10 on the 10th, Safari Edition

I was planning on doing a merry little post about our first Christmas in Kenya, then we went on our first safari this past weekend, so the holiday post got bumped…at least for the time being. This month’s 10 is of the top ten things we saw at the Nakuru Game Park, all in a span of about 6 hours total. We’d been waiting for this fun day since we knew we were moving to Africa. Five months and a handful of work permits later (making it WAAAAY cheaper) and we were on our way! Of course, the pictures don’t do it justice, but they will have to suffice until each of you can come and see it for yourselves.

  1. Crested Crane. Kids told us they are from Uganda. We learned we should’ve done our research first, so we’d know about all the animals and not have 4 adults guessing while 5 kids confidently tell us facts about each and every animal, whether they really know or not!

IMG_43502. Baboons are an every day occurrence in Kijabe. We’ve come to know them as the obnoxious, loud, semi-violent creatures they sometimes tend to be when humans have moved in and taken over their space.  However, seeing so so many of them traveling around in their family groups with a large number of babies piggybacking on their mamas (or daddies I guess) somehow renewed their cuteness. See how cute that little one is?IMG_4275



3. Buffaloes. Not sure if these are water buffaloes or cape buffaloes, but as RVA students, with the mighty buffalo as our mascot, we are inclined to love these massive beasts. Plus, the wig-like appearance of the base of their horns makes them fun to watch.IMG_4238IMG_4272IMG_42784. Giraffes sitting down. There are dozens of giraffes to see in Nakuru, but this was a first for all of us. It looks like the grass needs a serious cutting, but in actuality, the giraffes are just taking a break. The kid zoologists in our car informed us that it’s really hard for giraffes to sit down, so we were lucky to catch them in this pose.IMG_4240 5. Animals coexisting. Trust me when I say there was no lack of songs from the Lion King soundtrack being sung in our vehicle. The majority of which may or may not have been coming from the writer of this blog, but you’ll never know for sure. It was awesome to watch the flock of birds in the background make a shifting white oval in the sky over the other animals, back and forth, back and forth, then land on the obliging buffaloes beneath them. It was serene and gave us the feeling of all nature working together as intended.IMG_4245 IMG_42536. Rhinos (or nosuruses, as Beckett calls them)! How can something get so huge from just eating grass?
IMG_4277 IMG_42667. A LEOPARD!! This elusive cat is hard to spot. Lucky for us, we ran into a guide who told us right where we could find her. A right here, a right there, over a bridge, look in the tree! She was hard to see, but we found her. The photo is a bit of a Where’s Waldo type game. See if you can spot the leopard in the left side of the tree, 4th limb up from the bottom. We found her following Kenyan directions, so it’s only fair.IMG_4284 Version 2

I admit, my photos aren’t the best, but I’m hoping you can at least make it out. If only I’d had the 3 foot, gigantic, camouflaged lens of the guy in the truck next to us!
Version 3 8. Roadblocks when we were in a hurry to get back to the lodge by curfew. First buffaloes…IMG_4291then giraffes!
IMG_4297 9. This nice guy gave Nate directions on our last drive through the game park, guiding us to where he’d seen “some cats” earlier that morning. His instructions led us straight to a small pride of 4 lions! IMG_4308 We found the tree, over the hill, beside the road…and pulled our vehicle right up to these resting kings and queens.IMG_4330IMG_4338If you didn’t know exactly what you were looking for and where, you could easily speed right by and never even notice these beauties basking in the shade.

IMG_4320We kept creeping the car up to try and get a better shot of their faces. It was only when we began to drive away that one of them decided to stand on all fours and scope out the area. It only took her face turning towards us after she stood and took two steps in our direction to get us to roll those windows up right quick and move on to the next stop. Of course, she just flopped right back down in the grass to continue her nap. I guess these “cats” really are just overgrown kittens. Lazy! Just don’t tell them I said it, please.
IMG_434510. Some incredible scenery. In addition to all the amazing creatures, we also had our breath taken away by more than one unexpected view after another. Our introduction to the park was this beautiful view as we drove over our first hill. Kinda felt like we were in Narnia. IMG_4225A hint of a rainbow as we raced home in the evening after our leopard hunt. IMG_4286And my favorite view from the weekend. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1IMG_4282