After a quick lunch we headed out for our first game drive at Nakuru Lake where we had our safari vans with pop-up roofs. There were a lot of animals, but our first of the big five was the White Rhino! The White Rhino is differentiated from the Black Rhino by the shape of its mouth and not by its colour so when we first saw rhinos in the woods we thought we had black rhinos but our guide/driver assured us that we were seeing white rhinos.
White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum)
Lake Nakuru is famous for its flocks of Greater and Lesser Flamingos and for its large flocks of White Pelicans. The flamingos come to feed on the algae and small creatures that are abundant in this Rift Valley soda lake.
I was very surprised at the size of the African White Pelicans that we saw beside the lake. I wasn’t close enough to measure them with any kind of accuracy but some of the larger birds likely stood about 5 feet tall. Pretty impressive both on the ground and in flight.
Most of the time we had to stay within the confines of our Safari vans but at some locations such as the shoreline where we were able to watch the flamingos for awhile, the “don’t get out of the van!” rules were relaxed enough to allow us a bit of exercise and freedom to walk around. It also afforded me the opportunity to get shots of the other members of our safari group.
Our freedom quickly came to an end when our drivers called us back to the vans. A large white rhino was approaching and eventually meandered right past the assembled vans as we tourists scrambled to get to the relative safety of the vans.
Although the “close-call” with the White Rhino added a bit of excitement to this outing, time was running out as dusk approached and we would have had to get into the vans and head back to the lodge anyway.
The second of the “Big Five” that we saw at Lake Nakuru was the Buffalo or African Cape Buffalo. Very unpredictable as these large animals are, our drivers were always careful when getting close to the buffalo.
We were quite happy to see Ostrich close to the road on our return the lodge. Although we would see many Ostrich at other locations, seeing them for the first time is something special.
Ostrich (Struthio camelus)
During our drive back to the lodge, we also saw one of Africa’s prettiest birds, the Lilac-breasted Roller.
Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus)