Friday, September 3, 2010
… but it sure as hell can buy some comfort. So this morning as I depart from Nairobi none the less sad to be seeing it go, I nearly got into the wrong bloody car again. It seems when the Nairobi bandits are not trying to steal you blind, the honest ones will smile, nod and say yes to anything because they want to be helpful.. even if yes should be HELL NO!
But once in the right truck with Sammy, I’m on my way to Nakuru. Now I am expecting a camp, nicer than the one in Tanzania because .. well I’ve paid about three times as much. This is my time to truly let someone else take care of me and relax and enjoy. Well, as we bump our way along the typical potholed, washboarded dirt roads of Kenya, we take a left turn at a defunct gas station and start driving down one of the worst roads I have ever seen. The typical one room shacks all around. Suddenly we take a turn and start going down a 25% grade and WHAM.. the view smacks me square in the face! Simply magnificent. I am on the edge of a massive caldera (extinct and collapsed volcano) looking at lush green forest over volcanic rock. Then I see the camp. Thatch roofed lodging over top of what technically still is called a tent.. however that tent is attached to a permanent structure which houses the flush toilets and private shower.
So since I have beat the rest of my safari crew to the site I settle in for a read and nap. Two hours later with a beer in my hand soaking up the view, the rest of the crowd shows up. Now I wont lie, I was a bit worried to see a bunch of seniors rolling into camp.. yes everyone was in their mid to late 60’s if I had to guess. We had Rus and Val from Australia (Rus is a retired structural engineer and Val a geologist and urban highway planner) and brother and sister pair of Annie (retired heavy machinery operator and apparently obsessive documentary watcher!) from Flagstaff and Robert (retired school worker) from Montana. Well it turns out of course that they are VERY nice people and we hit it off just fine. I have to tell you after two weeks of traveling with Aussies I’m going to miss the dry sarcastic humor!
Well today we scheduled to go for a nature walk down into the crater but alas mother nature had her own plans and brought us a thunder storm. So I sat with .. you guessed it.. TEA.. ha.. fooled you! on the balcony of my tent overlooking the crater, reading and writing in my journal. Then had arguably the best meal I have had this trip.
The next morning we are up at the crack of dawn for an all day game drive into Lake Nakuru National Park. This place was amazing! Renowned for its population of flamingos, it didn’t disappoint. With numbers ranging in the high 10’s of thousands, the shores of the lake from a distance look like they have been painted pink. While we are looking at the flamingos we are treated to the rare sighting of both a black and white rhino. In addition, the hyena make an appearance as well as numerous other birds and zebra, gazelle, Impala and the MASSIVE water buffalo.
Well, as the day rolls on we sight a family of 6 lions which apparently is exceedingly rare in this park. The Rothschild Giraffe makes an appearance which is nice to see as they are the most at risk species of giraffe in Africa. They are such graceful creatures I just can’t help wanting to watch them for long periods of time.
Finally as the day winds down we continue to search for the elusive leopard with no luck.. but we do spot even more lions as well as baboons and the black faced velvet monkey.
With the temperature dropping for the first time, I have to put on layers. Yes can you believe that a mere 300 Km from the equator and I am putting on my thermal shirt as well as my wind breaker to stay warm. At night we are treated to a hot water bottle in our bed by the ever attentive staff which I can’t say enough about. I would recommend the Maili Saba camp to anyone. Not only was the service impeccable but the profits go to support the Ujima foundation which supports children who have been orphaned and are taking care of their younger siblings. The foundation teaches them work skills and empowers them to hold good jobs in the hospitality industry (Kenya’s #1 economic driver) and to break the cycle of poverty so often awaiting them.
Finally the next morning, we are off on the 6 hour trek to Masai Mara.. but that’s another day.
Pictures & Video
Can you find the 5th leg
Bad case of blue balls! … KW