For our last day in Kenya we visited Lake Nakuru National Park. This is the same park Kevin and I visited on our R & R day on our project trips back in 2015. We knew it to be a good spot, nowhere near as far away or as pricey as Masai Mara. We have no idea if the girls will get a chance to come back to Africa any time soon, so we really wanted them to experience a good game drive.
Kevin hired Boniface, a driver with a tour company. In Lake Nakuru you are allowed to bring in your own car or driver to see the critters. Boniface does a lot of game drives and is pretty good at finding animals.
I should tell you, the name Boniface means “fortunate, or of good fate,” and Boni (as he calls himself) seems to live up to it well. I would have guessed it meant “happy face,” and that would have indeed suited him to a T. If you decide to look this up for yourself, I urge you to avoid the urbandictionary.com search. Please.
Anyway, Boni was fun to talk with while we drove all over the place. We told him warthogs were some of our favorites of the African animals and he told us how he calls them Kenya Express. Then he showed us why. While observing a family of 2 adults and about 4 piglets (warthoglets?) he banged on the side of the van and sent them all flying thither and yon, while he tossed back his head and laughed his awesome infectious laugh.
Boni’s method for finding game involved the phone. He was on it a lot. He’d get a call from another drive and we’d hear a lot of Swahili punctuated with the occasional word we recognized, like “simba,” which means lion. But there was little emotion behind it and we’d drive on.
We’d pass baboons, lots of them. They mostly looked like bored, cocky middle schoolers who refuse to move out of the road to let you pass. And we saw lots of Kenya Express, but mostly from a distance. There were my favorite birds, the guinea fowl. Imagine a black chicken with white polka dots and a propensity for bad decision-making skills that leads it to run helter-skelter for half a mile right in front of the van instead of taking the more easy and obvious move of simply exiting the road into the grass.
We saw a lot of this, plus gazelles, zebras, rhinos, antelopes, and Cape Buffalo, until suddenly there came a phone call and we heard lots of enthusiastic and loud Swahili punctuated by “Simba!” Suddenly Boni was driving like a bat out of….someplace very hot, and we were all holding on for dear life, bouncing along the dirt road, sending baboons and guinea fowl leaping for cover.
We stopped near a tree by the lake and about 6 feet up was a lioness, surveying the land. She ended up going all the way to the top of the tree, something only leopards usually do, which led Boniface to say, “She’s a crazy mama! Lions don’t go that high up the trees. What is she thinking?” And then he howled his hilarious laugh.
I suspect she was thinking, “For Pete’s sake, how am I supposed to catch a nap with 6 safari vehicles lurking so close?” We left her to go see some other varmints and returned much later to find her snoozing by the roadside, only to get up and wander away while at least 4 vehicles followed her down the road for a quarter mile or so.
We did not find a leopard and there are no elephants or cheetahs in Lake Nakuru, but we did see a huge tortoise, flamingos, ostriches, a hippo wallowing in mud, a Cape Buffalo having a personal spa day, many zebra butts, and a giraffe on a runway.
Enjoy the photos!
P.S. Click here to see all the photos from our trip, including others from our first trip to IAA in 2015.
We are missionaries with Engineering Ministries International, based in Colorado Springs, and traveling around the globe to serve.
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