Ellie’s Kenya Blog – Debonair’s Photo Safari, Part 2

This is the second in a series of missives about the most recent Debonair Kenya Photo Tour 

Serena Lodge, Lake Elementeita

Debonair's Kenya Photo Safari
Debonair’s Kenya Photo Safari

Friday, September 20th

Dear All,

Once again in the lap of luxury, “glamping” by Lake Elementeita, in the Great Rift Valley. Our
“room” is a tent, only in that it has a canvas exterior. We got here yesterday, after a grueling, 10
1/2-hour trek across washboard dirt roads and the jammed main highway from Mombasa on the
coast to southern Sudan. The Chinese are building new roads, part of a series of infrastructure
projects. They look to be the new world power in the region.

Today, we stayed local, visiting the flamingos, storks, pelicans, and other fresh water birds, and
making the acquaintance of waterbucks, a relation to our deer, impalas, with their corkscrew
horns, and elands. Also saw more of our friends from Amboseli, warthogs and Cape Buffalo.
Flamingos are fun to watch. They parade up and down the shoreline, their skinny legs cocked
first one way, then the next, their necks bent with their beaks curving inward. They fly in a line,
necks stretched out and legs trailing behind. The local variety is pink from the algae they eat in
alkaline lakes, with a darker concentration at the base of their black wings. We saw one chorus
line dancing sideways all in sync, like Rockettes.

Saturday, September 21st

Today was a full-day trip to a national park at Nakuru, another of the several large lakes in the
Rift Valley, formed by subsidence of land, with water filling in. The waters in Nakuru have risen,
flooding trees and one of the entrances to the park.
In addition to many of the animals we have seen elsewhere, we caught glimpses today of white
rhinos sleeping, with their giant horns sticking out in front and some endangered Rothschild’s
giraffes, delicately eating the leaves of thorn trees with their long black tongues. We also
watched two male lions dozing in the grass. We were close enough that I could spot the flies on
the younger one’s nose. Apparently, until they get “married”, (Peter’s words), they are on their
own to hunt.

A rule of the road – don’t stop to take photos of baboons, especially if you have food in the car.
They have a very good sense of smell, and they will try to get at it. That almost happened
today. A large male got on the hood of the car and put his hands and nose up to the windshield.
Then he jumped up to the open top, ready to come in. Screams from the seats. Peter gunned
the engine, and the baboon jumped off. Later, he told us a horror story about a man whose
picnic a baboon was trying to steal. The man cut up hot peppers and put them in the food and
let the baboons take it. Needless to say, they burned their mouths. Foolishly, the man came
back the next week to the same spot. The baboons recognized him and attacked and killed
him.

Peter has other stories, but he waits until after we have had an experience to tell us.