Lake Nakuru: Our Date with a Rhino….Amidst A Sea of Pink

After visiting the mountain gorillas in the Congo, we had a couple days of driving before we returned to Kenya. The next stop was Lake Nakuru National Park, our final game drive in Africa.  This was also our last chance to see a Rhinoceros, the last of the “Big Five.”  While Lake Nakuru is known for their Rhino population, animal viewings are never 100%,  so we entered with our fingers crossed. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t cooperating with us, as the day started off foggy, cold, and damp.  Lake Nakuru had an almost spooky feel as we entered the park.

The first animals we saw at Lake Nakuru were thousands of pink flamingoes. It was amazing to see so many of these birds in one spot, the colors were spectacular. The flamingos are the signature attraction at this park, because at times they number in the millions(!) and their ability to withstand the high alkalinity of the water and eat the algae in the lake.

Flamingos. Lots of 'em.

More Flamingos. Just in case you didn't believe us.

....and one more picture of Flamingos, for good measure.

The part we loved most about our time on safaris in the different African National Parks is that the animals are roaming around you, minding their own business, but still aware that you are nearby. While driving we got to see zebra crossing the road and then a river following each other one by one. There were quite a few baby zebras following their mothers and I wondered how they would cross the river cause they were so much smaller, but they made it with relative ease.

Watching the zebras cross a deep river was exciting

It took about 2 hours of driving around admiring all the other animals until we came upon a our first Rhinocerous. It was incredible to finally see these animals in the wild. The first rhino we saw was the rare Black Rhino, while he was enjoying his breakfast in the field. A few hundred feet past him were a few white rhinos and one had a baby near her. We sat there for a good 10-20 minutes while Adam took some amazing shots. We really enjoyed this game drive because we knew this would be our last one for the trip, so we tried to stay as long as we could or until the weather would let up.

Our First Rhino!

Breakfast

Another grazing Rhino

The Rhino family portrait #1

The Rhino family portrait #2, amongst the baboons

The baby rhino

Rhino with Flamingos in the background

Throughout the game we drive we saw a few hyenas running which was exciting because we knew they hunt in packs so were hoping to see our first kill, but nothing came of it. I think they were just running home after a long night out. Along with some giraffes, we saw a really sad water buffalo that lost one of his horns, and a few more cute Zebras.  We also saw a couple laying around in the shade. Overall this was a very successful drive with the amount of animals we saw, and to make it better the sun was coming out and was trying to dry everything up.

The always entertaining Giraffes

The saddest Water Buffalo in the entire World

Affectionate Zebras

Our farewell lions

Like I said in the beginning of this post the weather didn’t really agree with us for the first half of the day, and the roads weren’t equipped to handle the large amount of rain that had fallen over the past couple days. So needless to say the roads were slippery and VERY muddy. I also forgot to mention that we split into two mini buses and this thing was not equipped to handle such conditions. It was bound to happen and I’m sure you’ve guessed it already…………we got stuck. Not just a little either, I mean this thing was wedged into the muddy earth with wheels spinning and going nowhere. Everyone got out of the bus, the boys pushed and tried to lift this thing out as best they could, while all the girls watched. Unsuccessful, and covered in mud, we all climbed into  another mini bus and were shuttled to a really nice resort inside the national park.

There's stuck, and then there's "in the mud in Africa stuck"...

We looked like bums walking into this swanky safari lodge, which are pretty common around most of the big national park in Africa (we certainly didn’t stay at any of them, the prices are INSANE), so the first thing we did was head straight for the bathroom to clean up. We sat around for a few hours and enjoyed their restaurant and some cold drinks, while our drivers tried to get that mini bus out of the mud. At the end of the day we were tired and hungry and pleased with all the wild life we were able to see even if the last hour of the day was spent trying to get unstuck.

How "The Other Half" sees the National Parks of Africa...

This post marks our final excursion through Africa. After this, we are headed to Egypt, which is part of Africa, but not really. (I hope you liked that scientific explanation justifying why it marks a different part of our travels). We will have a few more blog posts with random stories that weren’t big enough to make it into an entire post, along with our review of African Trails, the company that we did our overland tour through Africa with. We will miss Africa A LOT, but now we have a benchmark of what we can compare the rest of our travels to as we head to the other continents!

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