Lake Nakuru & Lake Naivasha -Teaming with wildlife

February 24th 2012
The road to Nairobi was much better than the roads around Ukunda/Diani, but a long way from roads in Australia… It seemed to take forever to get to Nairobi, and then the horrendous traffic there and the heat was awful. We finally stopped way north of Nairobi for lunch to look out at the Great Rift Valley. How magnificent. I had seen it from Massai Mara side but not this side. Before we left word was out that a pride of lions had killed a water buffalo’s calf at the camp a few hundred metres from the lodge. We went and watched the pride of lions come down to drink at the water hole, and saw the water buffalo laying along the side where the lions had broken it’s leg the night before. Lions are very clever. They had their fill with the calf, so broke the legs of the water buffalo for the next meal so it couldn’t get away. If they had killed it jackals, hyenas, vultures would all have come for their share and they wouldn’t have gotten any rest chasing them away.
So the beast lay there awaiting his fate. I felt so sorry for it, but this is the foodchain. We heard via the radio that evening the lions had killed the buffalo which was a sight for the tourists watching from the balcony that early evening. Back to the driving….. I just am constantly amazed how skilled Kenyan drivers are – and the risks they take. I just hoped my number wasn’t up and just went with the flow of passing on the left side other cars, then the right side, whichever side was easiest at the time. On 2 lanes there would be 6 lanes of cars coming at you and going with you. Only when you have driven in Kenya would you understand, or in Cairo perhaps or Jakarta. It really is incredible to see. Driving to Lake Nakuru Lodge we came across within a couple of minutes of entering the park our first white rhino. He was only metres from the car, and what a magnificent beast he was. 5 minutes later we were amongst another 8 then another 12 black and white rhinos and their babies, close enough to hear them snorting and puffing. Then even more – it was magic with the lake behind and pelicans, giraffes, wilderbeasts, zebras all around. These animals live in harmony and is just an amazing place to be. The landscape so different to Tsavo East. I hadn’t been to Lake Nakuru before and we went here specifically to see the rhinos and flamingos. We were not disappointed as the next morning flamingos came. We didn’t get to see the huge flocks, but did get to see huge flocks of pelicans and once again the rhinos and their little babies right next to us hearing them communicate with each other and move their babies in between them as they sensed danger in us. Was pretty special I can tell you. Then we left and went to Lake Naivasha where we decided to have lunch and me to give Lesley her birthday present which was a water safari with the hippos and walk with the wild animals. Our driver had never been in a boat before and can’t swim so he was pretty scared, but so happy for the experience.
Lake Naivasha is beautiful and we were in a longboat. We sat and watched hippos ever so close then saw an abundance of birds and fishermen in the lake. The trip was supposed to be 1 hour but it turned into 2 or more, (Kenya time). Once we got onto land we walked with a guide around an island which had an abundance of giraffes, wilderbeasts, sea eagles, zebras, impalas, gazelles moving freely about us. It was simply surreal to be walking amongst these animals. They were used in the film out of Africa (or their ancestors) wild cats brought in for the film then taken away after filming so these animals live freely without predators. I still cannot process in my mind I was walking amongst them. It was magic. Once we finished the water safari we sat and ate our lunch that was prepared by the lodge for us to take with us. Birds full of wonderful colours came close and wanted the scraps. It was just too lovely to be true.

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Umoja Orphanage Kenya is a Project of the Sunrise Rotary Club Bundaberg 
RAWCS Project Number 51/2011-12
Umoja's founder Cathy is a member of Fitzroy Rotary Club District 9570

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