African Safari – October 25th – Nairobi to the Great Rift Valley
Having survived our long flight without incident we awoke early for our first day of our safari.
6 AM – heading for breakfast.
6:05 AM – Didn’t have to go far to photograph the “BIG FIVE”. 🙂
Our destination for today was Lake Nakuru National Park – Approx travel distance 180km. Approximate travel time: 3 hours.
Before heading out in the vans for the day, Graeme and I had a few moments to take photos of some of the vegetation in front of the hotel before we got settled into the vans for the long drive ahead of us.
Maximum speed along the roads was 80km per hour but slower moving vehicles (especially when climbing hills) slowed us to an average speed of something like 50km per hour for extended periods. The primary fuel is diesel and from the fumes belching out behind some of the trucks as they lumbered up the hills, pollution controls on truck engines seemed to be sadly lacking.
Construction was underway in a number of locations and the wooden scaffolding reminded me of the bamboo-style scaffolding that I had seen years earlier in Hong Kong.
Schools and signs advertising schools were numerous along the roads near Nairobi but the schools were definitely smaller than there North American counterparts. Schoolchildren wore uniforms and different colours were used for identification purposes.
Agriculture provides a significant percentage of the income of most of the people in Kenya with both larger corporate coffee and tea plantations interspersed with smaller pots of intensive vegetable farming. Most of the work was performed as manual labour with little evidence seen of mechanized plowing or harvesting.
Although skies were overcast we were treated to a very nice view of the Great Rift Valley as we climbed to its edge and then descended into the valley via a pretty narrow (by North American standards) and busy highway. Entrepreneurial souls had goods for sale all along the roadway and vehicles stopping to look at the wares added to the slowness of traffic flow through this area of our trip. We too joined the many tourists stopping to look at the offered curios and to take in the views.
Our stop at a curio shop suspended at the edge of the escarpment afforded me an opportunity to photograph the first of many creatures that I would be photographing during the two weeks on safari. In this instance, it was the Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis) and the Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pyconotus barabatus) that came into focus.
Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis)
Common Bulbul (Pyconotus barbatus)
Graeme and I were unable to obtain the proper micro SIM for my IPad and were therefore unable to upload photos and blog entries on a daily basis as we had hoped. However, at times, it we seemed like we were the only ones unable to communicate with the outside world. Although land lines were difficult to find, cell phones were in use everywhere that we went. Here, our driver makes a call while his passengers visit the curio shop and photograph the beautiful views of the Great Rift Valley. Far off in the valley, satellite dishes bring information from around the world into the heart of South East Africa.
For the Kenyan section of our safari in South East Africa we had a small group size of Graeme and I and five others. Here, two of our group pose for me against the backdrop of the the Greater Rift Valley before we hopped back into the safari vans and continued our travels to Lake Nakuru National Park.