Rift Valley Rambling

December 15, 2008

Tuesday 2nd December, Nakuru National Park

The national park at Nakuru whilst very pretty, is located really close to the town itself which is a little incongruous and makes for some interesting photo opportunities. 

Nakuru flight path

Nakuru flight path

We camped as far away from town as we could, at Makalia falls campsite, which was exactly as it said on the tin, by the side of a water fall, and very peaceful as there was only one other couple camping there.

Ooh, scary!!

Ooh, scary!!

 This sign warned of the wildlife, but we could only hear chickens and livestock on the other side of the fence a few 100 feet away.  In the morning we drove down a track to the lake shore to admire the pelicans, and spotted a lion a few feet away from us. 

Lion Number 1

Lion Number 1

We watched it for a while and it had just started to call softly (to what?), when some idiot Italian tourists pulled up and got out of their car, scaring him away.  We caught up with him on the road before he scarpered. 

Effecting his exit

Effecting his exit

Nakuru is of course most famous for it’s flamingos, which at various times of the year are here in their thousands, but were a bit thin on the ground when we visited.

Nakuru Flamingos

Nakuru Flamingos

 Wednesday 3rd – Fri 5th December, Lake Baringo, Roberts camp

We stayed on the shore of Lake Baringo for three nights and did nothing much.  We met a lovely dutch couple, AnneMarie and Patrick, and their dog who had been on the road for nearly 2 years in their Unimog, and were on their way home.  We also met an English photographer who was completing a trip he’d started about 15 years ago, and a South African girl, Lindsay, who was bravely backpacking around on her own for a few months.  At night marauding Hippos would come and graze around the car, waking us up with their loud munching.  There is also a healthy crocodile population in the lake which Sean taunted frequently, apparently in the hope of getting a limb bitten off. 

Saturday 6th December, Lake Bogoria

Onwards to another lake.  Lake Bogoria is another one of the Rift Valley’s geography lessons in action.  It’s a soda lake, the colour of spinach soup, and is ringed by volcanic hot springs and geysers shooting plumes of steam and boiling water into the air. 

Do not attempt to bathe!

Do not attempt to bathe!

Oh, and there are even more flamingos here than in Nakuru.  There is only one road through the park, following the lakeshore, so we pootled along the edge, admiring the flamingos and trying to ignore the smell.

Squillions of flamingos

Squillions of flamingos

We camp at the far end of the lake, underneath a stand of enormous fig trees.  It’s down a very steep rocky track, and it felt like proper wild camping. Sean was in his element as it fit all his criteria for jungly Africa, and the vervet monkeys chucked figs at us from above.

Crossing stream at Bogoria

Crossing stream at Bogoria

Sunday 7th December – Wednesday 10th December

On Sunday night we stayed at Naiberi River Camp, where we met the crazy but extremely hospitable owner, Raj who would’t let us leave the next day without taking some fresh veg from their garden.  We headed into Eldoret on Monday morning to get some money and stock up at a supermarket. 

As we were leaving the supermarket there is a commotion outside, lots of people surging up the road and shopkeepers slamming down their metal shutters.  This area was home to some of the worst inter-tribal violence at the beginning of the year so for a moment I’m afraid of a riot kicking off, however it turns out that someone had been caught stealing, and some Kenyan mob justice was dispensed.  I caught sight of the guy running up the road, minus his shirt and Sean assures me that seconds earlier he was being whacked with a stick around the head and has a fairly serious head wound.  Summary justice indeed!

We then head back down the truly atrocious Eldoret-Nakuru road.  It’s ‘under construction’ so most of it is a dust track diversion, where you are blinded by clouds of dust behind lorries and end up taking a fairly cavalier attitude to overtaking.  We survive however and cross the equator for the third time.

Third time over I finally get in the shot

Third time over I finally get in the shot

Tuesday 9th– Wednesday 10th December

Back at Carnelly Camp we find Lindsay, a South African we met at Baringo, and Colonel Guy Levine and his wife Yvonne.  It turns out that Guy knows our friend Ed Simpson from the UK!  We stay at Carnellys for a couple of days, it is a very relaxing place to be.  However we do commit a fairly serious bit of sport, deciding to cycle around Lake Naivasha to Crater Lake, which is as you’d imagine in the crater of an extinct volcano. 

Big bowl of spinach soup

Big bowl of spinach soup

 It is a 22 mile round trip, up and down some serious hills, and we’re at an altitude of 7500 feet remember……

Jiggle my bingo wings!!

Jiggle my bingo wings!!

We had thought that corrugations were tough when in the car, but the damage they do to one’s a*&e when cycling is much, much worse.   After 3 months of doing no exercise we’re both very proud of ourselves and extremely relieved when we make it back to Carnellys and find some big, comfortable chairs to sit in.

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