Monday, January 14, 2013

What’s gnu with you?

I wasn’t sure that anything could surpass the Lake Nakuru experience, but Joe was very excited about our trip to Lake Naivasha and Crescent Island. Crescent Island is unique because there are no predators there. The animals were brought to the island for the filming of Out of Africa and just left there. So the giraffes, the monkeys, the wildebeests, the water bucks, the zebra, and the dairy cows all exist together without threats from lions. It’s kind of like a modern-day Garden of Eden. We arrived at Crescent Island, which is essentially a woman’s house, met our guide, Bernard, and set off on foot to walk the island. But first, Joe made me stick my head in the mouth of this hippo’s skull.


Then we walked up to the top of the ridge for a view of Lake Naivasha. It was a beautiful day, and many sailboats were out on the water. We could see the tops of the greenhouses that make up many of the rose plantations in Kenya and took in the view. Following our brief pause, we walked down and first spotted the dik-dik, a small antelope, hopping through the low brush. We had our first up close and personal encounter with a water buck.


He was not terribly amused. We wandered past some more water buck, impala, and gazelles to spend some quality time with a family of giraffes. I believe the guy below was the father. He let us get the closest to him.


It was pretty unreal. Little did we know that we’d get even closer to some giraffes a little later on. Mostly, we took in the stunning scenery spotted with all kinds of animals.


Between Bernard and Philip, we learned a lot about the different animals, their dispositions, and the differences in their scat. But I didn’t take pictures of that. The giraffes were probably the best part of Crescent Island. This guy below was only one week old. Precious!


Zebra are remarkably similar to donkeys, and I remembered to never get too close to the hindquarters of a donkey or horse. But how often do you get to get this close to a zebra?


We had snapped more than our fair share of pictures, and it was time to head back to the car. Lunch was going to be roast goat, commonly known as nyoma choma. Ours wasn’t exactly nyoma choma because of the presentation, but after walking around in the sun, a few Tusker beers and a big plate of roasted goat and the most perfect roasted potatoes I’ve ever had definitely hit the spot.


Because the previous day had been so busy, we opted to take Sunday a little easier and spend part of the afternoon at Lake Naivasha country club. For 200 KES a person (about $2.50), we got access to their beautiful pool area and enjoyed some Stoney ginger beer.


After an adventurous weekend, I wasn’t too excited to head back to work at the hospital on Monday. It has been a strange mix of vacation and work, but the work also provides a kind of routine that does not usually impact a true vacation. More updates from the hospital to follow.