After spending a few days in Samburu, we got up early and made our way to Lake Nakuru. Again, given that Samburu is so far north and the roads are terrible, it was another day in the car with a very bumpy drive. We made it to Lake Nakuru Lodge just after 1:30, and we drove in to a beautiful view over the lake.
During our entire week on Safari, we were amazed at the accommodation, given that we had opted for the cheapest economy level tour they had. If where we stayed was economy, I can’t even image what the luxury accommodation was like!
After lunch, we had a little while to relax before heading out on an evening game drive. This was probably my favourite game drive thus far. As Lake Nakuru park is a small park situated around a lake, you can see a lot of animals and vegetation in a relatively small amount of time. We started our drive by heading down to the edge of the lake, as this is the most likely spot to see Rhinos. I was really looking forward to seeing the flamingos that are known to frequent the lake; however, our guide informed us that due to rising waters in the lake, it is now too deep for the flamingos to use and they have rarely been seen here in the last couple of years. Rising waters also mean that the edge of the lake is now ringed with numerous dead trees that cannot survive under water, which, although cool is somewhat eerie as well.
After the rhinos is where it go really neat. We drove away from the lake and into a wooded area, where we found another car parked up and watching a pride of lionesses with their cubs who were napping in the grass. Although we couldn’t see much because they were well hidden, we parked up with the intention of staying for a few minutes in the hopes that they might wake up and make a move.
As we were watching the lions, a herd of water buffalo was making it’s way towards the spot where they lay sleeping. Our guide perked up at this point and told us to keep our eye on them, and we assumed we may just see a lion hunt. Oh man, we were wrong! As the buffalo herd approached, the lionesses poked their heads up and started moving.
Instead of moving towards the buffalo like we thought they might, they gathered the cubs and started moving away. At about the same time, the buffalo clocked the lions and the entire herd started running towards them as one. Our guide explained that, although water buffalo are vegetarians and don’t eat lions, in an effort to protect themselves, as a herd they will try and kill the lion cubs to prevent them from growing up and eating the buffalo and their young. We watched the lionesses and cubs start to run away, and as they realised they wouldn’t make it, there was a made scramble to get up a tree in order to get away. We spent the next hour watching the buffalo surround the lions in the tree and try to get them down, before having to head back to the lodge for dinner, leaving them at an impasse.
The next morning we were keen to go back and see if we could figure out what happened. Upon arrival, it didn’t look like much, but after a second look we could see hyenas running around, and then 2 male lions. Turns out that the water buffalo eventually left and the lions came down, but instead of killing a water buffalo they managed to kill a giraffe. We could see the giraffe being guarded by one of the lions, whilst the other one was busy keeping the hyenas away.
Nothing else was happening, so after a few minutes we continued on our way as we were heading to Lake Naivasha for the afternoon. On our way out of the park we did come across some white rhinos and their babies eating just off the road. Of all the places went, I wish we’d had one more day here. Due to the small size of the park and the fact that there were a lot more people/vehicles here compared to Samburu, Rich said it felt a bit like a ‘safari Park’ in the UK to him, but I don’t agree. Being closer to Nairobi and the other southern parks, Nakuru is definitely an easier one to get to and well worth it.
We only spent half a day in Lake Naivasha Park, and rather then going on a game drive, we took a boat ride across the lake to see the hippos and went on a walking safari. We arrived fairly early, which was nice because it was scorching hot, and the lake wasn’t too busy. We left our guide, Charles, in the car and Rich and I got a private boat tour with a local named Joseph. He explained about the hippos and the eco system of the lake, and pointed out various birds. He was very good at spotting the hippos; we were usually almost on top of them before we saw them!
Lake Naivasha is a fairly big lake about 90 minutes south of Lake Nakuru. There is a little island on one side called Crescent Island that is now a game reserve. The island used to be connected by a road; however, with rising waters here as well, the road has been covered and washed out. With no access except by boat, there is the added bonus of not having any predators on the island, enabling people to walk with a guide amongst the zebras, giraffes, water buffalo, gazelles, water bucks, and impalas. Our guide was another local with a lot of knowledge, and we spent a good hour wandering around the island with him asking questions. Did you know that a zebra nurses her young until the next calf is born, and that an elephant nurses until her young starts to grow tusks? Due to the lack of predators, the animal population is booming on the island and they periodically relocate some of these animals to other parks to help with breeding and conservation.
After we returned to the mainland, we were back in the car and headed to our lodge for the night, Naivasha Kongoni Lodge. We had the afternoon to relax (and the pool to ourselves!) because we had to get up early the next day as we were heading to Hell’s Gate. But that’s for the next post!