We left Amboseli at 7:30 for an 8 hour drive to Nakuru Lake National Park. The park is located ½ of a degree south of the equator, so I can definitely claim to be in equatorial Africa. The park and lake are in the Rift Valley. This valley is over 9000 kilometers long and extends from Mozambique to Israel. It is a valley of legendary big white hunter tales. If you want to know a lot more go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Rift_Valley I remember it best because Richard and Mary Leakey have done significant work in the valley.
Along the way we stopped at a view point and took in quite a bit of it in one vista.
The sign says it all
You are here!
Even overlooking the rift valley, Mary Ann can find a Yankee fan.
We could barely make these out from the overlook, but when we drove past them I was impressed to see them just miles away from where the Leakeys found one of the most ancient humanoids.
You are welcomed to the park by baboons.
The baboons sort of follow you around, like park rangers.
The park itself is very lush and green. It sits on a large salt water lake which provides sanctuary for millions of birds, especially Flamingos. This is not the peak time for the Greater Flamingo migration, but there were still tens of thousands of the lesser flamingos grouped along the shoreline turning it pink. There were thousands of white pelicans as well as guinea fowl and marabous. Time for photos? OK
Not one of the more beautiful birds, but of substantial size.
The trees surrounding lake Nakura were full of large birds
The helmeted guinea fowl is a favorite food of the Masai. Gideon told us you will never enjoy chicken after you have one of these. To catch them they soak corn in liquor and lay it out for the birds to eat. Then they get too drunk to fly or even run away.
The lilac breasted roller is truly fabulously colored in flight, but I missed it.
The flamingos in the background are lesser flamingos. They provide a beautiful pink rim to the lake. However, in July, there are thousands of thousands of greater flamingos that turn the whole lake pink.
We saw impalas, water buffalo, white Rhinos, waterbucks, and troops of baboons. I hope you enjoy these pics.
This was as close as I could get to a herd of white rhinos. The white rhino is not one of the big five. The black Rhino is because they are lot rarer and more elusive.
Baboons were everywhere in the park, just meandering around
Momma and baby baboon
We saw Impalas in every park we went to but I am partial to this shot.
Water buffalo and attendant birds. The birds eat insects dug up by the hooves of the buffalo and peck insects off their skin. Win win
I forget what Gideon said these were, but aint they cute?
We are staying at a place called Lion Hill Lodge. It is fabulous. We are only here for one night, so I’ll steal a towel.
We lost an hour of game viewing because an ATM ate Mary Ann’s card. Our tour agency HTT Holidays and Incentives (www.travelhtt.com) did everything short of ripping open the ATM machine with one of the Masai swords. They even lent us cash for the rest of the trip. It all worked out because of the dedication of the HTT staff and our guide Gideon.
In the morning we head off to Masai Mara National Park. This is the big destination for great white tourists like us. We have already seen 2 of the big five and we look forward to checking off the other three. When we do, I feel like cracking open a bottle of champagne, except I hate champagne.
Maybe we will just have an extra Tusker. Tusker is the beer of Kenya.
Mary Ann enjoying a Tuskers. The brand was first marketed in 1923, shortly after the founder of Kenya Breweries Ltd, George Hurst, was killed by an elephant during a hunting accident. It was in this year that the elephant logo, that is synonymous with Tusker Lager, was incorporated. The slogan "Bia Yangu, Nchi Yangu", means "My Beer, My Country" in Swahili.
The national drink of Kenya is the Dawa. The Dawa reminds me of the Pisco Sour of Chile. It is an acquired taste sort of thing. I’ll certainly have couple more if I see a black rhino and a cheetah, the two most difficult sightings of the big five.
The Dawa African Cocktail is said to be so potent that it will cure whatever ails you. Since Dawa means "medicine" or "magic potion" in Swahili, I’ll believe it! The recipe is based on a famous Brazilian drink that was introduced to Kenya. It is now one of the most widely consumed cocktails in Kenya!
Dr. Dawa will cure your ills!
Asante san (Thank youu very much in Swahili) for reading. Please pass this along to a friend and please make a comment.
Tags: Africa, baboon, Dawa, flamingo, helmeted guinea fowl, HTT Holidays and Incentives, impala, Kenya, Lake Nakuru, lilac breasted roller, Lion Hill Lodge, rift valley, Safari, Tuskers beer, UAE