by Annelieke Huijgens
My journey through Africa continued from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe through to Kenya, home to some of the world’s most stunning lakes – Nakuru and Naivasha, and impressive national parks of the Masai Mara and Samburu.
Nakuru & Naivasha
Driving through the beautiful Rift Valley of Kenya takes us for the next couple of nights to the lake area of Nakuru and Naivasha. These areas are both spectacular in their own right. Nakuru is known for its rhino population.
Rhinos are at risk of extinction and as such are very difficult to spot. This was our first sighting of rhinos whilst travel through Africa. They are peculiar animals and in my opinion whilst not really beautiful they are nonetheless impressive. The lake is known for its seasonal migrating flamingo population and all year round pods of pelicans.
Lake Naivasha is home to a large hippo population. In fact, in the evening hours you might find some hippos grazing the grounds of the lodge. Naivasha was also home to the famous conservationist and writer Joy Adamson and her pet Elsa the lioness. We visited her house where we enjoyed some afternoon tea and learnt about the lives of Joy and George Adamson.
Masai Mara is one of Africa’s best known wildlife regions. It begins in Kenya and runs into the Serengeti on the Tanzanian side.
We stayed inside the park and spent two nights at a lovely lodge. Staying in Masai Mara ensures the focus is on the game drives and on our second day we spent most of the day in the park and enjoyed lunch near the Mara River amongst the wildlife. The Mara River is the area where the wildebeest conduct their yearly migratory crossing.
The Africa’s Masai Mara is full of open plains with low vegetation, grass that grows to the roof tops of the vehicles, the odd tree and then some small bushes scattered over the plains. It is huge! Just driving for hours is an experience on its own. The elegant giraffe, the herds of elephant, warthogs, many species of antelope, leopards and lions make this an amazing time. Of course there is no guarantee to see any of the animals but being in their territory means that you are bound to see some. We were lucky enough to stumble across a pride of lionesses with their cubs. The guide turned off the engine and we just sat and watched the little ones playing and trying to get a drink from their mothers. This was 30 minutes I will never forget. It was like watching a television documentary but actually being there and I took hundreds of photos.
Located in the northern part of Kenya this is just a delightful national park. The lodge was located inside the park and from the dining area you just look out into the wilderness. The region is dotted with hills and lots of vegetation especially along the river banks. The scenery was spectacular and the wildlife abundant. Every time we went for a game drive our guide would try to look for different animals. We were lucky enough to spend some time looking at a parade of elephants bathing themselves in the river. The young ones were getting taught how to roll in the sand to give their skin some protection from the sun. It was a joy to see how the gentle mama was giving her kids a lesson in life.
The spotting of a leopard at sunset getting ready for the hunt, the small antelope called dig dig frantically running around looking for cover, some male zebras having a fight over who was in charge of the herd and that was just on one of our game drives. Samburu is certainly not to be missed in any trip to Kenya!
Read Part 1 of this story here