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Nakuru, Mara and Nairobi NP Dec 2010


tordenmalm
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Me and my wife went to Kenya just around Christmas last year, and squeezed in a 4-day safari into a rather unplanned trip. 1 night at Nakuru Lodge and 3 nights at Keekorok. We had a buffer day between our arrival in Kenya and the start of our safari, but weather problems in Europe meant that we still arrived half a day late for our safari. Nevertheless, we left from the airport to Nakuru and arrived just before sunset. Immediately upon entering the park, a rhino crossed the road ahead of us and made us feel that we were indeed off to a good start despite the flight delay. We arrived at the lodge and found it to be rather large, but still quite cosy and with nice views of the park.

 

 

Next morning we headed out on a morning game drive before leaving for Mara. We only met a few cars on our 3-hour drive. December is not the time for lots and lots of flamingos, but there were still a few around and it was wonderful to stop by the lake, get out of the car and just watch them walking around in the shallow water. After our stop by the lake it didn't take many minutes before we encountered a rhino, and another one, and a third one. The last one was just a few meters off the road, so we stopped and just watched it slowly move around, continuously grazing as it walked. After 5 or 10 minutes it moved away from the road, into the bushes, and we drove off.

 

After a short stop up at Baboon Hill, with fantastic views of Lake Nakuru, we headed off towards Masai Mara. The last stretch of dirt road is sure slow and bumpy. Almost as soon as we entered the park, the action started. A small herd of wildebeest ran past our car, and when we turned aroud we found a cheetah which had just taken down a young wildebeest. It was sitting right next to the dead wildebeest panting and looking around to make sure there was no competition around. After a while it bit the carcass at the tail and started tugging and chewing, but the hide was tought and it had to fight hard to pull it open. After a while it succeeded and took a few bites before it paused to catch its breath and scan the horizon again. A few more vehicles had arrived and there were maybe 5 or 6 of in front of the cheetah. It was now late afternoon and we had to move on to get to Keekorok lodge before sunset. On the way there we found another cheetah resting on a small mound.

 

We spent two more full days in the Masai Mara with Keekorok Lodge as our base, heading in a different direction for each game drive. In some places there were quite a few other vehicles, but then again one of the days we met two or three vehicles in the whole day. Seems like some areas were more crowded than others. We were generally surprised by the low number of visitors, as we had thought we'd see more people than animals, with it being Christmas time. At some lion sightings the guides were on their radios notifying one another, and there may have been as many as 10 vehicles at one time, but most of the time we were alone and there were no cars in sight. Speaking of lions, I think we saw lions each game drive. We had one particularly nice encounter alone with three lionesses early in the morning, them getting trying to figure out where the food might have gone, gazing at the horizon and trying to sneak closer to some gazelles. We spent perhaps 15-20 minutes just watching them, to see what they might be up to.

 

Overall, we were more than happy with our stay in the Mara. It seems people rather go to the Serengeti during Christmas, to follow the migration. For us that was perfect as we got to experience the Mara without crowds. The park was beautiful, with quite a bit of greenery. We had a bit or rain every day, but it was very local and it would be over quite soon. As we drove, we would pass through drier areas and then again through greener areas. While there were very few wildebeests and zebras, we saw many hartebeest, Grant's, impala, topi, buffalo and some eland. Giraffes were plentiful, as were elephants. We even saw a black rhino! Many otheres wanted to see the rhino as well, so this was not one of our solitary moments.

 

Just to finish off our stay in Kenya, we visited the Nairobi NP before heading home. I have to say it surpassed our expectations. During a morning game drive we saw two lions, a large herd of buffalo, lots of giraffes and twelve rhinos! Plus a bunch of other animals. All with Nairobi as a backdrop. It's quite amazing to have that kind of wildlife right next to a major city. I understand that the migrations in and out of Nairobi NP have become severly hampered due to human settling, but there are still lots of animals in the park. Another highlight in Nairobi was the Giraffe Center. Touristy - yes, but a great way to get up close to giraffes and to support the conservation efforts of the center.

 

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Nairobi NP

 

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Me and Daisy, at the Giraffe Center

 

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Masai Mara

 

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Masai Mara

 

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Masai Mara

 

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Masai Mara

 

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Masai Mara

 

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Masai Mara

 

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Masai Mara

 

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Masai Mara

 

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Masai Mara

 

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Nakuru

 

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Nakuru

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Excellent, thankyou for posting. I'd love to visit NNP, although the dwindling wildife corridors concern me. However, I understand it is one of the best guarded parks in Kenya, if not Sub Saharan Africa. What was your standout experience of the trip? Matt

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Nice report. Like the rhino in the Mara, looks like you got a great close up view. Do you plan to go on another safari?

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Matt, thanks. There wasn't one particular standout, but the moments I cherished the most were the ones when we were all alone with no other people or vehicles around. Amazingly we had quite a bit of those momens in the Mara. There were two or three game drives when we encountered just one or two vehicles in 3-4 hours, even when driving in very open landscape where you'd easily spot a car a mile away.

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Twaffle, glad you appreciate. We've actually just booked another Kenya safari :huh: . This Christmas me and my wife will bring my sister and parents on a 9-day safari following in Atravelynn's footprints: Meru, Samburu and Mara. Actually, you also gave me inspiration to go to Meru! Loved your recent trip report. Very much looking forward to Christmas!

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There you go: Safaritalk at its best! Do share you itinerary and plans with us in the Trip Planning subforum. Matt

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Would love to see your trip planning and intinerary. Wonderful destinations.

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Great report and Welcome Tordenmalm. Looks like you are hooked on Kneya already.

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Great report Tordenmaln - and fantastic rhino sightings! I'm glad to hear that you will be returning. It seems that with me one vist just whets my appetite for the next.

 

Cheers and welcome to ST.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the report, Tordenmaim! Your zebras in Nairobi is such a classic shot with the buildings in the background. It really showcases the unique aspects of that park. How nice you are going back!

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Nice report Tordenmain and welcome to ST. Wonderful to be going back so soon, its difficult to stay away just a pity it is such a costly trip. I recognised your shots of Nakuru, I have some very similar. I will tell the Mara you are on your way when I visit in October

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very nicely done , I liked rhino images very much

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Thanks all! We're definitely hooked on Kenya, and it's easy to see why: many parks, good international and domestic communications, English widely spoken, reasonably priced.

 

I appreciate the suggestion to post the itinerary for our next trip, and have just done that. Any suggestions are most welcome.

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