Our 3-day/2-night camping safari in Masai Masa National Reserve is over. After our early morning gaming and breakfast on the third day, we set out. Our game-mates were dropped off in a restaurant by the Great Rift Valley and will be picked up by another vehicle to Nairobi. We stayed in our gaming vehicle and travelled onwards to Nakuru.
We checked in a basic hotel for the night and will be starting the day early for a bird safari in Lake Nakuru.
Lake Nakuru is one of the three inter-linked relatively shallow lakes in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya. They are called the Kenya Lake System along with Lake Bogoria and Lake Elementaita and are inscribed in the World Heritage List in 2011.
Lake Nakuru is famous for its long-legged, long-necked greater and lesser flamingos as the Kenya Lake System is the single most important foraging site for the Lesser Flamingos in the world and provides the main nesting and breeding grounds for Great White Pelicans in the Great Rift Valley. The Lesser Flamingo has a deep-red carmine bill and pink plumage while the Greater Flamingo has a black-tipped bill.
The lesser flamingos feed on algae that grows on the lake. However, the number of lesser flamingos have been decreasing in the recent years.
As planned, we went to Lake Nakuru National Park early. Our guide said early mornings are the best time to visit. We came early and we didn’t see any other group until later when we were almost done.
When we reached the entrance of the park, our guide cautioned us to close our windows as there were lots of baboons roaming around. We instantly obeyed as we looked around and there they were, in the parking lot, in the trees…
We went into the park and followed this compacted, dusty trail that was lined with these African acacia trees. Antik and I agree that seeing these trees in person and not just in movies like The Lion Ling confirm that we are indeed in Africa.
Not long after we left the Main Gate of the park, we saw these playful creatures!
The game park’s baboons! Our driver was right. There are plenty of them in this park. We observed them from inside our vehicle for a while, then we continued on.
Our excitement was building up. Lake Nakuru isn’t just about birds and flamingos after all.
Not far from the baboons, we saw these deer sneaking by the grass.
Then we saw a group of impalas. They are my second favorite animals from my safari trips.
After traversing that short trail, our view opened to this wide expanse.
This is my first view of Lake Nakuru and its white pelicans. Our driver said we will go to the main area of the lake in a bit. So this was just a teaser!
Our driver stopped our vehicle somewhere by the lake and allowed us to get out and enjoy the view, the pelicans, the lesser flamingos and other birds.
The area has a dreamy, foggy ambiance. The visibility of the mountains not far are not too clear from where we were. They took on as a silhouette backdrop.
It was difficult for Antik and I to take photos with the birds as they fly away when they sense movement :p
The pelicans outnumbered the lesser flamingos by so much.
There were not millions of lesser flamingos as expected. Our driver said that at that time of the year (October), the flamingos were in another lake. We missed to see the pink-ness of the lake brought about the algae-feeding birds, but still, they were a sight to behold.
We lingered the lakeside for a bit, admiring the peace and tranquility of the place. There were still no other tourists around. We could stand there for a long time just watching these charming birds laze around the lake.
Apart from pelicans and the lesser flamingos, we were able to see other birds around.
After we had our fill of our avian friends, our driver advised us to climb our vehicle for there are our dangerous, carnivore friends where we were heading to.
We were heading to Baboon Cliff to have a different perspective of Lake Nakuru. In the photo below, somewhere in that cliff is where we were going.
But we had a short safari on our way. We saw a few white rhinoceroses lazily grazing. We watched them eat so peacefully, unmindful of the audience they had that morning.
But what I enjoyed the most is passing by a herd of playful zebras. There was this one zebra that was teasing his friends. I know you can tell from my photos below which one he is.
We passed by this slow-walking giraffe, contrary to the 3 playful giraffes we saw in Lake Naivasha.
Then we went up to Baboon Cliff. It was a perfect look-out spot of where we came from. I wonder how beautiful it would be if the million lesser flamingos were present to color the lake pink!
We didn’t spot a water buffalo earlier, but now we know where he is! Sharing an “island” with his bird friends 🙂
The Baboon Cliff, contrary to its name, did not have baboons roaming. It was made to be a lookout/picnic spot with table and benches provided.
And we saw these colorful lizards and I had fun chasing them around until I was able to take their photos.
We did stay for much longer as we will still be doing a walking safari in Lake Naivasha.
On our way out of the trip, we saw this wise owl as if saying that visiting Lake Nakuru was a wise choice 🙂
We enjoyed this safari tremendously. Unlike in Masai Mara where we had to share being an audience with other tourists, we had this park to ourselves. Some were lucky to see most of the big 5 game animals while we only saw two. We saw them all in Masa Mara anyway, and we just came here for our avian friends.
An easy day trip from Nairobi, it was worth waking up early in the morning for. Leaving Lake Nakuru, we were on our way to Lake Naivasha for a different kind of safari 🙂