Our first "Big Game Drive"

Trip Start Nov 05, 2006
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Trip End Jan 14, 2008


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Flag of Kenya  ,
Sunday, June 17, 2007

Our first big game drive in Nakuru National Park, was our first chance to see some of "the big five".

Our truck split into two vans and we headed out to see some wild game.  The park is loaded with gazelle, rhino, ostrich, thousands of  pelicans and many other animals, but all we really wanted to see were cats!  We strained looking low level tree branches trying to spot the elusive leopard who would just be waking up, but had no luck. 

We headed out on to the plains passing by warthogs, gazelles and distant water buffalo for a morning break on the shores of lake Nakuru.  Since we had about a quarter mile of visibility, they let us get out and wander around confident the any hungry cats would be spotted before they made breakfast out of us.   In hindsight, this seems like a silly idea.  The lake stretched as far as we could see and the thousands of pelicans created a resonance like monks in a Buddhist temple as they exhaled water through their beaks to filter out their algae breakfast.  

After and indistinguishable blurb of Swahili from the CB radio, we were ordered back into the van and headed out to visit a heard of zebra and water buffalo.  The zebras were nonchalant as they went about their business playing and rolling in the wet sand.  The water buffalo were a different story.  I've never received such a "hairy eyeball" from anyone or anything.  Large male buffalo moved forward snorting and bobbing their heads warning our van away.  We slowly drove past the heard when another blurb came over the radio.  They white rhinos had been found by another van.  We sped across the plains toward the vans in the distance.  Upon arrival we were greeted by three massive adult white rhinos and one baby.  Rhinos have always looked like dinosaurs to me and being within twenty-five feet of them is an amazing experience.  They seem to be very docile animals although that may just be this bunch since they know they're safe from humans here. We continued our search for the cats throughout the morning, spotting giraffes, countless gazelles, impalas, the world's smallest gazelle, a dick dick.  Adult ostriches made an appearance lumbering across the grass.
Our group re-gathered for lunch and some photo opportunities before splitting up again and heading into the highlands to search some more for new animals and of course, the elusive big cats.  We came upon many more baboons and some monkeys that look a lot like skunks and even surprised a hippo that had been caught too far from the lake and made a day hideout of a small pond.  As the day drew to a close we headed out of the park and back to the campground. 

The big cats had eluded us, but the day was still a complete success.

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