As we drove into the Lake Naruku National Park, I noticed the difference in landscape. What was flat savanna and grasslands at Ol Pejeta, is now all swamp and marshy area at Lake Naruku. Here, giant trees sprang out of the ground close to the lake, and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of birds can be seen in and around the lake.
We stayed at the Lake Nakuru Lodge inside the Lake Nakuru National Park. It was stunning!! Staying inside the reserve has its advantages - we had water buffalo outside our windows at night and a hyena momma + her cub racing across the savannah in the same spot at 6 am the next day.
Environment & Animals: Due to the vast change in environment and unfriendly nature of the swamp areas to larger animals, the animals we saw here were: hyenas, water buffalo, flamingos, many many different types of birds, and smaller mammals like monkeys. Apparently there was also a lion pride here, though we did not see them on our tour of the lake on either day we were here.
We saw baby monkeys and a one-week old baby antelope with its mother – still hiding from its herd. We saw birds that we’re almost as large as we were [looking very dino btw], and a guard chase baboons away from her post with an AK47.
[Scroll through the above photos using the arrow on the right]
Lake Naivasha National Park
On our way to the Maasai Mara, we stopped by Lake Naivasha National Park to see hippos! As it was the dry season when we traveled to Kenya, we weren't sure that we'd see hippos at the Maasai Mara as they have to travel further distances to reach water in that reserve than in the marshy wetlands that surround the lake area we were traveling through. So we took the chance and tbh, it was actually super NOT safe in any way, [legit scroll through the photos and see our flimsy tiny boat + see how close these hippos were], and while we survived - I cannot in good conscious tell others to do this boat ride [ha!]. NBD we got really close to the biggest killing machine in Africa - the hippo - in its natural environment. I know, I know super smart, but you live and learn, right?
Our boat guide had some interesting and sad things to say about the lake. First, he had lost one of his best friends just three days prior in that same lake to a hippo attack. Can you imagine? This is his job and his friend was brutally murdered by these animals. As he finishes telling this story, we putter along for a few moments in the single-motor boat when he suddenly starts BANGING this large staff he had apparently brought with him. Before I could even ask him why and what he was doing - I saw several pairs of ears and eyes pop up out of the water 15-20 feet directly in front of us. HE WAS MAKING SURE WE DIDN'T FLOAT RIGHT OVER A HIPPO AND DIE WITH A STICK.
REPEAT - this excursion was peligro, amigos.
We survived and made it to the Maasai Mara. If you didn't check out the first part of our trip to the Ol Pejeta Conservatory, don't miss out! Read it here.
Have any questions? Let me know in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any other feedback or questions!