Thursday, September 7, 2017

Safari, day 4: to Nakuru

This morning about half the group left early to go on a boat trip on the lake. I've had a headache for a couple of days, so we decided to have a relaxing morning here at the lodge.

I sat on the balcony, happily scribbling in my journal, while Wil went for a little safari ... all without going beyond the fence. He saw giraffes:

Some waterbuck:

And some zebras:

this guy is posing for my banana leaf "painting", I think

A strangely beautiful bird:

And a very rare sighting of a wild Tony:

Eventually it was time for us to go, so we drove out to pick up the boat trippers, and waited around there and admired these badass storks.

Also overheard: "OMG, there are zebras here without stripes!" No one had the heart to tell her that they were DONKEYS.

Once the boats came in we were able to get on the road to our next destination. A couple of hours later and we arrived at Lake Nakuru National Park.

Our little line of minivans got stopped at the gate for several minutes. Joseph had to sort out the money and the tickets... while all the other vans sped off to the lodge. He told us afterward that he would NOT be in charge of the money next time.

But eventually we arrived at the lodge -- a tented camp -- though the introductory talk was in full swing by the time we rushed in. But we knew the basics: soon there would be lunch, then an afternoon game drive, then dinner. Perfect.

We were given a tent in a GREAT location -- #17 was right at the end of a row of tents, so our view was of the gardens.

Our "tent" was also glorious. We had a front porch with 2 chairs and a table. Inside we had a huge king bed in the middle of the tent, a vanity/desk and chair, a comfy chair, two bedside tables, and two sets of shelves, one holding a safe.

The bathroom was huge -- far bigger than ours at home -- with toilet, sinks, and a big walk-in shower. And a very cute touch: shampoo and conditioner in little jars.

This lodge -- Flamingo Hill -- is great. Nice food, including African dishes on the buffet. At lunch they also had a tandoor and made custom naan breads -- delicious!

Our evening game drive was slightly disappointing... but also just what we came here to do. We saw a pair of white rhinos really near the road -- which was so exciting I might have squealed out loud.

We also saw a huge group of giraffes very close... who came closer...

... and then crossed in front of us ...

... before moving along.

We also drove out to the lake to see some flamingo, though not the flock of thousands we had hoped for. We learned that this lake had also flooded, which meant that the flamingo weren't able to feed like they once had.

We passed some crowned crested cranes -- surprisingly majestic:

These little warthog babies (wartpiglets?) were adorable -- "tails up!":

And we saw some good looking zebras, who we decided are the friendliest, mellowest animals on the savannah, since they hang out with everyone:

Some water buffalo... including a very attentive baby:

And, yes, another gorgeous bird...

Oh, and a glimpse of an eland, the largest of the antelope. This photo has a hint of "bigfoot film" about it... but I assure you, we did see him.

Another highlight -- a glimpse of a shy black rhino:

But I could tell that Joseph was feeling frustrated -- like he wasn't showing us a good time, somehow. But we came here to see rhino and flamingo, so job done, I think!

We went back to the lodge, where we relaxed on our patio for a bit before going back to the lobby for the dancing.

By the end everyone was involved, either in a conga line or a "tunnel of love" or just dancing. It was fun and happy and joyous. And that's not just because the bar a) poured strong drinks and b) said they'd be open "till the lastman standing...falls!"

We had dinner -- why, yes, it *was* a buffet! -- and then there was more dancing. The dinner didn't have the custom naan breads, but did offer lots of grilled meats, and for us some interesting vegetable stew, and a delicious mashed roof vegetable dish that was delicious. And kachumbari, of course. Oh, and ugali ... only the second time I've seen it here!

At the bar we had a "drink of the day": something called a Dawa -- which had vodka, lime, and brown sugar. Maybe not the best cocktail I've ever had, but happy to have had one.

 After dinner we made a quick visit to the campfire, but then retreated to our amazing tent. 

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