Sunday, August 30, 2009

Safari

Nicole: As you may know, Melissa is leaving tomorrow (Monday) night to return home so as of now, the blog is completely mine again and all the posts from now on will be written by me.

On Tuesday, we returned home to get ready before starting the 2+ hour drive to Nakuru National Park. On the way to the park, we drove up many mountains and could see the Great Rift Valley from above. We then drove down the hill and drove through part of this valley which stretches all the way to South Africa. After a long, bumpy ride, we finally entered a town that had flying flamingos on the light poles. Patrick told us that we were very close and that we should look at the flamingos on the light poles in case we didn’t see any flamingos at the park. It was explained to us that Lake Nakuru had been disappearing and as a result, it was not as likely that we would see flamingos. Don’t worry though, we saw tons of flamingos anyways. And before entering the park, we also saw zebras and monkeys on the side of the road.

We entered the park and proceeded to pay $60 each for Melissa and I and about $5 each for Patrick and Nyambura. This was definitely the most extreme price difference that we had experienced since arriving in Africa. And as this park was a huge tourist spot, they charged in US dollars, rather than Kenyan Shillings.

We got back in the car and started driving around the park. The park was massive and had lots of animals, including beautiful zebras that we got to see up close, tons of pink flamingos, rhinos, monkeys that came extremely close to us, giraffes which we only saw from a distance, and buffalos. After driving around the park for awhile, we heard news that a leopard and lions had been spotted so we began our journey to find these animals. We were unsuccessful in locating these animals but it allowed us to embark on a nice journey to find them. Around 6:00pm, when the park closes, we decided to stop at the lodge and get a bite to eat. It was pretty cold at this time but this didn’t stop us from sitting outside and enjoying the beautiful sunset.

Following our dinner, which took quite awhile to receive, we attempted to head out of the park. This was a lot more difficult than it sounds. By this time, it was dark outside and we got a bit lost. We had difficulty finding the way out and were stopped numerous times due to buffalos crossing the road in front of us. After a long drive through the park, we finally reached a gate. Of course it was locked and there was no one there. So we had to turn around in search of another gate. Luckily Patrick found another gate and there was a guard there who let us out of the park. He was not too impressed with the fact that we were still in the park and let Patrick and Nyambura know this in Swahili.

The guard finally opened the gate and allowed us to drive out of the park. Immediately after driving out of the gate, we were met by yet another buffalo. He stood directly in the middle of the one way road and refused to move. It was hilarious but frightening at the same time. Patrick flashed his lights, honked at the buffalo and then turned his lights off so that the buffalo could see and move out of the way. Lucky for us, the buffalo moved out of the way once Patrick turned off the car’s lights and we were free to leave and begin our journey back to Nairobi.

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