Saturday, June 6, 2015

Nakuru Safari

Wednesday marked the last day of service work for us and on Thursday we loaded into our van and headed for Nakuru, a town a bit larger than Nyeri about three hours to the southwest.  On the ride there we passed across the equator several times as the roads here zigzag up and down and we are literally that close to it.  We made three stops along the way.  The first was at a large waterfall, which was beautiful and we took lots of pictures there.

The next stop was at the Great Rift Valley (for a scientific description of this site, click here, for a less scientific description, clicking here would be better).  It's said that civilization began in the rift valley of Eastern Africa.


Sakwa and one of our students
Our final stop before arriving to our hotel was a crater.  The crater was pretty magnificent, but the journey to get there was far more interesting.  Brother Francis has been our steadfast tour guide throughout our time here in Kenya.  Driving in Kenya can cause anxiety, but we trust Brother with our lives and he's an excellent navigator.  He also likes to ignore gates and  Driving up to the crater we passed a guard booth.  The guards said something to Brother, he yelled something back and off we went.  Since none of us speak Swahili we didn't know what the actual interaction had been.  About ten minutes into our climb up a pretty bumpy dirt road a guard on a motor bike pulled up next to us and insisted we pull over.  He was so rude to Brother and then turned to us in the van and tried to be all nice and polite like we couldn't read tones even though we didn't speak Swahili.  He insisted Brother had ignored some rules of the road and after having him get out of the car I watched him try to count how many of us were in the van.  That was a sure sign of one thing: he expected a bribe to allow us to continue.  I was having no part of his attempts to be nice and sweet to the mzungus and really wanted to give him a piece of my mind, but since I was there for work and not personal enjoyment I kept my mouth shut.  After being allowed to go on by the guard we came upon two trucks, facing opposite directions on the road, both broken down and completely blocking the way.  We ended up having to take a back road that turned from dirt to grass to a small foot path and ended in someone's backyard, where we cut across back to the main road.  I think you'll agree from the photos it was worth the adventure.

Taking a stretch break waiting for the guard to let us go.  Can you tell he's excited for a safari?

Thunderstorm moving its way across the crater valley

We then checked into our hotel, had dinner with the brothers who work in Nakuru and called it an early night as we had to get up at 5am for our safari adventure.  Below are the photos from the safari.  As it rained the night before we had some close calls driving on the dirt roads in the park, but ever trustworthy Brother Francis got us through it all with no problems.  Amazing day!

Sunrise from the gate of Lake Nakuru National Park
Waterfall inside the park
A surprise rhino!  We had been told that they had all been moved for protective reasons, but then we found one.  So exciting!
A troupe of baboons hanging out in the road
Water buffalo


Baboon family thoroughly enjoying the picnic area Pumba from The Lion King
These trees were just really cool.  Brown on the bottom and green on the top.
View of Lake Nakuru from the top of a VERY rocky road

Zebras too!

Our safari shirt boys
After a 5am wake up call the kiddos were out for the count on the car ride home

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