Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lake Naivasha

The next morning opened with crystal clear skies, warm sun, and us heading further south for Masai Mara. Masai Mara is a protected animal reserve and the most northern part of the Serengeti. The Serengeti extends across the southern part of the Great Rift and almost 1,000 miles into Tanzania.
However, there are no straight lines here...we just had to take a slight side trip. We passed by Lake Naivasha where they had boat rides out to an island where you could walk with the wild animals. 

There's a story here...
Years ago, back when they made the movie "Out of Africa", they needed some wild animals to film, so, they brought zebra, wildebeests, topis and a few lions to a remote area...with a windmill for bringing up water (also in the movie). After the filming, they captured the lions and any other predators and returned them to the plains. The rest of the herbivores remained on location. A number of enterprising individuals decided to open a "Walk With the Animals" business. The area is actually a peninsula jutting out into the lake, opposite the main road heading to Masai Mara. The main tourist access is via a boat. 

It is uncanny the resemblance the area has to a bayou. The jungle atmosphere, the shallow boats, presence of lots of birds, all sets the scene to make you look for Brer Rabbit. Our first guide, George, was a font of knowledge about the animals and birds on the lake. He wound us through trees and obstacles (this river has flooded its banks also, putting hundreds of trees out in the lake) pointing out this bird and that, telling us all about them. We got to see one of the birds dive for a fish, snag it, then have to argue with the others over who got to eat it. Fortunately, she won. 

We also ran into some hippos...the most dangerous of the African animals. Now I like hippos...from a distance. We got a little closer than I cared for but I will say we got some pretty amazing close-ups. Let's amend that. Jeff did. I seem to be lacking the extreme fearlessness gene men seem to be born with.

Eventually we landed on the peninsula where the animals roamed. We began hiking up into the hill area where we got a chance to get close to zebras, Topis, and giraffes. One giraffe let us get really close to her before she slipped back into the bushes. It was thrilling to be able to see them so close. There were some houses along the edge...what a stunning view of wild animals they had! There, I could live.

On our way back, our boat guide brought along a fish, looking for a fishing eagle. He spied it and told us to get our cameras ready. He whistled a few times then lobbed the fish into the water. At first we thought the bird was going to ignore it but suddenly the bird was swooping out of the, winging its way towards us, snatched the fish and took off. Sadly my camera didn't snap pictures as rapidly as the bird flew.

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