Samburu Sopa Lodge

Samburu Sopa lodge is a charming lodge located nearly 10kms inside the game reserve and has the right ambience to make you feel you feel totally in the wild. A walk around the area is a real birding thrill! And if you should think of a walk alone late at night
as I did to retrieve my camcorder which I forgot in the dining area, be sure one of the guards will insist on escorting you back to your cottage.
"Lions, Elephants" chipped in the guard and waved his baton at the imaginary elephants & Lions. How I would have loved to have this unexpected sighting!

cottage - no 54

A view of the cottages

The reception and dining area

Daniel the local Samburu naturalist in traditional dress. Samburu means "butterfly" and the local tribes are called the "Butterfly people"
Posted by Picasa

Some beautiful trees

Euphorbia Candlebraii

Umbrella tree

Acacia tree
Posted by Picasa

Equator, Thomson falls, Rift valley

We stop at a small place called Nyahururu which is right on the equator & we have now entered the southern Hemisphere. To mark this event, we are given Certificates for 200 Kenyan Shillings by the local Curio shop owner.

An interesting experiement to demonstrate the "Coriolis effect" where moving objects on the surface of the earth experience a "Coriolis force" and veer to the right in the Northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere. Right on the equator, the motion remains along the line of the equator.  

Our lunch halt was at Thomson's falls at a glitzy resort teeming with international tourists. The falls did not merit a photogrpah but what did enthrall us was this bottle brush tree where we spotted a number of birds - this Black-faced weaver bird as well as a host of others, viz. Montane white eye, Amethyst sunbird, Malachite sunbird, Bronze sunbird, golden-winged sunbird, Red-chested sunbird.

And if you are wondering how we got time for this impomptu birding bonanza?
Two of our vehicles got flat tyres! Well everything has a silver lining & this was a real treat for some of us!!!

A short halt to view the Great Rift Valley.
Posted by Picasa

The beauty that is Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru National Park is situated jus 5 kms outside Nakuru city - third largest after Nairobi & Mombassa. a bustling but well laidout and clean town resembling a cantonment. The lake is one of the soda lakes in the rift valley & is home to over 2 million Lesser flamingoes that congregate across the lake and give it a beautiful rich pink colouration that can be seen as you approach it. As we entered the park gates, a couple of Hadada ibis quickly disappeared into the thicket.

Here you see the the lesser flamingo covering the lake leaving only the smaller periphery for the other birds.

4 species of birds can be seen in this picture: the most prominent are the Great white Pelicans and the Sacred ibis (curved beaks- black head); few Grey headed gulls join them in the hunt while a lonesome Black-winged stilt (small black and white speck to the right of the shore)looks on

Not nice to be a micro-minority! A Great cormorant (not so great out here) is gheraoed by the mighty Marabou.

More of the Grey-headed gull & sacred ibis
Posted by Picasa

More scenes from Lake Nakuru

A Marabou Stork prods for some food

First sighting of the Common Zebra on the fringe of the lake

Marabous feeding on a lesser flamingo made a rather gory sight!

family of Cape buffalo
Posted by Picasa

Mammals at Lake Nakuru

Thomson's gazelle

Waterbuck (female). See the section on Masai Mara for the male

A Grass (white) rhinocerous with a common Zebra and the next picture is of a mother with the baby Rhino. The Rhinos are one of the big 5 and extremely dangerous. Our tally of the big 5 is now 3. We do see a couple of lazy sleeping lions later, but decided to get a better view of them at Masai Mara to count them in.

It is now dusk and time to bid goodbye to the wild & check into The Lake Nakuru Lodge situated inside the National Park. A comfortable resort with good facilities and service  though a little too touristic and missing the really natural ambience of the Samburu Sopa Lodge. We were aksed to keep our rooms tightly shut as the Baboons might invade us. Pity, we did not stay long enough for the thrill!
Posted by Picasa

Lake Naivasha

Some of us decided to leave early to visit Lake Naivasha about 60 Kms. from Lake Nakuru on our way to Masai Mara (not included in our itinerary). This is also one of the soda lakes in the rift valley. For US$ 30 you get an interesting 1 1/2 hours boat ride around the lake & I was glad to have covered it. Boating means sharing the lake with birdlife and the Hippos whom you see here. As long as we keep a respectable distance, chances of toppling the boat are almost non-existant!

Red Lobed coots very similiar to our own Common coots

some of our fellow travellers in another boat

The magnificentAfrican fishing eagle were all around the lake waiting for their share of the goodies that the lake could offer -do click on this picture to have a good view. (Press the back button on your browser to return to this page)
Posted by Picasa

More from Lake Naivasha

Blacksmith plover - a common sight at the periphery of the lake

Egyptian goose

Flock of Papyrus canaries
Posted by Picasa

Masai Mara GR & The Lion King

We arrive in Masai Mara Game Reserve on the last leg of our African safari. One of the most well known & widely documented reserves in Kenya.

We are now eagerly looking forward to completing our sighting of the big 5 with the African lion and the Leopard. So here we have the African Lion with a distinctly bigger mane than his Asian counterpart. The picture at the beginning of this blog is of a young Lion & Lioness also in Mara GR

he decides to to go over to his family

This young Lioness has been trying to unsuccessfuly chase warthogs.

We come within kissing distance of this lioness. She has seen many homo-sapiens and is clearly not impressed by the Indian (or any other) sub-species that are enthralled by her!

Posted by Picasa


Three striped hyenas gave us good views. You can see the radio collar on them. this is for the purpose of scientific research.

One of the big 5 - the leopard which we were lucky to see emerges from the bush for a fleeting moment giving us a good opportunity to capture him on our lens. and then he decides to once again take cover in the foliage where we could admire him watching us!

Black-backed fox - runs of with his meal. A Pride of Lions are nearby also trying to get their meal
Posted by Picasa

Harmless creatures of Mara GR

A Hippopotamus finally decides to emerge from the water for a short while while the rest of his clan are still cooling themselves below.

The Hippos stay for the most part in water which is full of their excreta & makes viewing them somewhat challenging. You need to shut your sense of smell down to enjoy the sight!

Warthogs & a tommy

Banded mongoose were a charming sight & a lot easier to photograph than our own Indian mongoose
Posted by Picasa