From Lake Naivasha we headed for a 2 day trip to Lake Nakuru.
Accommodation was at Nakuru Lodge which was very good. The rooms were large with a good view of the plains and there were long winding walks to the restaurant which was quiet nice at night.
Of all the parks we had been to, we liked Nakuru the best – yes even more than the Mara. This might have been because it was small and it was very, very green! Lake Nakuru National Park is a bird sanctuary. The park is situated outside Nakuru Township in Kenya, which is part of the Great Rift Valley with its alkaline and fresh water lakes, within easy reach of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. The park comprises of a large lake which is surrounded by a beautiful landscape of sedge, marsh, vast grasslands, rocky cliffs, outcrops, stretches of yellow-barked acacia woodlands, plus a large forest of Euphorbia trees (unique on such a large scale to Kenya).
The main reason to go to Nakuru was to see the flamingos. Ideally we would have liked to get some sunset shots of them but were not allowed to be in the park at that time.
There is the constant ‘clickin’ of the birds beaks as they feed – which, strangely, is a comforting sound.
We found a pack of hyenas nearby, cooling off in the water.
It wasn’t easy trying to avoid the layer of bird poo touching our feet to get this shot - but it was worth it even though Mr spent the latter part of the night scrubbing the soles of his shoes.
FACT - Flamingos' pink or reddish feather colour comes from its diet, which is high in alpha and beta-carotene. People eat beta-carotene when they eat carrots. The typical flamingo diet consists of diatoms, seeds, blue-green algae, crustaceans, and mollusks they filter out of the water.
Marabou Stork - To the casual observer, this massive bird with a balding, scrubby head and a pendulous pink air sac, appears to be the ugliest creature in the world (next to man!). Its fondness for carrion and habit of squirting excrement onto its own legs will justify this opinion! This is a large bird standing 1.5 m tall and weighing 9 Kg and is one of the largest flying birds in the world.
‘Man should learn to fight from the rhino’ is what I thought after we saw two of them going at it for hours. No showing off, flexing of muscles, making a big noise or raising hell - they were just ‘peacefully’ fighting and it had been going on for so long they were both bleeding but it was still a carefully paced out fight.
This female and her baby kept watching for a while.
One of the Rhinos was sweating profusely and we named it “sweaty”. We bet that he will win but alas he lost and “dry” one won the battle.
FACT - Rhinos main predator is MAN. It has no natural predators. The rhino is prized for its horn. Not a true horn, it is made of thickly matted hair that grows from the skull without skeletal support. The major demand for horn is in Asia, where it is used in traditional medicine and ornamental carvings.
Just when we thought we had seen it all (as we didn’t expect to see anything much in Nakuru except the flamingos), we saw the lions – our first glimpse of the African lion! The most exciting thing was the way one was hiding behind a tree spying on us. Seeing a lion on top of a tree was pretty unusual for us! You don’t realize just how well camouflage works until you see something like this.
On the second day, after a desperate and disappointing search for leopards, we were returning to the lodge when we came upon this pride just about 200m from the Lodge gates!!!! They were right by the side of the road and seemed relaxed even though there were quite a few vehicles about.
It is hard to describe the Secretary Bird and its strange walk using a picture but it is one of the strangest birds you can see especially during its take off and landing. It’s a terrestrial bird of prey and is instantly recognizable as having an eagle-like body on crane-like legs. Don’t let the picture mislead you - the bird’s height is around 1.3 m (4 ft) tall.
Lilac breasted Roller
Helmeted Guniea Fowl
And then there is the Widow Bird. The first time I saw it, I thought it was a piece of a garbage bag floating in the wind. And then I saw the head, the red wings, the fluttering and the breath taking dance. It is truly a wonderful sight.
Purple glossy starling
Bush Buck (female)
On the first day, after a tiring morning drive, I fell asleep with the windows open (though we were advised not to). Mr was in the loo, as usual. I was fast asleep dreaming of hugging a cheetah when I was woken by some noises. In my half sleepy state, I assumed that it was ‘Mr as usual, going through the bags in an attempt to find something that we didn’t even bring! But the noise kept on going and I was getting really annoyed. I got up to give Mr a nice scolding for waking me when I saw…. looking straight at me….. a huge baboon sitting on the dresser going through my hand bag! For a minute I wondered if Mr had finally turned into this handsome fella on our dresser…. then I realised that it was not to be! I screamed and Mr. came running out of the toilet in the middle of his.…!!! When he saw Mr running in like a mad man, the baboon ran away taking our malaria tablets with him!