Sunday, 22 January 2017

A long drive a flat tire...and...lions

We started early with another long drive ahead of us from Ol Pejeta to Lake Nakuru...about five hours away.

We saw a dry and dusty countryside due to drought conditions which are affecting most of the country.  On our way we stopped again as we crossed the equator to see the coriolis experiment in practice.  With the aid of a simple pitcher of water we saw that north of the equator water turns clockwise as it drains and counter clockwise in the southern hemisphere.  Although we had seen this before when we were in Equador,  it was a welcome break from the hot and dusty road.

Our next stop was a lookout with a view of the rift Valley.   This is a 9,600 km Valley which runs from north to south through Africa.  It is HUGE.  Even from our vantage point we could only see a small part of its width.  I, for one, had not known about this massive and very fertile valley.   We learned that Lake Nakuru, a national park and our destination lies on this rift.

Our next stop was the park itself- some 46,000 acres devoted to protecting a unique ecosystem with a large and salt water Lake.   It supports many different species- including the flamingo.  We rested for a couple of hours and then we were off for another game drive through this fascinating park with our guide Elijah.

With his help we saw many different types of birds as well as baboons and some rhinos. 

We have been searching for a Leopard to round out our list of animal to see...but to no avail.  We did see Rothschild Giraffes off in the distance.  The scenery was just spectacular so the drive was lovely notwithstanding our lack of luck finding a Leopard.

On our way back to our lodge we were surprised to find a pride of lions lying under a tree.  We were so there were cubs and four or five females and a large male.  They were difficult to photograph or see as they were lying in tall grass.  As the light started to fade we saw the females stretch and start to ready themselves for a hunt.  Then the male started to stir.  All at once the females got up and started to leave their resting place- clearly stalking something as they left their cubs behind in the care of the male.  As it was getting dark we had to leave so Elijah started up the truck. 

Two feet later he stopped the truck to get out and investigate a strange noise...this was risky as the Lions were close by...and...hunting.  He discovered a flat tire.  He told us that he would have to change  the tire but asked that we keep an eye out for the Lions.   This was really when the fun began because no sooner had he started but the male appeared on the road behind us and started walking our way!  I don't think I have seen anyone move so quickly  as did Elijah!  He was rightly concerned as the male had cubs close by and his priority would be protecting them.  This made it very dangerous indeed!

Two things happened the lion layed down and two when he got up he went back into the forest.
We were joined shortly by park Rangers who happened upon us while on patrol and Elijah was able to finish the tire change and we got on our way. 

The final excitement was as we drove away a herd of giraffes crossed the road in front of us forcing us to stop.  They are such magnificent creatures and were so close!
Another exciting day!

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