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Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Lake Nakuru

03.12.2011 – 03.13.2011 - Five, Forty-Five AM came fast, and I felt I had little sleep.  Consistent with the saying the early bird catches the worm, on safari’s, it is rise early to see the animals in action because once the African sun out, its time for safari siesta.  The water buffalos begin to graze as the sun rises over the hills while we await our entrance into the park; however, today’s mission is the rhino, the last of our Big Five animals left to find.  The park actually allows visitors to step out of the vehicles at the lake and the top of the cliff overlooking the park (assuming no large animals are around).  The first stop is at the front of the lake where hundreds of birds, pelicans, and pink flamingos are gathering.  As we proceed around the lake, the scavenging jackal feeds on a left over carcass while fending off a hungry eagle and birds.  Proceeding further around the lake, Eva (Denmark) spots what appears to be a pile of dirt at an odd place in the lake, at least from my initial glance.  Zooming in with my camera, we spot our first hippopotamus relaxed and submerged in a few feet of water.  As we make our approach, the hippo senses our presence, and slowly floats further away from the vans while continuously monitoring us.  While driving up and down makeshift roads, our van becomes stuck as a couple buffalo watch from about 300 yards away.  I was surprised to find out that the water buffalo is the most feared of all Big 5 animals because they perceive humans as a threat and will charge until death, even waiting below a tree for the person to come down.  Fortunately, we were able to safely free ourselves and continued our exploration of the park.  Continuing through the park, we see our rhino sunbathing in the morning light as we make our approach.  At half the size of the van, and weighting two ton, the White Rhino has little concern for us, and continued to relax.  Departing he decides to find some shade as we make our way back to him to gauge his full size.  After checking off our list the last of the Big 5, we drive up the cliff to get a bird’s eye view of the entire park.  By now, the afternoon African sun has forced most to relax and seek relief under shade, and we do the same by heading to the park lodge. After a bowl of ice cream and watching zebras, buffalo, and warthogs pass in front of our camping ground under the protection of a 4 foot tall chicken wire fence (also electric, but I think that would have little effect on a charging animal) for a couple hours, we decide to depart the park to head to the top of a dormant volcano.  On the way out, we pass by numerous animals napping under trees, even the lazy lions were undisturbed by our clicking cameras.  We did pass one rhino grabbing some afternoon exercise in a rush to head somewhere amongst the brush, but I was not in favor of getting in between the path of a moving horn to find out exactly where or why.  Sunday we spent time overlooking the valley which runs from Israel to Mozambique, and lunch break at Thomson Falls, before arriving home for my appointment for a real massage.  After another long weekend and a price of $15 for one hour, most of the team was quick to fill open time slots.  With only a couple days left here in Nyeri, we prepared for our final week of project work.

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