East Africa Day 7 – Aberdares to Lake Naivasha

At 05:30 I gave up trying to sleep and went to watch the wildlife at the pool from the ground floor (deck D). After an hour one of the staff walked down the corridors with a xylophone to wake everyone up. Breakfast at the Ark was served at 07:00; it was probably the most basic breakfast yet with the most exciting thing being toast made from very dry bread. Just 50 minutes later we were getting onto the bus back to Aberdares Country club.

It was a long drive after that to reach our next destination with stops along the way. Our first stop was at Thomson’s Falls, a waterfall on the Ewaso Ng’iro river named after a famous explorer of Africa. Everywhere you go here there are signs to indicate additional charges, such as if you’d like to sit on the grass, or use a picnic bench, or go up to the edge to see over the falls – even the childrens playground has an additional charge.

Thomson’s Falls

After some fast, and at times dubious driving we got to the town of Nakura. Here we waited for 20 minutes at a petrol station due to our driver not having the required smart card. The other driver had one for his half the group so it seemed odd that ours was being driven to us from Nairobi. It was this other Somak representative being held up in traffic that caused a delay.

Lunch was at the Lake Nakura Lodge and was swift. As it was a buffet it meant we could eat at our own pace, which was lucky as we needed to be out quickly in order to make it for a boat trip. The food there was quite good, though the desserts were far better than their mains.

Flamingoes

After lunch we had a very quick game drive around Lake Nakura where we got to see a White Rhinoceros, and both lesser and greater flamingoes. Apparently there used to be a lot more but one year when the water was a lot higher than normal they could not use the lake and most never returned after that. On the way out of the park we also encountered more zebra where we saw one which was approximately 1 week old.

Zebra

Zebra and young

Once on the main road it was supposed to be a 1 hour drive according to our itinerary, but even with our driver doing mostly in excess of 100kmph we only just made it for 16:20, just as the last boat was getting ready to leave. I don’t believe it’s possible to do that drive in 1 hour so if you do a similar trip it’s worth keeping that in mind.

Lake Nakura

The boat trip on Lake Naivasha was an optional excursion costing 40USD. If we’d had the money in Kenyan shillings it would have worked out a little cheaper. As soon as we arrived and had paid at the reception we were handed life jackets and boarded a small boat equipped with an outboard motor. Whilst moving around we saw various species of birds such as herons, egrets, and kingfishers. More importantly we saw numerous hippopotami poking their heads out of the water.

Masai Giraffe

The boat ride then moved on to Crescent Island where the Audrey Hepburn film, “Out of Africa” was filmed. For the production they’d moved numerous animals to the island, but after filming only moved the lions back. This meant once we’d made landfall we were able to see Sacred Ibis, black-faced vervet monkeys, Masai Giraffe (including one which was only a couple of months old), zebra, wildebeest and various types of antelope.

Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis)

On this island you could get really close to the animals, and it was on foot, which was a nice change. On the way back we photographed a Fish Eagle diving into the water to grab a fish. Sadly I didn’t manage to get a decent picture as I couldn’t focus the lens quick enough at the distance we were at.

Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis)

We then saw a baby hippopotamus on the side of the bank eating grass – an excellent opportunity to get a good photo. Apparently it’s also quite rare to see them leave the water during the day, though I guess as it wasn’t too far off sunset we shouldn’t have been too surprised.

Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius)

As the sun started to set we arrived at the Lake Naivasha Sopa. When checking in we were told we would not be allowed outside in the dark for our own safety. As there are hippos in the area all travel had to be done with a security guard. The hotel itself was brilliant though, both in terms of decor and facilities.

Lake Naivasha Sopa

After a quick shower we went to dinner at 19:30. When we were shown to our table apparently we sat at the wrong one, but we weren’t told that until later. The food there was quite varied and was one of the best to date on this trip. We then of course had to get security to escort us back.

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