Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A long weekend in Kenya

Happy Thanksgiving from Kenya!  

I was able to take a long weekend to visit some beautiful sites to the northwest of Nairobi and want to share some photos - sorry about the poor quality; all are from my phone's camera.  
Excited to bring a real camera on subsequent trips!

A little map of the key locations for this post; all highly recommended! Total drive time between Nairobi and the top left, Crescent Island (just outside Naivasha Town) is about 3 hours.

We first took a self-guided hike around Crescent Island Game Park, a peninsula into Lake Naivasha. Only very dangerous animal here is the hippo, so we stayed away from the water’s edge. All of the other animals kept their distance.

Adventure buddies, with a giraffe neck between us in the distance.

I like the silhouette of the impala on the horizon; like so many things, better in real life!

We might have found our first home; it's a real fixer-upper!

Some waterbuck with their shaggy manes.

Sometimes the animals don’t even notice you’re nearby – this was on our way out of Crescent Island from our jeep.

I love this guy.

After Crescent Island we did some camping in Hell’s Gate National Park where there are many warthogs, zebra, and some baboons.

The warthogs are usually found in twos and threes, and usually leaning on their front elbows rooting around for interesting things in the ground.

We did a short hike into the gorge; there are plenty of seeping rock walls with geothermally heated water coming out. Great formations!

Grooming time, all the time.

Beautiful wild animals!

Easiest, most delicious camping dinner:
Sachels of diced potato, onion, bell pepper, cheese, butter, and spices, wrapped in foil;
40 mins over a fire or in the coals.

Massive cliff wall, allegedly inspired portions of the Lion King movie by Disney. Great climbing available and done here.

Next day excursion to Brown’s Cheese farm – make reservations in advance. Browns makes 17 kinds of cheese, and will start exporting to the USA soon!

Taking a tour of the factory; the fresh cheeses go from cow to store shelf in 2-3 days, aged cheeses obviously take longer.

Final stop on the trip was a day hike at Mt Longonot, a volcano that was last active about 150 years ago, and steam vents dot the perimeter. The hike up, around the rim, and back down is about 13 km; about 5 hours.

The view inside the crater, about 2 km across. Allegedly some animals live in the crater, though we could see none, only evidence (droppings) on the rim and trails outward facing.

Much of the rim is hiked within a deep channel, usually just about a foot deep for your feet to walk in, but sometimes eroded so far that the walls are over your head! Generally very well protected/not exposed to wind, etc.

It ended up turning stormy at the end of our hike, most of the way around the crater rim, but we still had a blast! 
(Sorry for the vertical video!)

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