Family Fun at Lake Nakuru

June proved to be a busy month, as expected. My (Rachel's) mom was here for 4 weeks and the time just flew by. Most of it was due to Rachel going back to work. But we found some time during the last week to get out and enjoy some more parts of Kenya. We visited Olderkesi, in Maasai Mara, for a little R&R, although not many animals (other than the domesticated sort) were seen. Then we headed to Lake Nakuru, one of Kenya's most popular game parks. It was fun because we could just drive our own van around inside the park, stop for picnic lunches and photo shoots, etc. Here are some of the highlights.

To start with, Eric and Jean went in to the park office to buy our tickets while Rachel stayed behind with the kiddos. We heard some thumping on the roof and then a small visitor tried to squeeze in through the window...

Maggie got some good views of the animals from the front seat, as you can see.

Our first viewing was right inside the park gates: a hamerkop. Eric bought us a bird book about 10 months ago and it quickly became Maggie's favorite book to look at. Consequently, it was easy to pick out a few unique species in the park. Apparently Nakuru is one of the prime locations in Kenya for bird viewers.

Not long after, we saw a white rhino grazing at the side of the road. It's not white because of its coloring (this one is just covered in dried mud) but rather the mouth and nose shape. We saw others on our drive but this one was definitely the closest. We watched it eat for awhile and then watched it run into a tree. Not so great eyesight, I've heard.

We meandered around the lake to the south end of the park and saw lots of impala, water buck, gazelle, zebras, and giraffe along the way.

Then we all got out of the car for a stretch, snack, and viewing of some nice (albeit brown) falls.

Back around the lake for more giraffes...

As well as a BUNCH of birds. Lake Nakuru is known for its flamingo population, and from a distance the lake looks ringed in pink. We did see a lot of flamingos, but I think even more pelicans.

We stopped for lunch at a place called Baboon Cliff. Why the moniker? Take a guess. When we got there, it was just a bunch of tourists with giant cameras enjoying the view. We got out our cooler and started making sandwiches on a picnic table. Rachel was in the van feeding Ben when all of a sudden she saw a giant baboon run from the direction of our picnic table into the trees carrying something. It was a large male who, literally quick as a flash, had jumped onto the table, grabbed a loaf of bread out of our cooler inches from where Maggie was sitting, and dashed off. Yikes. Certainly excited the tourists! It took about 2 seconds of debating to pack up lunch and try a different spot. Oh yes. Beware the Baboon Menace.

The rest of the day was pretty tame. Saw some zebras having fun...

And a saddle billed stork by the lake, another bird book feature. All in all, a fun day! More on our adventures in an upcoming post.