Last two days have been full on for us, two Matatus (mini vans) following each other with Peter & Leonus behind the wheels taking us around. From the early wake-ups to lunch with monkeys to the exhausted returns – it was all FUN!
Trying to overtake the rising sun by waking up at 5 (sob sob..) and hurrying up the breakfast, we were all ready for pick up at 6.30! The first stop ‘Lake Nakuru National Park’. With its huge area (180-sq-kms) and beautiful lake giving the visitors a great welcome by housing thousands & thousands of Flemingos – is a site not to be missed. The take-off of Flemingos in itself is a pleasure to watch. It’s like a para-glider running down the cliff before taking-off into the air – the birds literally runs tip-toeing on the water before taking flight! We were told that the birds will be in white color when they come from Tanzania and turn to pink once they start feeding on the blue-green algae here (don’t ask me the scientific reasoning behind this !!
Surrounding the lake are hundreds (may be thousands) of Zebras – you see them just about everywhere. Even though we were excited at first, it became normal after a while as they are so many. I remember a time when a Zebra was just next to my window but I didn’t jump out of excitement (am sure it got disappointed!). We were very lucky (that’s what Peter said) to see a Leopard about 30 minutes into our trip. Without any care about the 6 matatus full of humans staring at him, he continued his majestic walk through the bushes (about 20 feet from us) till he reached an area where some deers were grazing on the other side of the road. The unexpected twist happened when a group of baboons started attacking the leopard to protect their little ones. The leader of the group, a massive (real old) baboon made sure the leopard was well out of reach of his group and their little ones – their loud cry and sound created a sense of fear in the whole area. The news of leopard sighting echoed all through the satellite radio matatus had and about 20 new matatus came to the site in less than 15 minutes. Unfortunately all they could see was a large group of baboons on one side and a group of deers on the other! We did get a nice shot of the leopard (proof, u see!) .
Then came the huge white Rhino – he was just lying down taking a nap. His one puff sent so much dust in the air. We lost patience after a while waiting for him to stand up. He just didn’t want to! But we saw a group of Giraffes grazing happily in the nearby location. They looked beautiful and didn’t seem to be disturbed by the people looking at them (either they are used to people staring or we looked too small from their elevated position!).
The news about the sighting of 3 lioness came loud & clear on the radio where we rushed to. Five matatus were already there waiting for them to wake up. Finally they woke up – not to give us pose but to get a shady area to continue their sleep! We did everything we could do to wake them up – reving the engine, whistling etc. They gave a damn!
After visiting lots of monkeys, deers, zebras (again), oh yeah – hundreds of birds (we heard there are 400 species in the park), we decided to leave the park for a different kind of spot -The Menengai Crater. This amazing crater, a massive shield volcano rises to an altitude of 2,278M from the floor. Geological evidence suggests it has not erupted within the last 6000 years! It’s so cool to watch from the top. Visitors have to be extra careful as there are no fence and the sand is very slippery.
Sunday started with a very long drive to Lake Baringo (Kampi Ya Samaki – Fish Camp in Swahili) where we went on a boat ride to see 2 hippos very close to us in the water with its babies, lot of crocodiles, a beautiful eagle and lot of birds – specialty here was a particular type of bird building it’s nest. We were told that the female comes to inspect the nest the male has built and if it doesn’t like, it will fly to the next one (huge pressure for the male!). Our guides Sam & Julius had a fish which they threw into the water and at their whistle, the eagle swishes through the air from the tree nearby, picks up the fish in its claw and flies back to the branch. What a beauty!
Lake Bogoria National Reserve was our next stop. Having a flat tyre on the way, I helped Peter in changing it which was pretty fun rather than just sitting inside. Lake Bogoria had more than hundred thousand Flemingos making the lake look all pink! They gave real cool pose for our cameras even though they were bit shy! Going past the flemingos awaits the hot springs that spew boiling water from inside the earth. My idea of testing the temperature turned stupid when my fingers got burnt! I guess we could have boiled an egg in it. I couldn’t resist myself taking snaps of the vibrant color next to the hot springs. There were couple of cute little hot springs bubbling near the coast as well.
With all this sinking in, we started our journey back to Nakuru. Peter stopped at ‘The Equator’! Yes, the equator crosses at this point. It is proven by a small stick put on a bowl of water that turns clockwise Vs anti clockwise on either side of the equator line and stays still right at the equator! It was amazing to be at that point thinking of earth as a whole!
When we reached, went out in search of a badly-needed coffee (Interesting they claim Kenya is famous for coffee/tea.. somebody advise me of a nice coffee place please!) before getting ready for the week!
What a great planet we live in – I love it !