The images of the herds of elephants and their adorable calves were still very fresh on our minds as we drove from Amboseli to Lake Naivasha, for the second leg of our trip in Kenya. We peered hard to get a final good sight of Mt.Kilimanjaro as we sped away, but Amboseli was unwilling to show us all she had on our very first trip there and kept this huge snow-capped volcano hidden from us behind a screen of haze and clouds. A little disheartened, we prepared ourselves for a very tedious drive along a rutted road that filled the entire van with a haze of dust for over an hour. We stopped at a local supermarket in Nairobi, on our way to the lake, and stocked ourselves with a lot of water bottles as the resorts sold bottles at an unbelievable rate that was five times the retail cost of a bottle!!
We entered the Great Rift Valley, one of the mind blowing natural wonders of the world, and got our first glimpse of the lake, shimmering blue and green in the sunlight as the rays bounced off the ripples. Lake Naivasha is named after the Maasai word Nai’posha which means rough water, due to the sudden storms that can arise. It is a gargantuan lake, stretching till the horizon with seemingly no end.We reached the shores of the lake and were quickly ushered into a small motor boat and I took the seat next to the boatman, David. He was an extremely knowledgeable person, who pointed out the myriad of birds on the stunted trees, most of them in their nesting stages- birds of various sizes and colours I had never seen before. As we turned a corner, we were accosted by a barrage of snorts and ripples that shook the boat. It was a family of hippos! Though we could not get a very clear view of them that day as they came out for a split second to inhale, exposing just their protuberant eyes and their nostrils before quickly ducking in again, it was exciting to see so many hippos up close and personal.
Having got an eyeful of whatever we could see of the hippos, we sped deep into the lake towards an island right in the middle- the island where one of the most famous movies based on Africa, Out of Africa starring Meryl Streep, was shot. After shooting the film, the officials decided to relocate the carnivores back to their original homelands, leaving the island a haven for the herbivores. Wildebeests, water bucks, giraffes, zebras, impalas and various gazelles can be seen grazing along, with not a care in the world, never having to worry about being eaten alive. Just as we were sitting there, almost in a trance as the boat bobbed up and down while the gazelles grazed a few feet away from us, David called for our attention and asked us to watch the fishing eagle sitting on a faraway tree. He picked up a dead fish that he had kept under his seat, and with his fingers in his mouth, gave two very shrill whistles which brought us rudely back to reality, and threw the fish as far as he could into the lake. As if on cue, the fishing eagle immediately soared high into the air, and with a neat swoop, caught the fish in its talons and flew back to its perch, where it had its meal in peace. We learnt that this was something done regularly for tourist attraction and were sceptical about its ramifications. But nevertheless, we got our shots and got to see the fishing eagle in action- well, almost!
As the sun set, the sky slowly turning purple, we sped back to the shore where we profusely thanked David for all that he had shown and taught us. A hot bath and a warm meal served as a fitting end to a wonderful day in communion with Mother Nature, and we snuggled into our soft beds, with the water bucks’ eyes twinkling green in the lights of the lamps in the garden, as they watched over us while we slept.