Hippo Heaven – Kenya Safari Part 3

Taken from the Simba Resort website:

Located 90 minutes away from Nairobi by road, Naivasha has long been the place for those seeking to get away from it all. Joy Adamson, author of Born Free made the shores her home, so did Lord Errol and a host of other well-known personalities. At 1880m above sea level, the air is cool, crisp and reinvigorating.

The Naivasha Simba Lodge is situated on the banks of Lake Naivasha, the cleanest lake in the Great Rift Valley. This fresh water lake was once Nairobi’s main landing strip for the luxury Flying Boats that came all the way from London. Travelers would then proceed to Nairobi by bus. It has no known outlet, which is considered a requisite for a fresh water lake!

We arrived at Lake Naivasha Simba Lodge in time for a late lunch.  After a morning of flamingos watching and the drive around Mount Longonot, and extinct volcano, we were ready.  Funny how gawking our a window and taking photos whets the appetite.

Rooms found and suitcases stowed (this is really a luxury resort – just found out that double rates in peak season are $575 per night!!!), we headed through their little game preserve to the boat launch.  Unlike Lake Baringo, they had boats for everyone at the same time.  Prewarned by our driver, Anthony, we made sure that our skipper had some fish for the eagle (none of the others in the group knew this). We were off to see birds and hippos.

Lake Naivasha is home to a LOT of hippos. We had hardly launched when we came upon a family – they are quite used to people and were not too worried when 6 boats came close to take photos.I wonder what they are thinking about all the people watching them. They must think we look pretty funny as well, all with long black things up in front of our faces. Boring.A bit farther up the shore, we came to a gulp (some sources say “flight”) of cormorants.  These fellows were a different species than the Lake Baringo ones.We were on our way to the the pelicans (it’s a squadron, by the way), when we stopped to call the eagle.  Our boatman whistled, and a fish eagle came circling out from the trees – obviously, this is a rehearsed sight.  Amazing,  none-the-less.

He threw the fish up and it dropped into the water – the eagle swooped down to get it.  Here are a couple of shots of it – one just before he hit the water, and one just leaving with the prize.On to the pelicans – what strange-looking birds they are.  We had pelicans in Saskatchewan where I grew up – I remember a rhyme about them:

A wonderful bird is a pelican,
His beak can hold more than his belly can,
And I sure wish I knew how the H*ll he can.

Maybe not quite correct for the family channel, but…..  here the are – both on shore and taking off in flight.We also saw a cover (or raft) of coots – we call them mudhens back home.  it takes a lot of effort for them to get airborne – they look so funny “pedaling” across the top of the water trying to gain the momentum.  in a small inlet or creek mouth, we found a Pied KingfisherAnd our eagle, busy devouring his fish…… not a great shot as the camera was focusing on the leaves..You can see the resemblance to our Bald Eagles – but these are much smaller, and notice the brown plumage.

We also saw, in the distance, these ibises up in a tree.  They are long-legged wading birds – what in the world are they doing in a tree, anyway?  Again – not the best shot, but you get they idea, and they look so ridiculous that I had to include it.  Now, every time I see an Ibis Hotel, I will think of these birds.

On the way back, we saw lots more hippos, cormorants, unusual plants… and the sun breaking out of the clouds over the water…Once back on land, we saw this lovely family of giraffes – they look so ungainly, yet when they move, they are so graceful.  Aren’t the babies cute?Off to clean up for dinner.  We sat around a campfire singing for a long time – didn’t take my camera, so no shots of it, but it really made the evening special.

Day 2 in Kenya was great – and we hadn’t even been “On Safari” yet!!!


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