Paula Gilhooley….Kenya, Lake Bogoria and Samburu

Traveling from Hell’s Gate and Lake Nakuru the Rift Valley drops three thousand feet to Lake Bogoria at the foot of the Laikipia escarpment.  The lake at Bogoria is a soda lake that lies against the eastern wall of the Rif and is thickly wooded with huge Sycamore Fig trees.  Rob claims that we are about 43 km from Bogoria and chooses to take a back road again which he said will take about 4 hours and is more interesting than the

IMG_1080tarmac road.  The word road should never be used to describe the bumpy rock filled, rutty, red muddy water track we took to get to Bogoria, and four hours was closer to seven.  We didn’t get to our campsite until nearly 6pm and by then everyone, me in particular, was more than cranky, hot and tired.  We revived after a good dinner and a shower.

The original plans were for us to stay at Fig Tree Camp for only one night before going on to Samburu but we decided we needed an additional day to see the park and enjoy Fig Tree Camp, yet another camping spot that gave us the illusion that we were all by ourselves camping in the wilderness.

IMG_1079The whole area is surrounded by giant Sycamore Fig trees that form a canopy overhead so dense that it blocks out the sun,  In the evening Greater Kudu visit our campsite along with Waterbuck and a Leopard who passed through the campsite sometime during the night.  Alas we only saw the spoor leading away from the stream next to the camp going up into the forest.

The big attraction atLake Bogoria are its thermal steam jets and geysers along the western banks, (where we boiled eggs in one of the pools), and the flamingos that come to feast on the brine shrimp.  The day we were therIMG_1065e over 2.1 million greater and lesser flamingos were along the shores of the lake.

Unfortunately the last night at Fig Tree Camp is our last night with Jackson who will accompany another group back to the Mara and Olonana.  We will get a new guide Lumby who is Samburu and he will be our guide through Samburu Park which is our next destination.

We have an early departure from Bogoria as it is a 8-10 hour drive to Samburu across the desert.  Other than hot and dusty the trip was uneventful, only occasionally passing a few Pokot and Samburu peoples, until about 3:30 pm when we came across a group of Samburu children tending some cattle who wanted water.  We gave them our empty bottles filled with water from the jerry cans we carried with us on the truck.

About a half hour later we came across a family who had a broken an axel on their car the day before and was still stranded.  We gave them water and told them we would report their location to the authorities atArcher’s Post before going into Samburu Park.

Continuing again on this very straight and very narrow strip of tarmac that runs through the desert we come across a very bad accident.  A truck filled with bottles, food and way too many people had overturned in a tiny gully next to the road.  A number of people in the truck were sitting next to the road, some of them were badly hurt.  We managed to fit three of the most severely wounded into our truck and took them to the medical facility at Archer’s Post which was across from the entrance to Samburu Park.

At Archer’s Post we helped get the injured into the medical facility and report the accident to the police so that they could go back and help the rest of the people we left sitting next to the road.  We are having problems with our trailer again, so we are slow in getting across the rIMG_1066oad to the entrance to the park.  Unfortunately it was now dark and we were told that the park was closed and we could not enter to set up camp.  Rob convinced the guards at the gat to let us stay at the Samburu Serena Lodge, which is near to where our camp site will be, and let our crew set up their tents just inside the entrance gate until the next morning.

At 10 am Rob had again fixed the trailer and picked us up for a game drive where we saw Gernuk ( a very long necked gazelle), Gervy Zebra, Waterbuck and some interesting birds.

After our drive we go to our campsite which is next to the Ewaso-Nyiro River which is very shallow.  Directly  across the river from us some Samburu men come down to the water to bathe and wash their clothes on the rocks, when they see us a couple of them wade over to tale.

The entire area of Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Park is a semi-dry savanna with bright red soil that is dotted with fallen boulders, wadi and Acasia woodlands.  The camp site is lined with Doum palms and Acasia thorn bushes and trees making walking around rather tricky.a  But, again the site gives us the impression that we are the only ones there, there is no noise or evidence of other campers.

On our game drives in Samburu we wee Beisa Oryx, Reticulated Giraffe, Elephant, Cheetah and a Lion who has eaten so much he can hardly walk.  Back at camp we are entertained by a Vervet Monkey who plays hide and seek among the tents.

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