INFO: The Republic of Kenya is a country in East Africa. Lying along the Indian Ocean to its southeast and at the equator, Kenya is bordered by Somalia to the northeast, Ethiopia to the north, Sudan to the northwest, Uganda to the west and Tanzania to the south. Kenya has numerous wildlife reserves, containing thousands of animal species. The capital city is Nairobi.
YEAR: October 2010.
STORY: Our itinerary for our ten-day trip to Kenya was the following:
Day 1: The remains of the first day of our arrival in Nairobi was left to our own leisure;
Day 2: Travel to the Lake Naivasha game sanctuary for a safari by boat, and the following transportation to the next lake;
Day 3: Game safari on Lake Nakuru;
Day 4: Transportation to Masai Mara and an afternoon game safari;
Day 5: Whole day game safari at Masai Mara;
Day 6: Morning safari at Masai Mara and transportation back to Nairobi;
Day 7: Flight to Malindi and transportation to the coastal town Watamu;
Day 8-10: Spending time in Watamu;
Day 11: Transportation to Mombasa and the following night flight back to Sweden.
Our adventure started from Stockholm airport, Arlanda. We arrived in late afternoon, and after we had checked in our luggage we had enough time for a final visit at a “Swedish” coffee bar. We had a night flight and had planned to see a movie and then go to sleep, but as usual we couldn’t sleep since it is very difficult to be comfortable in an airplane seat. We landed for an hour in Rome for refueling, and after additionally 6 hours we took ground in Addis Ababa, totally exhausted. This was not our final destination, we still had one last flight of approximately three hours to endure before reaching Nairobi.
At the airport in Nairobi; an agent from the travel company which we had engaged for this trip, was waiting for us. It was a young guy and his name was Wilson. It took quite a lot of time before we could meet up with Wilson, since a substantial amount of time was spent applying for visa. At that time we regret not having applied for visa in advance. It was two different documents which needed to be filled out per person, and there were lots of information asked for. When we handed the documents to the officer, he just stacked them with hundreds of others without reading any of the information, he asked a few questions and completed the procedure by taking our picture and finger prints. What a waste of time.
Finally we could go outside and meet Wilson. We easily found him since he had written our names on a piece of paper. Unfortunately, we had arrived to Nairobi at rush hour so there was a lot of traffic in the city, and we got stuck in a bit of a traffic jam, therefore it took quite a long time before we reached the hotel. We walked inside being both exhausted due to the long and inconvenient flight, and sweaty after the long and slow drive through the city. According to the itinerary for the trip, the afternoon was determined to be for our own leisure, and we were very grateful for that. We spent our time showering, eating and making it an early night so that we would feel most invigorated for our safari the next morning.
[Not a valid template]INFO: Lake Naivashaisa freshwater lake in Kenya, lying north west of Nairobi, outside the town of Naivasha. It is part of the Great Rift Valley.
YEAR: Oktober 2010
STORY: We started our day with an early breakfast in order to be in time for our pickup at 8:00 AM. We were being picked up by a young guy by the name of “Wilson”, who came driving in a large terrain jeep and which was working for the current company which we had engaged for our private safari. Our first visit was the Lake Naivasha game sanctury which was located north of Nairobi, and it took us more than two hours to reach the sanctuary. We were informed that we were going to spend the next few hours in a boat where we would be guided around the lake in order to explore the wildlife on and around the lake.
The boat was quite big and suited for twelve persons, but luckily enough we were the only ones going that day. The wildlife on the lake was extensive and I had placed myself in the front of the boat with my camera secured on a tripod. I used Canon 1D mark IV and my favorite EF 400 mm F/2.8 L IS USM. I also had in my pocket 1.4 and 2X extender, but we always managed to get close enough to the objects, therefore I never needed any extender. My biggest expectation was to see the African Fishing Eagle and Kingfisher in action. We saw three different kinds of Kingfishers (Great Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher and Malachite Kingfisher) and a couple of them with a catch in their beak. We were also fortunate enough to see the Fishing Eagle hunting for fish, and I even succeeded to get it on picture. I believe that we saw more than 30 different kinds of birds on the lake in less than two hours. Additionally, we discovered a few hippopotamuses as well, enjoying their bath in the lake. Almost by coincidence, Wilson discovered a little green snake, which had crawled up in a bush which was growing out in the water, and was hunting for insects from one of the branches.
After the boat ride on the lake, we enjoyed a nice lunch in the beautiful garden at the Lake Naivasha Resort. There were plenty of birds flying around us in the garden and another one of my “bird favorites” came by, the Superb Starling, and I managed to get a picture. In the end of our lunch we got a special visitor, which was trying to steal the rest of the food from us. The visitor was a a big male Velvet monkey who was just waiting for Wilson to leave us, so that he could take action. Wilson had previously informed us that the monkeys don’t fear white people, therefore we were determined to see the intruder off, since we didn’t believe in that. Unbelievably, Wilson was correct, we clapped our hands and I even touched him on his back, but he just turned his head and looked at me like he was telling me “Don’t disturb me, can’t you see I am eating”, and continued as nothing had happened. The monkey didn’t leave until he saw Wilson running towards the table, trying to save what was left of his french fries.
This concluded our day, and Wilson drove us to our new hotel which we checked in at, and there we were left to “recharge” for the next day’s adventures.
[Not a valid template]INFO: Lake Nakuru is one of the Rift Valley soda lakes. It lies to the south of Nakuru, in central Kenya and is protected by a small Lake Nakuru National Park. The lake’s abundance of algae attracts the vast quantity of flamingos that famously lines the shore. Other birds also flourish in the area, as do warthogs, baboons and other large mammals. Black and white rhinos have also been introduced. Nakuru means “Dust or Dusty Place” in the Masai language. Lake Nakuru National Park, close to Nakuru town, was established in 1961. It started off small, only encompassing the famous lake and the surrounding mountainous vicinity, but has since been extended to include a large part of the Savannahs.
YEAR: October 2010.
STORY: Early in the morning after breakfast we were ready for a long day’s safari. The entrance of the national park was located just 10 minutes drive from our hotel, and we were there exactly when they opened the gates. Wilson opened the “roof” of the jeep for us and I prepared my equipment, and the adventure started. I had brought two camera houses with two different lenses. My first set was 1D Mark IV with EF 400 mm F/2.8 L IS USM and later during the day when light was brighter, I attached 1.4 extender as well. Second camera was 5D Mark II with EF 100-400 mm F/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, which I used occasionally when the distance between the camera and the object was to narrow. My expectation was to see as many species of birds as possible and hopefully to be able to catch a few of them in action, and by the end of the day: I wasn’t disappointed.
The first game we saw was a lion family sleeping in the long grass, and there was one of the cubs which popped his head out when we drove by, and I managed to get him on picture. Later on, we entered a forest area which flourished with birds and monkeys. Wilson assisted us grately on our safari by being able to name all the bird species and other animals which we saw. He even invented a stand for my heavy lens, which was a sack of beans that I could use to place my heavy leans on when shooting from the roof of the jeep, since it wasn’t possible to mount the camera on my tripod. This lake was alkaloid and it was the perfect habitat for flamingos and pelicans, and we saw houndreds of them along the coast line. We also spotted several types of plowers, stork’s, water buffalos, white rhinos, giraffes, zebras, jackals, several kinds of gazelles, water bucks and so on.
We were beginning to feel a bit hungry so Wilson headed the jeep up on a peak which presented an astonishing view. He unpacked our previosly packed lunch box for us which he had ordered from the hotel, and we gratefully accepted the invitation.
On the way back to our hotel it started to rain and it kept on all night. We where really tired after a whole day’s safari, and after our dinner we went to bed, knowing that we had a long drive ahead of us the following morning in order to reach the Masai Mara National Reserve.