Jen: We’ve spent the last week or so doing a loop round from Nairobi to 3 National Parks/ Reserves and had a fantastic time, the finale was seeing a Leopard up a tree, game viewing doesn’t really get much better!
Without boring everyone with exactly what we saw where here’s a quick summary (not bad in 1 week!)
Leopard, Thomson’s Gazelle, Gerenuk, Affrican Buffalo, Dikdiks, Antelope, African Elephant, Warthog, Giraffe, Zebra, Hippo, Golden Jackal
Cheetah, Lion, Wildebeest, Hartebeest, Waterbuck, Black Rhino, Spotted hyena
We started at Tsavo East, where we got talking to a very nice man who owned a lodge inside the park. He has a dream to buy a landcruiser and drive across Africa and was therefore very keen to help us overlanders. We avoided the rather expensive camping fees for the park by parking up in his lodge car park. We enjoyed chatting to him over a few beers learning about how he’d built up his business and his life in Kenya whilst we shared some of overland stories with him.
This was Bens first safari experience and we were lucky enough to see lot s of animals although cats were sadly missing. We also convinced the rangers to let us cross the river in the middle of the park and make our way up through the northern gate towards our next park stop of Meru. The rangers had scared us slightly about the river crossing explaining that recently the river had been very high and a ranger had been swept in his landcruiser off the concrete causeway and then down the river. It was quite funny to see Ben checking out the causeway totally oblivious to a massive hippo about 50m away.
Meru was our next stop and this appealed to us as it see’s very few visitors. It also has a mixture of open grasslands as you imagine in an African landscape combined with quite a jungley feel. The amount of undergrowth makes game viewing a little more challenging but we really enjoyed what we saw and spending a few days just enjoying the beautiful surroundings. The jungley feel also meant there was a fair bit of rain at night which caused some ‘challenges’ with the tracks around the park. We had wanted to pop up to the Rhino Sanctuary but unfortunately the rain had got the better of the tracks and we had to leave this for fear of becoming very stuck.
Our final stop on the loop was back up towards Archers Post (where we’d stayed on our way down from Lake Turkana) in order to visit Samburu. We decided to avoid the over priced and slightly unfriendly campsite that seems to ride on the back of being a Womens Community camp (when it isn’t) and found another little site nearer the park which was a genuine community project. It was a beautiful spot, overlooking the Waso River and was pretty much like a bush camp with open views all the way around, the only difference being there was a small shack which contained a shower, toilet and bed for a guard to keep an eye on us over night.
We decided to get a guide for Samburu as we were keen to see some type of cat and thought lions would be most likely. We entered near midday and were immediately wowed by the amazing landscape and so so many elephants. Some were so close their trunk could have gone into the car. We also became alarmed when an elephant 5 metres away used a tree to scratch himself and thought our landrover may be the next useful item to do the same. We spent quite some time watching two younger elephants having quite a fight and we figured that they must be brothers.
As the sun was setting our guide explained that he didn’t think we were going to see any lions that night, not longer after he had spotted some other vehicles in particular spot and then asked a couple of other drivers. We were told a leopard up a tree had been seen. I then had to drive as quickly as I could, whilst negotiating big ditches and not damaging the car to the given spot. We were amazed to see the leopard just sat up the tree surveying the undergrowth to look for his dinner. We must have watched him for 20 minutes or so before he calmly strolled down the tree and disappeared into the long grass. The whole Samburu experience on this day was definitely our trip highlight… so far.
On our drive down South towards Nairobi we stopped off near Mt Kenya but unfortunately the rain got the better of us and we didn’t participate in any outdoor activities, instead we made our way back to Nairobi for a fun filled afternoon around the industrial area looking for parts for the Disco, getting her cleaned and oil changed etc.
Tomorrow my sister Christine will arrive and we’re looking forward to enjoying Christmas near Lake Naivasha and heading out West towards Uganda.