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Tag Archives: Rift Valley

Hungry Hippos and Flocks of Flamingoes: Rift Valley Tour: Part 2

So after leaving the crater we ventured further and further up north.  Then we hit it.  It was like an invisible wall.  What could it be?  The equator of course.  We were forced to stop for photo ops!Tompaul tries to break through but he just can’t!

They have made this globe on the other side of the equator for photo ops.  The goats like to stand on the ramps…and in the bathrooms, and by the car.  Eventually they want to put a motor on the globe (so it actually turns).  They also have a solar cooker where a chicken was getting roasted for dinner.  Gotta love the sun!

That night we camped at Roberts Camp on the shores of Lake Barringo.  They have a lovely campsite and also some nice chalets. On our first night we all sat around just relaxing from the long drive.  Suddenly a guy ran up to us saying if we wanted to see a hippo to come on!  Well there was a mommy and baby hippo grazing about 100 meters from our tent.  How cool!  Unfortunately Tompaul did not get any decent pictures.  Hippos are so amazing, but deadly.

We all went to sleep (after emptying the tent of food).  Then in the night Tompaul awoke to nature calling.  As he came back to the tent what did he see?  A HIPPO RIGHT BY OUR TENT!  He jumps back inside the tent and we both laid there waiting to be chomped to death!  Next time we want to stay in a chalet . . . .

We all awoke early in the morning for a lake birding tour.  It seems everyone we know is into birding…and we can see why.  Lake Barringo is known for its birds.  Maybe because it is a fresh water lake and others are “soda” lakes.

Lari and Alexander, all suited up ready to find birds.

A bird we don’t know the name of, but the shot is cool!

Boy and Girl Weavers (one of my favorite birds).

A large heron.

Part of the boat tour was buying fish from a fisherman to feed to the fisher eagle.  This guy is rowing out on a balsa wood canoe.  He sells us fish for a steep price.   Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective) one of the fish was still alive and swam away before the eagle came.

Here is the fisher eagle snatching the fish from the water!  The guide would say 3,2,1 SHOOT.  And like clockwork if you snapped at the “shoot”  you got a fab picture.

Lizard of sorts.

Our nemesis.

Look!  It’s the strongest girl in the WORLD!!! (or the lightest log).

That afternoon we decided a drive around Lake Bogoria was in order.   It’s known for its tens of thousands of flamingoes.

This is just one view of the gargantuan lake filled with flamingoes.  There is a drive around the lake but we had to turn back because of high water levels.

Usually Lake Borgoria has geysers, however the water level was so high we only saw bubbling areas.  The flamingos seemed to enjoy the lake.

I have never been so close to so many flamingoes.  They have incredibly long legs, and when flying seem to walk on water.

During the day Tompaul repeatedly complained of a rock in his shoe but could never find it.  At one point we looked onthe bottom, and there was a giant acacia thorn sticking through.  Can you see it?  It is toward the top…


Rift Valley Road Trip: Part 1

There are several ways of looking at travel.  When it came to Africa Tompaul and I focused on visiting family and friends, and then we were just happy to see what we could see.  Often in parts of Africa one shouldn’t have too many expectations, as that leads to frustration, impatience and not good times ;).  Often things don’t work out quite as planned.  Then you have room for the unexpected.

So when Tompaul’s sister Robyn and her husband Lari asked us what we wanted to do in Kenya the two of us had really a short list.  Our main goal was to see the children.  Then the opportunity of a road trip in the rift valley came up.  We were game!

Sometimes it can be difficult to fit everything in.  Especially when you have 6 people, their food, a massive tent, bedding and clothes for camping for 4 days.  But Lari is the packing master!

Before leaving we had to get the brakes checked.  As a special treat Robyn and Lari found Tompaul and I Paprika (maybe the only Mexican Resturant in Kenya).   Granted our burritos were not up to Chipotle (or even Moe’s) standards, but it was nice to have something that resembled familiar food.

After an afternoon on the road we made it to a place to camp just before nightfall.  We planned to camp at the Ian Castleman Orphanage.  This is an orphanage run by an Australian Adventist.  Frequently he takes orphans in that have special needs or=r are HIV positive, many children that other orphanages will deny.  Currently there are over 130 orphans here.

I am not sure what message our nephew Xander is conveying, but I think it is relief to be out of the car, desire for water, and desire to use the outhouse.

Prior to unpacking we wanted to document Lari’s excellent packing job.  Now getting it back in the next day?  That is another story.

This is Nathan.  Xander brought him to the tent to visit, and once we started giving him some attention, he decided we wanted to stay.  He liked to walk around, hold hands and be tossed into the sky.  This lasted until the monkey showed up.  The orphanage has two main pets, a monkey (for which they reportedly have a special license) and a tortoise.  The monkey had recently escaped and been running around.  Once the monkey appeared Nathan screamed, and attempted to climb my legs (like a monkey).  He clearly did not have a fondness for monkeys.

Would you buy chain mail from this character?

Camping with Robyn and Lari means living in their tent castle.  Is this Kenya or Yellowstone?

It’s break time during school.

Here is a view of one part of the school.  To the left is the volunteers house.  To the right, the farm.  Ahead you can see the outhouses we used.  Beyond that is a roof of one of the dorms.

Next stop was a volcano crater!  On the way to Lake Baringo we stopped to stretch our legs at this incredible lookout over the ancient volcano-ridden valley.  This is a distorted panorama of the view.  It was amazing to see how large (though not as large as Yellowstone) the volcano was at our feet.

Tompaul showing which way forward.

This is the w.c. where an angry man demanded shillings but there was no mention of payment on the sign.  Tompaul and I both had “anxiety” from the large amount of instructions and were not “productive” so we didn’t pay.


More tomorrow…we are staying at a hotel that only gives us 300MB a night for internet…so the post is not yet done.