Here Comes The Planet 57 – Kenya 03

Another safari episode! So much African animal spotting!

Also, apparently Kat thinks it’s getting hot in here.

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Kenya: Lake Mburo and Naivasha

Zebra skull.

At Lake Mburo we camped fairly wild. There was a big expanse of dirt by the lake and a small shelter for cooking in. Some warthogs came by to investigate and Mash (our cook) had to chase them off with a camp chair. While I was washing up I kept thinking there was one right behind me. Warthogs are one of the few animals that are simultaneously kinda cute and scary. When we were in the Masai Mara we saw one chase a cheetah, so while they might be a friendly character from the Lion King, they’re also capable of killing a big cat. ‘Pumba’, btw, is Swahili for ‘warthog’. See? This blog is entertaining *and* educational.

Snuffling around the tents.

We got up pretty early in the morning and the tent was muddy when we packed it up. We did a walking tour the next morning but didn’t see much, although I did spot (and identify – I’m like the African equivalent of Crocodile Dundee) a lion print. Mainly we looked at animal spore, insects and plants.

Zebra bits.

I quite liked seeing the smaller detail stuff that you don’t see from a jeep. I would’ve liked to do a bush food walk. We did see a baby warthog that had been left behind in a burrow by its parents.

Everyone gathers to take a photo.

It nearly ran under Luke’s feet when it tried to escape and it was about the size of a guinea pig. Unfortunately female warthogs don’t have much in the way of protective instincts towards their children and, faced with danger, will just run as fast as they can and not go back to look so there’s a fair chance this little one might not find its parent again.

Poor little thing!

Other than the warthogs, Lake Mburu wasn’t terribly exciting. We heard the hippos but they were mostly submerged and there wasn’t much else to see there. Our next stop was at Naivasha, a campsite not far from Nairobi and by a lake. There was an electric fence around the lake to keep the tourists away from the hippos. Apparently a lady had been squashed by one a few years back.

This campsite was close to Elsamere, Joy Adamson’s home. She was the author of ‘Born Free’ and raised lions, cheetahs and a leopard, as well as being an accomplished painter. Having read the Wikipedia article on her life, it has a lot more information about the way she died than was given when we visited the house. She seems to have been one of those people whose strong will and determination allow them to accomplish much but also makes them difficult to get along with.

Part of the visit to the house and museum was an afternoon tea in the garden. While I was taking a photo for Scott and Michelle a Colobus Monkey ran up behind me and made a grab for my food! I kind of grabbed it by the shoulder (they’re medium-sized monkeys) and pushed it away. It felt a bit like my dog Penny – rough haired. It managed to take a biscuit with it then sat up the nearest tree munching away, A bit exciting, really.  My first hands-on brush with nature.

Tea in the garden where lions were raised.

Nakuru National Park

Who’s studying who?

The alternative title for this post could’ve been ‘Not Our Best Game Drive Ever’. We woke up early and got into the vans (not jeeps this time – the vans are 4 wheel drive but don’t have the clearance of jeeps. This turned out to be rather unfortunate) in groups of 7. I was with Luke, Kat, Lucas, Pam, Ross and Joan.

After very heavy rains even getting out of the property was a challenge but we made it to the park which is set around Lake Nakuru, home of many black rhinos and many more birds than the previous parks I’ve been to. We were hoping to see flamingoes, although the rising water levels meant that most had left to find shallower lakes where the algae was easier to reach.

After a long wait to get into the park we got in and drove around, spotting rhinos almost immediately. Although I’m happy to see them, I don’t find rhinos all that interesting an I’ve seen them plenty of times in the past anyhow. The first one we saw did do something I’ve never seen before – it urinated. Now, this might not sound like something worth mentioning, but it was like someone had snuck underneath the rhino with a firehose, directed it horizontally out between the rhino’s hind legs and intermittently let it off. Quite an eye-opening sight and something you wouldn’t want to see too close up. It went on for ages.

We were part of a group of 3 vans as we drove around and, as I’ve said, there’d been heavy rains. Along one road there were some decent sized puddles and the first van got bogged.

Uh oh.

Fortunately a jeep came by and towed them out. Then the second van in our convoy (we were last) drove into exactly the same pothole, much to everyone’s surprise. There was plenty of room on the other side of the road so what, exactly, the driver was thinking, we had no idea. When that van was extricated, thanks to another jeep, our champion driver, Charles, managed to get across without getting bogged. There was much clapping and cheering within our van.

‘Adventure!’ say the drivers, every time something goes wrong.

Once we were all across we turned back to see that the helpful jeep had also become bogged but much, much worse than our vans had been – on one side the back corner was in up to its window. Of course we all piled out to have a good look and take photos and video. Even Charles got out his camera and had a photo with me in front of the stranded vehicle.

Eventually we all gave up on helping the jeep and headed off. The only noteworthy thing (in my books) that happened on the way out was seeing two young male giraffes play-fighting.

Whiplash!

They were bashing their necks and heads together. Despite this being quite far away I could’ve sat there and watched for hours. I didn’t think I’d get to see that in our travels so I was extremely happy. Oh, we also saw some very cute monkeys along the road, quite close up too.

So really, not such a bad drive, and certainly exciting at points. Africa’s like that – you never know what’s around the corner.

Impala!