East Africa Day 6 – The Ark

As it was a 07:00 departure it was necessary to get up at 05:55 to have time to finish packing. However even though we were told breakfast was from 06:00 when we got to the dining area we were then told it’d be another 30 minutes. By the time the breakfast was ready it had gone from being dark out to being daylight. We were then on the road more or less on time, though not quite due to the late breakfast.

At the Equator – Nanyuki

On the drive from Samburu to Aberdares we went back the way we had come a few days before. This time however we stopped at the equator where we saw them demonstrate the Coriolis effect on water in both hemispheres and on the equatorial line. We were then expected to look around shops for the second time that morning. I didn’t buy anything though as they were far too pushy – they kept interrupting our guide who was telling us about the equator so that they could try and sell us things. At the first stop prior to this we were there for an excessive 40 minutes, left to wander around the shop.

We got to Aberdares Country Club at approximately 12:00, and after checking in there for the Ark we waited for lunch. We had to leave our suitcases behind at the Country Club as you can’t take much to the Ark. This meant taking my camera bag and trying to take my wash bag along with it.

Lunch was around 13:00 and was followed by another short wait before getting onto a larger bus for a 40 minute drive. Once in Aberdares National Park we saw a Colobus (Mounted Guezira), more warthogs, and a couple of African Cape Buffaloes. The bus stopped at the top of some stairs that led down to some boardwalks.

African Cape Buffalo

Before venturing down onto the boardwalks we first had to have a briefing of what would happen and were then led down to the Ark where we were shown to our rooms. My room was probably one the best located ones as it was on the top floor and overlooked the drinking pool from two windows.

The Ark

Around the pool there were small African Elephants (which the guide incorrectly identified as forest elephants – but you don’t get them in this part of Kenya), many buffaloes, herons, coots, a waterbuck, and warthogs. You could also view these from various viewing balconies on each floor, and from a hide at ground level.

To improve the number of animals drinking at the pool they also scatter salt on the ground, supplementing what was already there. If there are any sightings there is the option to be alerted via a buzzer in the rooms. The more buzzes there are, the rarer the animal being sighted, or there is a sign of an impending kill.

Hartlaub’s Turaco (Tauraco hartlaubi)

Next on the itinerary was a bird watching session from the boardwalk. On this we saw numerous species of bird inclusive of a rare Hartlaub’s Turaco, a bush baby, an African Ground squirrel, and snipes. This left just enough time for a shower before the talk about Aberdares National Park. This time I was able to get some warm water unlike the previous two places.

Bush baby

As with previous days the evening meal was at 19:30. I had Italian Minestrone Soup, pasta, and mango strudel. It was a very nice meal, and one of the most enjoyable of the trip to date. Whilst waiting for the soup to arrived we saw a white tailed mongoose. After we’d eaten there were then bush babies and these cat like creatures on the fire escape outside.

Sunset at the Ark

I was then in the hide until about 22:45 watching hyenas, and a large number of elephants arriving. The arrival of the ten or more hyenas caused the bushbucks to leave the area fast as well. As we were told we’d be woken for any sightings I decided to go bed.

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