Lions, cheetahs, hippos, zebras, giraffes, all the animals you loved as kids, all can be seen on safari, all in the wild, only here in Africa. I’ve waited a long time to come to Africa and the first few days on safari definitely didn’t disappoint. The first three days of my Kenyan tour included visiting an orphanage, and visiting two wildlife sanctuaries, at Lake Nakuru
and Lake Navivsha.
One thing you notice when you drive across Kenya are all the children waving with big smiles as you go by. They literally run out of houses as the safari bus goes by and wave and jump around smiling. Everywhere we went there were children greeting us, being curious of all these white travelers amongst them, and then of course me! Unlike the rest of my group, to them, I somewhat look like them, but not totally, you could see them trying to figure out where I was from, why I had hair on my arms lol.
Me at the orphanage with Sarah
Unlike in China, I loved the curiosity of the kids and for that matter the African people. Here I seemed to fit in, well just a little bit, for a change it was nice. Our first stop was an orphanage run by the Intrepid Tour company. There were a ton of happy and curious kids there. Some with no parents, some with parents that were sick with AIDs and some that had HIV/AIDs themselves. Similar to the orphanage in Goa, I am amazed how happy these kids are! Their happiness is infectious. As always I had my camera on hand, so I took a bunch of pictures and shared them with the kids. I find I always seem to bond with people when I show them pictures of them, especially the little ones, they get so excited to see there face in the little screen.
Very cute. We ended up spending about an hour at the orphanage that day. The kids put on a little show for us, dancing and singing songs for our group. On the way out, all the kids took one of our hands and walked us out. They were so happy that we came to visit them, a few of the little ones really took a liking to me and I had about three hold my hand to walk me out. All the kids, always try to hold your hand :) Sarah, a little girl about 3 or 4, was the cutest. The house mother told me, that she was fighting a little with another little girl over me, lol saying in Swahili “he’s mine”! Cute.
Later that first day, our safari began at Lake Nakuru, here we set up our first camp. That night on our first game drive we saw quite a few animals, including zebras, gazelles, water buffalo, lions and even the rare black and white rhinos! Zebra and gazelle are EVERYWHERE here.
Zebra with Flamingos in the background
Back home you go to the zoo and you see a few, here just driving down a random road you’re bound to see some zebra and gazelle. Amazing. We were lucky enough to see a lone white rhino, VERY close to the safari truck. For a moment it stood there and looked at us, as we all clicked away, and then once it seemed everyone was done with the photos, it quietly turned around and walked away! We did see two black rhino as well, but they were VERY far in the horizon, black rhinos are highly endangered, so even to see them from a distance was a very rare site. Of course the highlight of any safari are the lions. You know there are lions around, when you see a group of safari vehicles in the distance! Its almost important to try and spot the animals as it is to spot the other safari vehicles! That day we saw 3 lions.
One sighting was quite amazing as it was spotted by our “bionic spotter” Gavin. All of a sudden, after about an hour of not seeing anything, Gavin yells out “lion in a tree, LION-IN-A-TREE!!”. The truck stops and everyone starts to peer out! Of course no one sees the lion, except Gavin. As everyone cracks out the binoculars and me the zoom lens, we all finally see it. How he even saw this lion is amazing, considering lions are RARELY found up in a tree! Only a few are known to have this behaviour. But there it was in the distance, peering right back at us, just chilling.
Early the next morning at Lake Naivasha
, we headed out on a safari walking tour.
Hippos fighting or playing!
Unlike the normal safari by truck, in this particular park you are allowed to roam freely with a guide. Of course here there aren’t any predators that can potentially kill you! Just zebras, gazelles, water buffloo, giraffes, hippos, flamingos; although the guide did mention there were leopards in the park, but you very rarely see a leopard and if you did, it most likely would run await. I think the highlight of that early morning walking tour was being able to walk amongst the giraffes. Imagine just being able to walk about 20 feet away from these giants. Just watching them float about and eat from the forest of yellow acacia’s around was amazing. Definitely a great way to start off the day. :)
One thing, before I end this entry I need to say a little about camping out.
This overland experience so far is great! Everyone gets along really well and helping out with chores isn’t as bad as we all thought it would be. For me I enjoy helping out with the cooking the most, I miss cooking! “Flapping” of the plates is also entertaining lol [Flapping means basically moving around plates, utensils, and pots in the air until they are dry!]. But thus far I would say the hardest thing about camping, is dealing with the unbelievably COLD nights! For 5 months I’ve lugged around my sleeping bag for this part of the trip. For some dumb reason I thought equatorial Africa was always hot, so I brought a summer-weight sleeping bag! Who ever said Africa was hot, LIED! :) I soon found out even though the days are generally hot, at night it can get cold, damn cold! The first three nights I froze my nuts off and had to wear ALL my clothes, a scarf and a toque just to keep warm! Ah its tough camping under the stars in Africa ;)
Next up, a Masai Village and the world famous Masai Mara Game Reserve!