SAFARI BLOG 02

Tuesday June 20, 2017

Okay. You can stop pacing the floor and twiddling your thumbs. By now (as you’ve probably guessed) we’re well into our WILD AFRICAN SAFARI … and I’m gonna tell you a few things you’ve been dying to hear. First, let me bring you belatedly up to date with where we’ve been, where we’ve been staying, where we are now, and how we got here.

02-01 Safari Park Hotel (1024x636)

Saturday: OL PEJETA

Leaving Nairobi on Saturday morning, we set off in our 4WDs for the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a 90,000-acre wildlife reserve (situated near the town of Nanyuki, between the foothills of the Aberdares and Mt Kenya). It boasts its own chimpanzee sanctuary, plus a higher wildlife-to-area ratio than any of Kenya’s other national parks – and a night under canvas awaited us at the Sweetwaters Tented Camp. But don’t panic: we didn’t have to pitch our own pup-tents! These were spacious, walk-in, permanent tents set on solid floors, with ensuites and all the comforts of home, plus their own private verandas overlooking the nearby waterhole.

02-02 Sweetwaters (1024x634)2

We arrived in time for our first ‘proper’ game-drive – a blast, I tell you, featuring animals galore! But I’ll tell you more about game-drives in my next blog ‘post’ …

Sunday: LAKE NAKURU

Once we were fed and watered (having slept like babies in our hot-water-bottle heated beds) we zipped up our tents, and said “Kwaheri!” (goodbye) to Sweetwaters. We then drove south, crossing the Equator on our way down into the Great Rift Valley – the towns we passed through seemingly littered with families in their Sunday-best, heading to and from church.

Speaking of churches, we’ve never seen so many. Some of them looked like churches, but lots more were humble little storefront affairs that blended in with the rumpty outlets that lined our route. And the names! You should’ve seen the names!

I mean, we spotted roadside shops and stalls with names like ‘Eliezer Hotel & Butchery’ … ‘God Gives Tailors’ … ‘Meek Hardware & Electrical’ … ‘Blessed Salmon & Cosmetics’. We spotted ‘Shiners School for Girls’ … the ‘Arise Hospital’ … the ‘Sacred Heart of Jesus Health Centre’ … and the ‘Prison Hotel: All Welcome!’ And we spotted churches with some of the most imaginative signage ever: ‘Jesus Winners Church’ … ‘Ministry of Repentance & Holiness’ … ‘Heaven’s Gate Prayer Mountain’ … ‘King’s Outreach Church’ … ‘End Time Believers Gospel House’ … ‘Lion of Christ Church’ … ‘Glory to God Community’ … and ‘Happy Church’.

We haven’t come to Africa, of course, to drive through its towns, but to eyeball its astonishing wildlife. And, eventually, we left this bustling humanity behind and arrived at the beautifully located Lion Hill Lodge in time for lunch and another of those game-drives I plan to tell you about.

02-03 Sarova Lion Hill (1024x636)

Nakuru National Park is home to 400 different species of birds, plus waterbucks, warthogs, impalas, buffalos, and cheetahs. It’s also one of the few places in which you can see the endangered white rhino – and saw it we did, several of them, in fact.

Monday: LAKE NAIVASHA

This is another of the Great Rift Lakes – 1880 metres above sea level, south of Nakuru (check out the map), and famous for its birds. So, for something a little different, we took to the water in a couple of small boat, pointing our cameras at pelicans, cormorants, black herons, kingfishers, rollers, shrikes, fish eagles and more. Oh, and not to mention a sizable population of sizable hippos, which chose to remain (much to our relief) mostly-submerged!

Last night we were guests at a lodge shaded by acacias and spreading fever-trees on the lake’s edge.

02-04 Lake Naivasha (1024x636)

Tuesday: MASAI MARA

Today started (as most of them do) with breakfast. Then, packing bags and bodies into our 4WDs, we began a five-hour drive, half of which was on a bone-jarring, body-pounding, teeth-rattling apology-for-a-road … in search of Kenya’s famous Masai Mara Regional Park!

02-05 Mara Serena (1024x634)

If I get the time, I’ll tell you more about the Masai Mara later, but this sea of bush-cloaked hills and rich, rolling grasslands is centre-stage for the most dramatic wildlife show on earth: the legendary migration of vast herds of wildebeest, zebras and gazelles, when millions of hooves pound the open plains.

PEOPLE NEWS: They’re falling over themselves to get one of our world-famous Midlife Madness Awards! In fact, at this rate we’re gonna run out of quacky yellow ducks:

  • Lyn received our ‘You Can Keep Your Hat On’ Award – after losing hers yesterday while out boating close to a watchful gathering of sunbathing hippos.
  • John B scored our ‘Cultured & Refined’ Award – for attempting to wash his dust-covered shorts in the bidet in their safari-lodge bathroom.

COMING UP: Have you ever wondered what we do all day (or most of the day) while on safari? Well, stay tuned and I’ll give you the low-down on game-drives …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

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