We don't need to stop by every Pumba!

Community Highlights Africa & The Middle East We don't need to stop by every Pumba!

4.12. Monday

After breakfast our driver and safari guide Dan came to pick us up for our safari! Neither of us has ever been one so I was very excited.
It took couple of hours to drive from Nairobi to Lake Nakuru National Park. On the way we stopped on Great Rift Valley. The weather was cloudy but the view was still good from the view point. There was a cafeteria and a souvenir shop also on there, we took a looksie in the souvenir shop but didn’t buy anything.

109ca0a0-fce3-11ee-8cea-fb7647c02338.jpg

Toni and our Land Cruiser in Great River Valley

The traffic was still a little bit scary, there were many passings but luckily Dan was a good and smooth driver. What was also scary was how close to the edge people had built houses and other buildings, I was half expecting one of them to fall off!

Our hotel was situated inside of Lake Nakuru National Park so we had our first safari right after we entered the park, even before we checked in to our hotel. We had a Land Cruiser which roof popped up so I got my binoculars and jumped up first chance I got. Scenery was so beautiful and we drove along dirt road which snaked near the lake. Dan spotted us our first animals immediately, sadly I wasn’t able to spot the hippo before it dived. But I saw wild hogs, which are referred to as Pumba now on, impalas, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, waterbucks, buffalos, pelicans and those flamingos I had chosen this particular safari for!

Safari.jpg

Me standing in our car in first safari ever!

0e5a51c0-fce3-11ee-8c40-0731180e203a.jpg

Flamingos

0fc8d5e0-fce3-11ee-8cea-fb7647c02338.jpg

Buffalo just chilling around

Dan had been communicating with other guides via walkie talkie since we drove through the park gates and the other guides had spotted something. Dan told me to sit back down and that we would need to drive fast so we wouldn’t miss it. So off we went, and we were able to be the third car that came by the lions! They were lazily laying around just beside the road and we had perfect spot to watch them for a while. What amazed me then and thorough our whole stay was the fact that the animals were so use to people! They didn’t mind the vehicles driving by or that they were constantly watched by someone.

12009d70-fce3-11ee-8cea-fb7647c02338.jpg

Lions

0fd224b0-fce3-11ee-8c40-0731180e203a.jpg

Look how close to the giraffe Toni is!

After we had watched our fill, we headed to our accommodation. Which was even better in reallife than in the photos! I was so glad I opted Lake Nakuru Sopa Lodge, even when it wasn’t the cheapest option. We got our own cabin, which was huge! There was big bathroom, and bedroom/living room with huge windows, and own balcony!

1082d710-fce3-11ee-8c40-0731180e203a.jpg

Our Cabin

0f047470-fce3-11ee-8c40-0731180e203a.jpg

Our Cabin

Before we had our lunch, Dan asked if we would like to do another drive through the park but we opted to settle in. Hotel had a pool, which wasn’t heated and even while during the day it was warm enough, it wasn’t warm enough for swimming in my liking if there was wind or sun wasn’t shining. And after lunch the sun was hiding behind winds so we just enjoyed our great room and explored around the site.

0e0b2050-fce3-11ee-8c40-0731180e203a.jpg

Toni enjoying beer in the bar at Sopa Lodge

5.12. Tuesday

During the night my stomach was starting to act up so I was bit worried about todays safari but luckily the Imodium helped and I braved a day in the car.
Immediately after breakfast we headed in to the park. Being still early it was a bit chilly but it didn’t take long for me to forget this mild discomfort (I only had a hoody on top of my t-shirt) when we started to spot the first animals. Dan occasionally stopped the car so we could observe the animals better and during the day I really fought the urge to ask him to stop by every Pumba I saw (Toni actually pleaded me to stop after first couple, ahem, or third or fourth time..)! I found them really fascinating, they trot around proudly, without a care in the world. We were told that Pumbas have world worst memory, sensing danger they start to run but after a few seconds they forget why they were running, stopped and another one bites the dust…

20231205_085820.jpg

Pumbas still kicking!

I had already seen the flamingos yesterday so I wasn’t really expecting to see any particular animal anymore, I was just enjoying the scenery. But when we spotted the leopard lying in the grass it was quite thrilling experience. They are apparently hard to spot. Dan was just reporting to other guides where we were when the leopard decided that he wouldn’t like extra audience and jogged in to the trees.
With this sighting we had now seen 4 out of the Big 5 (Africas Big 5 consists of lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant).

11b822c0-fce3-11ee-8c40-0731180e203a.jpg

Leopard

Lunch we had again at the lodge and again we were able to decide what we wanted to do during the evening. Near the hotel we had seen signs pointing towards different look out points and Dan said that we could go to visit one. After asking which one is the best, Dan said that all of them were more or less the same and since I had mentioned Out of Africa – look outpoint that’s where we headed. The road to there were thrilling, I think Toni really enjoyed seeing what our Land Cruiser could do! At points it seemed that we were going almost vertically! I took some photos but looking at those you can’t really see how upright the road was! But the main point was that it was fun!

Weather was again a bit cloudy but still the view to the lake was beautiful and we spent quite some time in there just looking around and chatting. Dan told us that there use to be millions of flamingos in the lake but since the lake had started to expand, number of flamingos migrating back had been decreasing. The beautiful pink color of flamingos comes from the algae they eat, and, that particular algae only grow in salty water. Lake being expanding doing to rainwater running from the hills, the salt content in the lake had decreased too. This could be seen not only in the dwindling flock of pink birds but also when you look in to the coast of lake. There were a lot of eerie looking tree trunks standing. Before those trees had been part of the forest but when the water level had reached them, they had eventually died standing up since the water, even diluted, were salty.

0f92f8d0-fce3-11ee-8c40-0731180e203a.jpg

Out of Africa View Point

Water level had also cut branch of the path from the main road and from here you could also see the old road. Our guide had last been in this particular view point 15 years ago and he told us that most of the cars couldn’t reach here anymore since the old road hadn’t been as steep as the road we took today. Even if while driving around the park we hadn’t seen very many other vehicles, in here it really felt that we were alone in the world, it was so tranquil. Probably being so small, Nakuru National Park isn’t so popular than the other, bigger parks. Apparently, it was kind of a gate-way for example to Maasai Mara (which is one of the most popular parks in Kenya) where people usually be only 1 night. So other guides had been shocked to hear that Dan would be here as long as 3 nights!

LandCruiset.jpg

Land Cruiser

Look out point being not far from the lodge we took detour going back and I am so glad we did! It happened to be one of the most memorable moments of my life! We had the hills on the other side and the park at the other, the sun was starting to set and there were herd of zebras slowly walking just beside the road. I will add below a few photos of this so you can enjoy the moment with me!

0f4e4eb0-fce3-11ee-8c40-0731180e203a.jpg

Sunset with Zebras

0e2733d0-fce3-11ee-8cea-fb7647c02338.jpg

Sunset with Rhinos

6.12. Wednesday

Like this whole trip, today too, I was happy with my decision of taking a private safari. This morning, we opted to sleep in and check out the pool. The pool was small but I was still able to do some laps since other guests were at the park, it was almost like we had our own private pool.
When we left the guy working at the bar asked that would we please come back, we had been his only customers whole day and he was bored!

0db14080-fce3-11ee-8cea-fb7647c02338.jpg

Private Pool

Lazy morning and lunch behind us, we were ready for another safari. Today there weren’t as much animals as before but we learned about rhinos and acacia trees. Apparently, these trees have roots growing very near the surface and during rain-season and high winds there is a real chance that the trees fall down. There are several accidents like this in a year.

Even if there weren’t as many animals to be seen, we did see lions again. Today they were in the trees, and we were told that this is quite rare too.

During our time in the Sopa Lodge we had come to know several of the people working there and at dinner today one of the ladies came to tell me that they have a surprise for us. They had prepared a cake for us! They danced around the restaurant and singed us a song when they brought it to us! And in the cake it read “Kwa heri Karibu tena”, it is Swahili and means” Good bye and welcome back”. If I ever get to go back to Kenya, I would definitely want to go back to Sopa lodge! My blog is not about advertising but I really can recommend Lake Nakuru Sopa Lodge! And Beyond the Plains Kenya Safari and their lovely Yvonne, whom I booked this safari from.

0db31540-fce3-11ee-8c40-0731180e203a.jpg

Kwa Heri Karibu Tena / Good bye cake

7.12. Friday

Today we needed to wake up really early, we would have a long day a head of us. While checking out I asked in the reception that would it be possible that if I leave my postcards could they drop them in the post office next time they go there. It was okay so I left the postcards there and hopped one last time in the Land Cruiser.

The Lodge situating inside the park, we were able to have a one final safari before leaving. I had prepared that we wouldn’t see much, it being so early, but I was wrong! We had hardly got away from the hotel when Dan spotted hyenas beside the road and little further there was lion in the middle of the road. He and his ladies had hunted a zebra and were having a nap after eating. If I am honest I was just a wee bit nervous to be so near these predators. Lucky for us, they weren’t hungry. I think that seeing king of the lion standing in the middle of the road you are driving would make everybody, if not nervous, at least little bit tense. He did move in the end and we were on our way. The morning mist with the rising sun made the scenery so beautiful (again) and we were too soon outside of the park.

164042f0-fce3-11ee-8cea-fb7647c02338.jpg

Lions with their kill

0f380790-fce3-11ee-8cea-fb7647c02338.jpg

King of the Road

0eb12450-fce3-11ee-8c40-0731180e203a.jpg

Sunrise Hyena

0eec7fa0-fce3-11ee-8cea-fb7647c02338.jpg

Rhino in morning walk with her baby

In the grand scheme if you think about “real Africa” this is not it. But this was the part of Africa I loved the most, especially the part of the sunrise and the zebras. But we needed to move on even if I wouldn’t have minded a few days or even weeks more in here. One day to just sit and observe the flamingos, other day for the Pumbas and maybe one day I would even see that ever evasive hippopotamus…

This featured blog entry was written by hennaonthetrek from the blog hennaonthetrek.
Read comments or Subscribe

By hennaonthetrek

Posted Wed, Apr 17, 2024 | Kenya | Comments