Over the last few weeks, I have been sharing details of our family’s recent safari journey. First, I shared an overview of our week-long safari in Kenya, including my review of Explorateur Journeys (who helped personally curate our safari experience). Since we have so many amazing photos and memories from our African safari, there is no way to do them all justice in a single blog post, so my plan was to share additional posts with more photos and details about each of the destinations during the safari week (Nairobi, Samburu National Reserve, Lake Nakuru, and Maasai Mara National Reserve). First, I shared safari day 1 in Nairobi, then I shared safari days 2-3 in Samburu National Reserve. Today, I am continuing to bring you along for the journey with us, covering safari days 4 and 5 in Lake Nakuru.
After our final game viewing drive in Samburu, we hit the road with Sammy and our safari van (which had become our happy place) for Lake Nakuru. We had a few stops on the way, which helped keep the kids patient, and provided just the right amount of bathroom breaks.
One of the coolest stops during the trip was when we crossed the equator between Samburu and Lake Nakuru. We stopped in Nyahururu at spot Seventy Nine (and I’m honestly not quite sure why it’s called that… perhaps distance from some point), and the staff at the stop took the time to talk to us more about the equator. This included showing the kids a cool water experiment of the equator’s Coriolis effect (click here to watch a video of the water experiment at the equator). Then for the equivalent of about $5 USD each, they gave us some stamped and personalized certificates as evidence that we visited the equator!
As I said in the Samburu post, the bathroom stops most often were at a curio shop. While we didn’t have to shop, these were great opportunities for us to pick up a souvenir for ourselves or a loved one, and help support the local economy (and the folks that worked so hard to maintain nice restrooms for those of us passing through). The merchants encouraged us to look around, but were never overly pushy. Then when we were ready to buy, negotiations were always easy and friendly, and never pushy. Negotiating (or bargaining, or haggling, if you will) is customary in Kenya.
After the stop in Nyahururu, we were back on the road, but not for long. We took our lunch break at a hotel, which had a delicious buffet, and beautiful grounds that included an overlook of a lovely waterfall. The waterfall, Thomson’s Falls is on the Ewaso Narok River, which is a tributary of the Ewaso Ng’iro river we that we spent so much time around in Samburu National Reserve.
The next stop for us was Lake Nakuru National Park. We waited as our guide, Sammy, checked us into the park, but were told to be on guard for the baboons, who apparently pilfer!
When we were all checked-in, Sammy again popped-up the roof of our safari van – a sign that we were ready for another awesome game viewing drive!
In the middle of our game viewing drive in Lake Nakuru National Park, we ascended a hill to Baboon Cliff, a scenic overlook of the lake. When the lake’s famous flamingos are there, this is where you’d see the sea of pink from the thousands (sometimes even a million) of flamingos. They weren’t there during our visit, but the view of the crystal-like reflection on lake was no less spectacular for it.
As we didn’t have many hour of sunlight left, we didn’t stay at Baboon Cliff for long. There was more of the park to see. We descended the hill, and continued to drive around the massive lake.
Around sunset, it was time to head to our accommodations for the night. We stayed at Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge, which, being situated on a hill, boasts an impressive view of Lake Nakuru. Like our previous accommodations in Kenya, the service at Sarova Lion Hill Lodge was impeccable. There was also an incredible attention to providing not just a nice place to stay, but an experience. This began with a traditional music and dance demonstration. Then, during dinner (a huge and delicious buffet) a musician sang covers of a variety of great songs, but all in more of an African style, while playing the guitar. He had us smiling from ear to ear as we ate, so we stuck around after dinner to hear him play more while the boys danced. As cheesy as it may sound, I felt a deep significance in the moment as he sang The Lion Sleeps Tonight. When you are in the middle of such a surreal experience, sometimes you need a moment where you stop and realize where you are and what you are experiencing, and allow yourself to be completely in the moment.
We didn’t have much time at Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge, but the time we spent there was very special. We left early the next morning, with boxed picnic lunches from the hotel in hand, as we had a way to go to get to our next destination (Maasai Mara).
We wanted to get to Maasai Mara in plenty of time for an afternoon game drive, but we still had time for a few more stops along the way. The first is one that I am so grateful we decided to do: we took an hour-long private boat trip on Lake Naivasha, one of the lakes near Nakuru.
Aside from the hippos, the other coolest thing about our boat tour was getting to see eagles diving for fish. You can click here to see our video of an eagle diving for a fish at Lake Naivasha, but check out the series of photos below to see the action as well.
On our drive away from the Nakuru area to Maasai Mara, we got to see a few more beautiful lakes, including Lake Elementeita.
Before we got into the Maasai Mara region, we stopped for a picnic lunch at a “bush restaurant,” as Sammy called it (a maintained picnic area near a curio shop). After lunch Sammy asked for the boys to name the “restaurant.” They named it “Picnic.”
Though our time in the area of Lake Nakuru was short, we certainly felt like we made the most of our time there.
Stay tuned for our next safari post, which will cover our time in the amazingly epic Maasai Mara!