From England to Ecuador and beyond

From England to Ecuador and beyond

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Naivasha and Nakuru Lake

Naivasha Lake

My first ever game 'drive' was actually a boat ride on Lake Naivasha - and oh WOW what a great start to the trip! With leafless trees half sunken in a vast expanse of shimmering water positively teeming with life, it was impossibly beautiful on arrival. 

We saw tonnes - buffalo, topi, zebra (the stripes are unique to each individual, believe it or not), hippos and giraffe. We got so close to the hippos (possibly a bit too close for comfort, they're known for being very aggressive, but great views!). 

We saw giraffes from a distance and I kept my eyes on these at first, until someone tapped me on the shoulder and pointed out one almost right in front of us neatly camouflaged in the bushes. If that wasn't enough, another one stepped out and waded through the shallows to shore just in front of our boat. So close. So awesome. Couldn't stop staring! 

It was a lovely boat ride - lots of game, lots of close ups and nice & relaxing - plus we were split among three boats so had some more space and better viewing. Most of our game drives will be in the big overland truck (boo) apart from the Ngorongoro Crater where we split into separate 4x4s. 

Nakuru Lake 

Nakuru 'Lake' is actually more of a park than a lake and is also jam-packed with amazing wildlife. Saw jackals, warthogs (Pumba!), zebra, giraffe, impala, topi, baboons and flamingoes. And...2 species of one of the Big Five - black and white rhinos! We saw the black rhino within 5 minutes of entering the park, which was lucky in itself, plus our guide kept saying how rare it is to see them anyway, especially so close up! It was a very pregnant female so she was incredibly protective and territorial, particularly when faced with our 10 tonne monster truck and 21 pairs of eyes - so much so that she charged right at us, only coming to a screeching halt when she was just metres away from the bus. It. Was. Awesome! 

We also saw some white rhinos, which were eagerly followed by waddling geese-like birds who gobble up the grasshoppers dislodged from the ground as the rhinos make their way across the plain. Speaking of which, the plains could have been a canvas - the pied landscape was dotted with so many different species it was hard to know where to point the camera. So, two of the Big Five (buffalo, rhino, elephant, lion and leopard) in one day - not bad going! Has been a long day though, am absolutely knackered - it's 9pm and we're bedding down already (haven't quite managed to shake off 60 year old syndrome post bird-watching) although we do have very early starts and long drives during the day so playing grandma is quite necessary!