The road into Lake Naivasha was lined with large greenhouses, full of security guards and barrier arm gates, something that would set a scene in a James Bond movie. We found that these were all Dutch owned rose beds and that Kenya is the world’s second largest flower producer.
The camping ground was something of a luxury, with a swimming pool, a large bar and good facilities However, there were electric fences to keep the hippos out and the sight of dry dock boats and kombi vans converted into bun
galows was a worry.
We were introduced to Chris, our smooth talking local host, who gave us plenty of optional activities to choose over the following two days. We chose to do the mountain biking through Hells Gate National Park on the first day. The bikes that turned up had seen better days. Most had only a few gears and limited brakes with one having the brake cable wrapped around the headtube, allowing steering in only one direction. Mitch considered a job as the village bike mechanic, at least to pay off the excursion fee, but using only his bare hands couldn’t manage much. Luckily the track was along an easy dusty road with the odd zebra crossing.
Hells Gate was the first opportunity to get close to the animals and walk close to them (No predators to be seen). The Lion King Stampede scene was based on the scenery here. However, much of it was inaccessible due to recent flooding, including the geothermal hot pool. The Olkaria Geothermal Steamfield is located here with an installed capacity of 153MW and further development making access to the main steamfield also inaccessible, to Mitch’s disappointment. He was also a bit upset with the promised geothermal features – two tricking 60 dg seeps in the wall of the gorge, hardly worth talking about back home…
In the afternoon we ventured to Elsamere, home of Joy Adamson and the ‘Born Free’ series of books. At Elsamere we had high tea, made from the finest Kenyan tea (also neatly packaged into teabags) and a variety of cakes and biscuits. We shared the outside dining area with large Columbus monkeys, who were brave enough to leap onto our neighbours table and munch on their cake. The day finished in the usual fashion with a few Tusker lagers.
On the second day, following some good advice, we took the other option available, a boat ride to see the hippos and pink flamingos at a nearby lake. The hippos all grouped in small families, with a dominant male and a herd of women. The satellite males and females with male calves were at some distance. Hippos kill the most people of any wild animal in Africa, excepting of course disease carrying animals such as rats and mosquitoes. Flamingos scattered at the sound of the engine, which seemed to also drive the hippos to the surface with its loud drone.
Today we departed to Nakuru, home town of our guide and the Lake Nakuru National Park. The routine of putting up tents and cleaning/cooking has become second nature in short time.
One more Kiwi has joined our group, while sadly another has had to leave early, with eight more scheduled to join over the next few days in Uganda.