Sunday, January 15, 2012

Kenya Safari Part X

Leaving Baringo on Friday 23 December, we embarked on the last leg of our journey. We were travelling south again to spend the Christmas weekend at Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge on Lake Nakuru.

No sooner had we turned onto the main road between Baringo and Nakuru that we came across two cyclists. Not just ordinary cyclist; fit-looking cyclists with bikes loaded to the hilt. We knew immediately they were on a cycling tour through Africa. Grant slowed down as we overtook them, we asked where they'd come from. Europe, they called, and then became smaller and smaller in my camera lens as I photographed them through the back window.
As we overtook them, we asked where they were from. Europe, they answered
Cyclists who'd ridden all the way from Europe...
...and probably still riding. Just checked that luggage!

My mind boggled at the logistics of such an undertaking. I downloaded a map of Europe and Africa and marked the route I imagined these intrepid cyclists might have taken. Imagining that they started in France (I thought they had a French accent), I mapped their route through to, possibly Italy, Greece or Turkey. From there they'd fly across to Egypt, do a coastal trip along the Red Sea into Northern Sudan and down into Ethopia and then to Kenya where we saw them on a road in the Great Rift Valley!  These are all my own assumptions.  I wish I'd had a chance to speak to them, to find out exactly what their trip entailed and where they'd end.  But then I like to talk to people and ask questions, while my husband likes to drive and  keep on driving. Perhaps the cyclists wouldn't have appreciated it if we'd asked them to stop, so that I could talk to them...
On this map which I borrowed from Mr Google, Europe is circled in white. I mapped a route in red surmising that the cyclists started in France (or even Germany or Switzerland), crossed from Greece to Egypt and avoiding all the hotspots in Africa, made their way down the coast along the Red Sea, down through Northeastern Sudan into Ethopia and Kenya.  

By 12.15pm we were sitting in a traffic gridlock in Nakuru. Everyone was trying to get their final business done before the Christmas weekend and this was the result! Finally (only a 45 minute wait, short for African cities) the line of cars moved forward and we headed through Nakuru and entered Lake Nakuru National Park a mere 3kms on the outskirts of the town.
The entrance to Lake Nakuru National Park,  known for its abundant birdlife

Lake Nakuru National Park is among the smallest of the national parks  but the second-most visited park in Kenya after Nairobi National Park. The park has up to 500 visitors per day, approximately 150,000 per year. 

Soda lakes (of which Lake Nakuru is one) are formed when they are situated near a volcano. Lake Natron in Tanzania is near  Ol  Doinyo Lengai; Lake Magadi in Southern Kenya is near Shobole; Lake Elementeita is near Eburu crater; Lake Begoria is near Laikipia volcanic escarpment; (this volcano is visible from where we live in Keirio valley) and Lake Nakuru lies near Menegai crater.  Most of the volcanoes in the Rift Valley have covered the area with alkaline ashes containing sodium carbonate which is carried to the lakes by rainwater.  If the lakes have no natural drainage, tons of algae is formed in the soda water resulting in millions of flamingo which eat the algae, small insects and crustaceans living in these lakes.

When we arrived in this park, the flamingos had left for Lake Natron. I have previously posted about the beautiful spectacle of flamingoes at Lake Bogoria, so this time at Lake Nakuru I concentrated on the many pelicans and other waterbirds.

From the gate we drove through Fever tree forests to our weekend destination Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge 
The misspelt word and the lower cap in Christmas, on their promotional banner, was forgiven as we arrived at the lodge entrance and were handed a cold, damp towel to wipe our hot faces and necks

Driving up to the game lodge, we were engulfed in the Christmas feeling. During December, Sarova Hotels had a specific theme for each hotel around the country. To celebrate and embrace the festive season, Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge brought in a fusion of cultures of the world. The festive air of this upmarket establishment was enhanced by the rich and diverse cuisine, the eye-catching modes of dress in the local tribes welcoming us and infused with the Rhythms of the World.

The view of Lake Nakuru from our room

After a delicious multi-coursed lunch, we rested a while in our rooms and then drove out to see what the park had to offer.

To be continued...


  1. Oh, I wanted to see more of the hotel and the tribal dress along with the rhythms of the world. Next post, perhaps?

  2. I would rather walk than ride a bike. It's for different folks. When at Grand Canyon I see them on long tours in the states. Very ambitious.

    I'll bet the soda lakes are full of unique life. And another distant view from your room.

  3. I think they would have loved to chat.

  4. That's probably what the bikers have done. It's not the first time that I hear that two young man from Belgium did it too, but they are back now. What an adventure !! Your reportage is great again, I feel like travelling, but I have no Christmas feelings anymore and this year, never had. I think the time difference is only 2 h between Kenya and Brussels, like in Egypt you are 2 h ahead of us. Now it's 10 here and 12 in Kenya.

  5. Hi Jo, I am amazed at some of these bikers. They must also be in terrific shape. I think I would rather walk if I can not drive. The lodge at the lake sound like a wonderful place. And the view from your room looks gorgeous. Can't wait to see all the different birds. Have a wonderful Sunday!

  6. Cycling heavily loaded is not a lot of fun as I have discovered. Even more so in the heat of Kenya!! Great photos. Diane

  7. They might have brought their bikes on the plane? Still, quite an undertaking! I have done a little bit of cycling-camping and it's hard work. :)

  8. Nakuru is the second park we visited the first time we went to Kenya in 1987. I loved riding along with you down the through Eldama Ravine. (I'm assuming that was where you saw the bikers.) Oh my poor aching back from just thinking of pedaling that route!

  9. Those bicyclists are quite ambitious...what great memories they will have of their trip! I fondly recall bicycling through central Europe in the early 1970s.

    Lake Nakuru looks beautiful and peaceful.


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