9th September 2008 – Lake Naivasha
An early morning game drive before breakfast, in fact as the sun was rising! A report over the radio of a Leopard sighting took us to the airstrip, but it had disappeared into the trees. However, we did see Zebra, Giraffe, Buffalo and Jackal; as well as two White Rhino sparring with one another! The lake shore was teeming with Pelicans and Flamingos as usual.
Rhinos at Lake Nakuru
We returned to the lodge for breakfast and then it was time to bid farewell to Lake Nakuru as we moved on to Lake Naivasha. En route to Naivasha we saw troops of Baboons and a herd of Zebra by the main road! As we headed towards Naivasha, the road ran parallel with the railway line linking Nakuru with Nairobi. Along this stretch we caught up with, and passed, a southbound freight train.
Southbound freight train
Our destination was the Lake Naivasha Country Club, which we reached just after mid-day. This turned out to be another charming colonial style building with a number of “chalets” in its beautiful grounds, 6,200 feet above sea level and 80 kilometres south of the Equator. Lake Naivasha Country Club dates back to the 1930s with its origins as a staging post for the Imperial Airways Flying Boat service between the U.K. and South Africa. As we sat eating lunch we could hear the rumble of thunder in the distance, and on asking a member of staff if it was going to rain, he replied, “Yes, soon!”
Following lunch we went for a stroll through the grounds, but as we left our room we saw a member of staff carrying a platter of fruit and some cutlery, who asked if we were from Room 24. When we confirmed that we were, she said, “This is for you!” This reduced Sandra to tears as this was clearly because I had said that the safari was for her 50th birthday when I had booked it!
After depositing the fruit in our room, we continued our stroll, spotting monkeys in the trees and some Impala wandering at the edge of the lawns, on the fringe of the trees. Sure enough, as predicted earlier, it started to rain, but we continued our walk towards the lake where we discovered a Camel tied up by the jetty! (Half an hour ride along the lake shore – 500 KSH per person!).
Beautiful trailing blooms in the grounds of Lake Naivasha Country Club
On the lake shore we found an African Fish Eagle perched in a tree and saw Pied Kingfishers on the jetty. As the rain became heavier we made our way back to our room via the shop, to enjoy our fruit. We sat out on the verandah to eat, watching the rain fall until it stopped, at which point we discovered that two Maribou Storks had taken up post in a nearby tree.
10th September 2008
Straight after breakfast we set out on the drive to the Maasai Mara – an uneventful journey broken by the usual comfort stop at one of the roadside “curio” stores, where an old boy, wearing a very smart beadwork tie featuring the Kenyan flag, was selling newspapers. The toilet block, at the rear of the store, was adorned with some very well executed paintings of a male and female Maasai, to indicate the designation of the two “departments”!
Pitstop en route to the Mara
We arrived at Keekorok Lodge in the Maasai Mara at lunchtime – one of the few lodges we had encountered so far that was not fenced in. Our room was another delight – overlooking the open savannah of the Mara. From the verandah we could hear Hippos in the pool, just a short distance away. Two trees by our verandah provided ample opportunity to sample the local bird life! We were advised that because of the open nature of the grounds it was not unusual to find Hippos and other wildlife wander after dark – as we were to discover!
Following lunch we went on an exploration of the lodge and discovered a viewing platform overlooking the Hippo Pool, complete with a bar! After watching the Hippos for some time, we walked back to our room, in the rain, via an excellent souvenir shop!
The afternoon game drive produced elephants, lions, giraffes, zebra, wildebeest and buffalo, in great numbers.
At dinner that evening, somebody’s birthday and another couple’s engagement were celebrated, with the staff bringing in a cake and a bottle of champagne, accompanied by singing, flaming torches and the beating of tin trays! Sandra was slightly worried in case they were coming to our table to celebrate her 50th birthday!