Thursday, February 28, 2013

Kenya's Lake Nakuru

On our third day in Kenya, we traveled in our safari mobile, seen here, to Lake Nakuru... with the game pop-up top down, of course.  

About 6 hours later, we arrived at the Lake Nakuru Lodge.  It's not that this was a super long distance but rather that we were on two lane highways getting stuck behind slow moving commercial trucks, passing through towns that use a lot of speed bumps to slow down traffic and driving on dirt roads as we neared the game reserves. Dusty red dirt roads that resembled washboards.

Above is the view from the lodge's dining room where we had lunch on the veranda. Below is the 6th grader posing at the front entrance of the lodge.  This place definitely had more of a hotel feel to it since it was four walls instead of flaps, but it did have the requisite bed nets to keep the skeeters from biting us while we slept. And the staff couldn't have been friendlier, a theme of great service evident throughout our trip. I gladly handed out shillings right and left as tips for all of the helpful folks on our tour.

On our evening game drive, we saw several new critters and learned a couple new facts about the animals we saw.  Because we drove around the lake, it was much greener and there were more trees in comparison to the Maasai Mara's plains and gently rolling hills with tall grasses.

Below is a funny looking hyena we spotted crossing the road, a furrier version of the two types found in Kenya.

Here is a pair of lions lounging beneath a tree.

Above is an Egyptian goose while below is a waterbuck.  And beneath that is a pair of baboons, one grooming the other.  I swear I could pull up a chair and watch their antics for hours.

Two new critters we spotted were flamingos in the salty water of the lake, as well as an elusive black rhino.  And it was a twofer since she was accompanied by her baby.

We were shocked at the size of the momma rhino's horn because obviously they don't get that long and lethal looking on the ones we've seen in captivity.  She could do some serious damage with that thing.

David, our safari guide, explained to us that giraffes get darker as they age.  Here are two pics that help you see the difference in color. I took these pics of both of them on the evening game drive in different areas around the lake.  I would love to know the exact age of the dark one because even David was impressed with the deep color and said it was really old.

Another species we saw in abundance at Lake Nakuru that we hadn't seen at all on the Maasai Mara was zebras. I guess they seem kinda common to us since they're found on exotic ranches back in Texas, but they really are pretty against the backdrop of Kenya. If you look closely at the bottom pic, you can just make out a few giraffes in the distance.  

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