Lake Naivasha

Trip Start May 31, 2008
Trip End Jun 01, 2009

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Flag of Kenya  ,
Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We wanted to relax in a scenic spot for a few days before meeting up with Virginia and Russ, and after reading up on a few places, decided to take a matatu to Lake Naivasha, in the Rift Valley, and go from there.  The matatu experience was one in itself.  A matatu is a small van that holds usually 12 people, and zips across everywhere in Kenya.  They usually play great music, and used to be painted in wild designs as well.  After hearing so much about matatu travel, we were pleasantly surprised, and were relatively comfortable squished into the back seat with our packs on our laps.  Another plus for being small!

We found a campsite and lodge right on the lake, and decided to rent tents and call this home for a few days.  Hippos graze on the grounds at night, and the only thing separating you and a 1500kg beast is an electric fence!  We absolutely loved this area, and among other things bird watched (we found 60 new species in the 5 days!), took a boat trip to Crater Lake, and biked in Hells Gate National Park.

We took a boat trip to Crater Lake with an excellent naturalist one day.  We saw fish eagles diving, hippos lounging, and storks, herons, and kingfishers sitting pretty.  But the real highlight was walking in Crater Lake Game Sanctuary and seeing giraffes and zebras!  I couldn't stop looking at the giraffes.  They are so graceful, and look like they are running in slow motion.  We even saw some baby giraffes.  I couldn't believe how close we were to them, and our first "animal experience" in Africa was definitely jaw dropping.  We heard you get sick of seeing zebras and giraffes on big safaris, but we are still excited to see them!

My other animal encounter of the day - the Vervet Monkey, was not so pleasant.  They basically chased me away from our picnic table!

The next day began early.  We rented bikes, and rode to Hells Gate National Park.  This park is unique because you can walk or cycle through it instead of driving.  And why wouldn't you?!  The giraffes, zebras, warthogs, gazelles, impalas, baboons were gorgeous!  We would bike a few minutes and then stop to watch the herd of zebras cross the path right in front of us.  The warthogs and their babies were surprisingly cute.  And not suprisingly, we had to stop very frequently in the beginning to identify a new bird!  The paradise flycatcher was our favourite.  There is a gorge you can hike in at one end of the park, and it was a great opportunity to dust off our scrambling skills.  The sandstone was also quite gorgeous.

We spent one last day relaxing in our little paradise before heading to the hustle of Nairobi to meet our friends from Calgary. 
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