Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kenya - Lake Naivasha

The Trip
Even though we are clearly blessed in many ways, my husband and I always feel we are equally cursed in other ways. There is not a single thing we have done together without having to overcome a catastrophic event or two. After all these years, we have now learnt to prepare for the inevitable and expect the worse.

So when we decided to go to Kenya, we did expect bad things to happen – to get sick, get malaria, purge every day, rain, lose camera, get kidnapped etc. Well none of those things happened – but something worse did – we got to fly KENYA AIRLINES!!!

Why Kenya? 
Well other than for the fact that we met two wonderfully helpful people, Raabia and Abdul through FB– Kenya had always intrigued us. Contrary to what most people think – Kenya is NOT a dry barren land with no water and poor people running about. Even though Nairobi is a bit chaotic the rest of the areas are full of greenery and wonderfully polite, well clothed, well educated  people.

The planning
Health - We needed to get four jabs for seven different diseases + take malaria tablets – and yes they are VERY IMPORTANT

Safety - The most important thing is not to attempt to do the whole backpacker thing on your own – the country is too big, the facilities are few and there are far too many scams going on to attempt this. It is best to go with a reputed travel agent and we cannot recommend ‘As you Like it Safaris Ltd’ enough. It also seems like a lot of crime takes place in the city. Driving is chaotic and dangerous.

Accommodation - The lodges are similar to our Habarana Lodge but most are maintained at a higher quality. They offer Wifi, laundry, extensive buffets, comfortable, clean, spacious  rooms and pool (listed in order of importance).

We stayed mainly in lodges and the only tented accommodation was at Nyumbu camp – which for me, was the best experience. Details and pictures are to follow. When you say ‘tents’ in Kenya it does not mean little ones we put up and creep into – they are massive tents which are divided with  cloth screens, have their own shower cubicle and toilet with hot water, double beds, clean linen and clothes storage. The wind sweeps through the tent at night and the birds wake you in the morning – it is an experience in itself.

Attire - Cotton, Cotton, Cotton – no, it is not hot its actually chilly in the morning and evening but cotton will keep you comfortable and a sweater or light jacket is a must for the early mornings or late evenings.

We don’t want to go on and on as there is far too much information here already so if you are thinking of going to Kenya – get in touch and we will share all our information with you. 

Now for more interesting things…

Day 1 – was spent in Nairobi with wonderful Raabia and her family. We were too tired to take shots but had a good time going to the Masai Market and just chilling with her and her cats.

Day 2 of 12 – Lake Naivasha
From Nairobi we were headed to Lake Nakuru with a one day stop over at Lake Naivasha. Accommodation – Naivasha Country Club.
Rating – Average.
Lovely garden, small rooms, good food but bad service. 

On the way - The Rift Valley



The main thing to do in Naivasha is the boat trip to see the Hippos. So with visions of hippos walking, eating, mating, feeding their young and doing ‘Fouetté en tournant’ we headed to the lake. After a 10 minute interesting but quite muddy walk, we arrived at the lake. 
Pied Kingfisher 

A butterfly - need identification







The Lake is a beautiful place similar to our Muthurajawwela Marsh. It’s a fresh water lake where over 400 birds have been recorded. There is a certain quality to the quietness you feel when you are there and it seems to make one feel sublime. 

Great Egret

White breasted Cormorant 

Egyptian Goose

Once in, the boatman told us we can buy fish to see the eagles hunt! Even though we sensed a hitch,  my  imagination  (as usual) got the better of me – I was expecting to see 5 foot eagles sweeping down all over - so we jumped at the idea of buying some fish on a lovely lake in Kenya –after all, how much can it cost? 

Buy fish we did!! There were dry old Tilapias and it cost us £5/- for THREE, yes three which were smaller than our palms. We could have bought a nice fresh kilo of fish in UK for that money!

With the fish bought, we set out take the award wining shot of the eagle hunt. Alas! Alas! Even with three attempts we could not get the perfect shot! With new regard for wildlife photographers and their patience we set out to find more interesting things.

African Fish Eagle





















The mistake
Later, we realised it was wrong to feed the birds. It is true the boatman just throws the fish in the water and they are dry so they float which makes the eagles sweep down and get it. This is not the right thing to do as it might have some sort of interference with them not hunting naturally as they are fed this way. We are also not sure where the fish are from and what the fish contained!

Hunting

The bonus

There were no hippos out of the water. Even though that was obvious as the sun was up I still kept looking around expecting one to come rolling down the grassy plains. The hippos were all immersed in the water and one might think this made it less exciting. To get the perfect shot – YES! But for the experience – NO!


It was thrilling to see them in the wild. There were five families with up to 10 individuals in each one. What was really nice was the fact that Naivasha lake did not seem to be this remote far away place. There was plenty of human activity around it and in the middle of all this were the hippos. The feeling was a happy one – a few yards away there were kids bathing and here were groups of hippos - perhaps it is because we have only seen them in captivity with our hearts longing for their freedom. It was an experience worth the trip and the day!


This one was not too happy with us

Here is a slideshow of all the pictures from Lake Naivasha 



More details and photos of the other parks we visited to be posted in the near future

2 comments:

  1. Hi there my dear friends, Michelle & Riyazi,

    im out of words!, for each photo i saw on this page and the next and the next i was like wow! these are all very very nice, they are fantastic and breath taking photos!!! for once i could not believe that all this is in Kenya!! especially the photo of the rift valley, it is just breath taking! :) and also the story and the compliments and the kind words which you guys have mentioned about Raabia and myself... im really touched, greatful and thankful, thank you guys!

    im really blessed to have you guys as my friends!
    :)

    Thank you and kindest regards
    Abdul

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