When we started planning this trip to Kenya with Stephen and Ginny we all talked about what things we wanted to do the most.  At the top of both Nathan and mine’s list was getting to see wild animals in Kenya.  As Nathan said, “I want to see lions killing wildebeest on the savanna.”  It was a good game drive, but we didn’t quite get to see that.

We did, however, get to see lots and lots of other wild animals!

Our tour started with a beautiful sunrise!

We saw the sun rise more times on this trip than I do the rest of the year combined, but it was a very beautiful sunrise.

We saw the sun rise more times on this trip than I do the rest of the year combined, but it was a very beautiful sunrise.

The sun rising over the roof of our tour van.

The sun's rising over the roof of our tour van.

White Rhinoceros

The rhinos might've been my favorite animal.  We got so close to this one we could hear it tearing the grass to eat!

The rhinos might've been my favorite animal. We got so close to this one we could hear it tearing the grass to eat!

This baby white rhino just has a little nub for his horn.  It's so cute!

This baby white rhino just has a little nub for his horn. It's so cute!

Giraffes

These giraffes were so tall, but they're still juveniles.

These giraffes were so tall, but they're still juveniles.

Here's a close up of the graceful, calm giraffe.

Here's a close up of the graceful, calm giraffe. They were Nathan's favorite animal (since we didn't see any lions).

Zebras

Grazing Zebras

Grazing Zebras

Baboons

I really liked the baboons, but Ginny told us she doesn't because they're such a nuisance in Kenya.

I really liked the baboons, but Ginny told us she doesn't because they're such a nuisance in Kenya. Here's a mom cleaning her baby.

Cape Buffalo

The cape buffalo is a very dangerous animal, said to kill more people than any other animal in Africa, because of their unpredictability.

The cape buffalo is a very dangerous animal, said to kill more people than any other animal in Africa, because of their unpredictability.

Waterbucks

A waterbuck just stopped and stared at us for quite awhile.

A waterbuck just stopped and stared at us for quite awhile.

Rock Hyrex

The rock hyrax is a small, furry mammal.

The rock hyrax is a small, furry mammal.

Greater (Pink) and Lesser (White) Flamingos

The flamingos live on the algae in Lake Nakuru.  The lesser flamingos are in the foreground, the pink greater ones are behind, and pelicans are in the back.

The flamingos live on the algae in Lake Nakuru. The lesser flamingos are in the foreground, the pink greater ones are behind, and pelicans are in the back. There were LOTS of flamingos at the park!

Crested Eagle

Crested Eagle

Crested Eagle

Warthogs

We saw lots of warthogs; here is an adult with two babies.

We saw lots of warthogs; here is an adult with two babies.

Hyenas

Early in the morning we came across a pack of hyenas that were eating a flamingo from the lake.  We could hear the bones crunching as they ate.

Early in the morning we came across a pack of hyenas that were eating a flamingo from the lake. We could hear the bones crunching as they ate.

Gazelles

This is a male impala antelope.

This is a male impala antelope. We also saw gazelles, but they were much further away.

Cranes

We saw lots of cranes like this one, feeding in the freshwater stream that led to the saltwater Lake Nakuru.

We saw lots of cranes like this one, feeding in the freshwater stream that led to the saltwater Lake Nakuru.

And what safari would be complete without some tourists?

Here we are in the safari van.  The roof configuration was very nice because we could take photos without a pane of glass being in the way.

Here we are in the safari van. The roof configuration was very nice because we could take photos without a pane of glass being in the way.

There are no elephants that live by Lake Nakuru.  There are a few lions, but we didn’t see them.  James asked on the way out of the park, and no one else saw lions that day either.  That made us feel a little better.

Going to Lake Nakuru was the single most expensive expenditure on our trip, but it was still worth it.  We got to see lots of animals, take gigabytes of photos (this is only a small sample), and we got to know our guide and driver, James.

In addition to taking us from the safari office to our hotel and picking us up again before dawn the next morning to drive us around the park, James gave us invaluable help.  We invited him to join us for a late lunch after the game drive, and he did.  He also let us leave all the luggage in the safari van so we didn’t have to drag it into the restaurant.  At lunch we were talking about where he grew up, and he was asking us about what our plans were while we were in Kenya.  We told him how we were going to catch a matatu after lunch to go further northwest past Kabernet to visit a place Ginny had lived.

James offered to drive us after lunch to the matatu stand.  We thought we knew where it was because the matatu from Kijabe had dropped us off at a Shell station near the town plaza.  Well, James took us to another place nearby that had lots and lots of matatus over a couple of blocks.  Not only did he take us to the stand, but when we got there he told us all to wait in the van.  He went to talk to the matatu drivers, and he found us one going to Kabernet right away that had space for us and our bags.  He negotiated the price, and we were able to just climb right in.  We met a lot of kind people while in Kenya, but for a stranger who went out of their way to help us, James might take the gold medal.

If you find yourself in Kenya and in need of a good game drive guide, you can find James at Susu Safaris in Nakuru, Kenya.  The phone number for the office is +254-20-2211408.  I also have his email address if you’re interested.  You can tell him we sent you! 🙂

Laura is laughing at James’ stories of baboons at the national park.

Laura is laughing at James’ stories of baboons at the national park.

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