together. We parked and got out to walk around taking pictures and gasping at the beauty. There were several tour vans - many with Japanese tourists with big fancy cameras and equipment. What an amazing place! It was so beautiful and unusual we were a bit stunned at first. We took tons of photos. (I looked at them this evening and they are fabulous.)
After continuing on, we saw many types of animals in their natural habitats: Thompson's gazelles, elands, black rhino, white rhino, warthogs (running through the bush withtheir two babies), girafffe (a whole herd of Rothchild - very endangered), fishing eagle, lilac-brested roller, ostriches, African crested cranes, hyena, hyrox, pelicans doing a black to white dance in the sky. We stopped for lunch at the "Out of Africa" picnic overlook and had box lunches. The big highlight of the drive was the lioness we saw at the end. She was splayed out on a tree limb some distance away but we got some pictures.
We returned to the hotel shortly after 4PM and saw two Masai giraffe right on the property of the hotel. As soon as we got out of the van we were told to get ready for our boat ride on Lake Navaisha.
Our new friend, the Masai guide, walked us down to the jetty where we loaded onto low floating boats. It was slightly overcast and the colors were spectacular. Papyrus plants were growing all around and the birds were plentiful and active. Finally we arrived at the pod of hippos. They were totally submerged except for ears, eyes and snouts. I was a little nervous having heard that hippos are the number one killer of humans in Africa. We got close enough to take some pictures. I even got a couple where they were yawning and showing teeth. They were very wary of us and never took their eyes off of us.
The boat continued a little way down a small river where we were able to observe more birds, grebbe, tern, kingfisher, Egyptian geese, ibis, blacksmith plover (makes the sound of someone hitting an anvil). The colors and water were beautiful, peaceful and relaxing. We boated through a lily field and the boat driver picked a beautiful purple bloom for us to see and smell.
We docked and walked with our Masai guide back to our room.
Later on we looked at some of the photos we had taken and then went to dinner.
On the way back from dinner our Masai guide took Kathy and I down the path which runs past our room. He used his flashlight to show us the grazing hippos who had come up on land to graze on the grass. They were right in front of the cabins!
Tomorrow, Masai Mara.

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