Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Monday we decided to take a little safari (journey)for two hours or so from our house to Lake Beringa and Lake Bogoria. It was very refreshing. Staying in a dark house in the city can, in the words of John Denver’s song “Fly Away” can … “make you hungry for things that you can’t even see”. We were hungry for the wonders of nature and the refreshment they always seem to bring us. So after a couple of hours of driving on some of the bumpiest roads on earth, we arrived at Lake Beringa and prepared to embark for another 2 hours in small boat on this beautiful African lake.
Our guide took us around the banks of this beautiful lake while pointing out all the many beautiful birds that live on the lake. Here are just a few.
Shortly after our trip through the water grass we encountered the first of the two families of Hippos we would meet that live on the shores of Lake Biringa. I was amazed at how laid back the laundry lady was in the back of the picture knowing that hippos are the most dangerous animals in Africa. I guess you can get used to anything, I mean after all, we live by Gary’s dogs. More people in Africa are killed by hippos than lions. Another point for Judah.
As the grass began to thin out we came upon some local fishermen. As soon as the saw us they came paddling over to show us their catch and try their luck with talking us out of a few shillings. This is entirely ok, as most of the local people believe that all Mozungus are walking ATM machines. We gave them 50 shillings to split between the three of them. They smiled and paddled off. The two main eating fish in Lake Beringa are Tilapia and Catfish.
Leaving the grasslands where most of the birds hang out, we then hugged the bolder strewn shoreline. There crouched between the huge rocks and barely visible to the undiscerning eye was a monitor lizard. It was amazing how he blended in with the rocks. Now that attribute serves him well in hunting and comes in real handy when he himself is being hunted by the locals who would love to have him over for dinner.
Soon the small boat turned toward a small but beautiful island which we were told was owned by only one family. We were also informed by our smiling guide that the person who owns the island has five wives and twenty-six children. Wow! I would imagine that his household keeps him pretty busy. Yet, probably not as busy as a Rose Creek Village mom. Unlike our children there would be little problem finding his children unless they had become excellent swimmers.
The island was enchantingly awesome. It seemed to be almost a solid rock and the flora growing there provided good examples of showing how “life will find a way” where it seems there is no way to exist. There were Aloevera everywhere and other plants that were amazingly skilled at thriving on a lot of nothing. The prettiest of the smaller trees was called the African Rose Tree. As you can see we liked it a lot. George decided he would try and imitate the tree… but it didn’t work.
We found some little bleached bodies of some sort of crawling insects so I decided to investigate. The first rock I turned over I found these cool little millipedes. I let them crawl on me, much to Chloe’s disgust and then pretended to eat one. Chloe rolled her eyes, made the funniest of little sounds and walked hurriedly away.
Soon we were back in the boat headed back to the other side of the lake. We then came into the shallow part of the lake and met the other hippo family. They stared at us while we stared at them and then they began to get a little excited and started grunting very loudly. We took the hint and continued heading back to the van.
Before we arrived our guide stopped the boat and pulling out some dead fish “called” some crocks to lunch. It was fun watching them eat… something else other than us I mean.
He then tried to “call” some Fish eagles to come and dine on some fish he was waving in the air above his head, but alas too many other tourist boats had already been there and Mr. Fish eagle was full.
When we returned to shore we all loaded up in the Van and headed toward Lake Bogoria. Unlike Beringa Lake Bogoria is completely saline (salty) and perfect for the gazillion flamingos that live there. It is also where the “Hot Springs” are. After a short visit to the springs we headed home or at least we thought that’s what we intended.
No sooner than we pointed the van towards home we discovered we had a flat tire. No problem; this time we have a spare. We fixed it and headed out again in the direction of home. Half way down the road there started this obnoxious noise under my seat. Upon investigation it was discovered that the shock mount had broke from the too numerous to count pot holes we hit. So we looked for someone with a welder and pulled in to have it fixed. While we were there George took his seat out and had it welded too. I think he welded the battery cover as well. We were there for well over an hour with at least 4 different people working on it and all for a shocking 400 shillings ($4.47). Meanwhile we played with the local kids. Soon the van was fixed and we were on our way back to Nakuru.
When we finally made it home we discovered the electric was off so we got ready for bed by flashlight and candles. That night we went to bed exhausted but happy and refreshed from our safari. Such is life in Africa.