The flamingos of Lake Nakuru


Imagine an ecosystem of forests, meadows, rocky cliffs, hills and even a crater of an inactive volcano. Imagine now a lake that houses one of the best places in the world to observe more than 450 species of birds, including pelicans, cormorants and beautiful pink flamingos. Let's add black and white rhinos, lions, leopards, buffalo, ... This place exists, it's called Nakuru Lake, and is one of the essentials of wild Kenya ... or not?

Jamboooo jambooo !! Get up again at the Samburu Lodge, with the first rays of sun, and breakfast next to the Ewaso It is unpayable. We continue to hallucinate with Leshan. He is a sanota person who has stories and stories. He tells us that as a child he had malaria. That now there is more protection, but then he was 9 or 10 years old and had a very bad time but in the end he managed to survive. He also tells us that in his life of Masai they swam in the river until one day they saw a "trunk" rise upstream. They were crocodiles of the Nile, and from the noise they saw when they saw them, they were lucky that they got scared ... It's all a "storyteller"

The roads of Kenya are really !! HORRIBLE !! Socavones, works, "trails" ... not to mention what we have called "Leshan's shortcuts ", which instead of going on main roads puts us through the middle of the forest (which we have reached again) between "dirt and dust highways".

In Kenya you see poverty, a lot of poverty. At times it even gives us the feeling of reaching certain villages where there must be even misery. They live happily, they even continue with their rhythm of 2, 3 and up to 5 children per family, oblivious to the limitations that it entails. We can observe even advertising campaigns with speakers using the condom in the streets.

In one of Leshan's "endless shortcuts" we can see another kind of primate. Are the colobus monkeys, rare to see them in this part of Kenya, although more numerous in other areas of Congo and Lake Victoria. They are black and white, and they have nothing to do with what we saw these days in Samburu.

At one point we arrived at the area where we cross Ecuador again to the south. Parallel to the road, dozens of people have set up their business around explaining the famous and curious Coriolis effect, so we take the opportunity to take a break and stretch our legs a little

It really is a bit "moña". A poor man with his water bowl tries to explain to us how a small stick turns to one side or the other as we are on each side of Ecuador, and above all, how he remains completely immobile at the point of Ecuador, in order to sell us a certificate . You have to make a living and that's why we buy you a coaster (1000 KES)

What we have loved is a stop that we made a little later that we had read in Spain. The beautiful ones Thompson waterfalls They are beautiful at this time. It is known that the "local mayor" realized that more and more people stopped to see them and now they charge you 250 KES per couple to see them. Even the first stores around are growing. That does not mean that it is worth a small kitkat on the road and some cookies (200 KES)

We are reaching a haven of peace and tranquility away from any stress that modern life holds, the Crater Menengai, on whose feet is Lake Nakuru that will center our gamedrives today, a crater almost 11 km in diameter and almost 500 m deep. In this location is the Maili Saba Camp where we will stay today, with a truly unparalleled view.

We are really in a very simple accommodation, which consists of tents protected by a kind of straw house, although the environment is wonderful

After taking a small picnic, we start down to the Nakuru Lake and we begin to dazzle the coasts of the flat alkaline lake of the Great Rift Valley with true picturesque landscapes of forests, savannas, waterfalls, rocky cliffs and hills. The queue to enter is important, and we are beginning to dazzle that this has nothing to do with Samburu. In addition, it is full of baboon monkeys or thieves steal everything

The anecdote of the day, without a doubt, it was the moment when we looked inside the park for a place to eat something. After looking a little, we found a small field where we decided to mount the tablecloth. Leshan took a large trunk because he says that "once" lions have emerged in this meadow, but rarely, but above all, if a baboon appears with bad intentions ...

... What a reason he had! While Isaac was preparing the tripod, to take a picture all together eating (the first time on the trip that I take it out) and while the rest are clueless opening the food, A HUGE BABUINO is seen coming from the bushes with a devilish speed, hitting a jump over Paula that puts it on the table. There he steals Joseba's food and after a few seconds, runs away in the distance. Isaac remains paralyzed screaming "MONKEY, MONKEY", with the camera in his hands without reacting, while Joseba with a scared face that in his life strikes a leap back that seems to have seen a lion, Paula grabs his glass of soup as wanting to protect his food and Margari remains stunned at the scene. Leshan runs after him, but the crime is already committed

With the adrenaline butt, we finish as good as we can the remaining food. In the distance we can already see the first zebras, more baboons and something pink ... flamingos?

Already approaching the Lake, we can also distinguish by its huge peaks to the pelicans that we saw earlier in the trip to Peru 2010 during the DAY 3 in Paracas, which fundamentally feeds on fish and has an extraordinary ability to transform salt water into fresh water. Together with them they share marabús snack with their typical "grimous" looking bag

One of the most exciting moments is when you perceive the proximity to that great pink mass that was seen from afar. They are beautiful pink flamingos feeding on algae and lake placton, which are able to assimilate with that strange peak. They are really beautiful animals

Among the more than 450 species of bird that seems to be hosting this lake, we also distinguish cormorants, of which we saw his Antarctic family in the trip to Antarctica 2009 and especially that day 15 when we were lost in the fog. The species that is found here is perhaps smaller, and also feeds on fish, so they must be brawling with the pelicans.

He Nakuru Lake, about 188 km2, gives true cover images. Undoubtedly the image that cannot be forgotten is the pink mass of flamingos with their long legs or flying.

But we must not forget the terrestrial fauna. For the first time we observe another of the "big fives" (from which we have already seen the lion, leopard and elephant). Is the imposing buffalo, although we will talk about this in more detail in Masai lands

Anyway, Nakuru is not Samburu. Nakuru DECEPTIONS. Nakuru is a "big country house" with many more or less controlled animals that graze in their large meadows, eat or cool in their lake or hide in their lush forests, but the fact of being a few kilometers from Nairobi does That is absolutely crowded with vans and landcruiser that makes losing the nature part of the place. For the moment you feel overwhelmed.

Samburu is an environment with hardly any tourists, with a very different landscape, which has left us unforgettable moments. Here "you only contemplate", there "you live". In fact, here we find large green meadows delight of hervivoros.

Common zebras (Grevy's huge ones could only be seen in Samburu), the first thompson gazelles that we will see more abundant further south and beautiful jackals surround us while we look for the figure of a great ...

… and !! WE FOUND IT !! Here there is black and white rhinos, the 2 types of Africa (there are 3 more types, those of India, Sumatra and Java). They are solitary and territorial animals and, after the elephant, the largest and heaviest. Black is very scarce and hard to see. We may not see him on the entire trip. White is an impressive animal, but they are too far away to see them. Let's say that "making a little trap" avoiding a ranger (this we will never have said) we approach completely only a few meters away. There they are, grazing peacefully. They are a mother and her two young, a very small one.

It seems that these animals are distinguished from black in their broad nose and square extended nose to graze and that they have a pronounced giba in the neck. In addition, they are larger. Ainssssssssss

At the moment we are ready to leave the park begins to fall a heavy rain storm. It shows that we are in the middle of the already tropical forest because it hardly lasts 1 hour, which it takes to return to our accommodation.

We are already going to Masai lands and time we spend watching villages, stopping where we see and Isaac writing these stories thanks to a "Safaricom skewer" that Leshan has given us for the trip. Leshan is a dynamic and fun person and possibly the great discovery of the trip. At night he tells us his stories. Today he told us how he set up his small business, which is his and a partner. His true illusion is a small foundation to help Masai children, but while doing what he likes, explain everything he knows by doing small safaris. Never more than 4 people, and never massive. It started with Pepo, from Safi Safaris, with whom we contacted 12 years ago and a monsoon arrived that he knew he had to follow himself alone although the relationship between them is much more than friends ...

UPDATE 2015: Years later, before the request by email of the readers, we made "Safari in Kenya and Tanzania cheap"for those who want to ask for a budget directly without intermediaries

Mugane is our driver. He does not speak Spanish, but we have been very lucky because he handles on any terrain skillfully. His jambo in the morning brightens anyone's day, always with a smile from side to side

Today does not give much for the day and today if we are sleepy, although there is still not much fatigue. The trip is at our pace and that is appreciated. We had dinner watching the quiet slopes of the dormant volcano of Menengai that leave some columns of smoke in the distance. Legend has it that they are souls of Masai warriors defeated trying to reach the sky, thrown into the volcano after a territorial battle. Start cooling.

Family, we remain phenomenal, we eat phenomenal and every day we are happier to have arrived in these lands.

Isaac and Paula, from Lake Nakuru (Kenya)

EXPENSES OF THE DAY: 1,150 KES (approx. 9.66 EUR) and GIFTS: 1,000 KES (approx. 8.40 EUR)