Kenyan Lodge Safari Holiday: Lake Nakuru & Masai Mara
CSS 405: MASAI MARA | LAKE NAKURU SAFARI
Departs daily at 07:30am.
Day 1. Nairobi - Masai Mara
Distance: 275 kms (5~6 hrs). Pick up from your hotel at 7.30am. Drive into the Masai Mara with its amazing concentration of wildlife and outstanding scenery. Lunch. Afternoon game drive. Overnight at Mara Sopa Lodge, L,D.
Day 2. Maasai Mara safari tour
Morning and afternoon game drives in the finest game sanctuary in Kenya, noted for its lions and other wildlife. Dinner and overnight rest at Mara Sopa Lodge, B, L,D.
-Visit to a local Maasai village for a Maasai cultural tour: US$ 25 per person
-Hot air balloon ride: US$ 450 per person
Day 3. Masai Mara - Lake Nakuru safari holiday
Drive through the Rift Valley to Lake Nakuru, a shallow alkaline lake in the Rift Valley, renowned for its spectacular flamingo population as one of the world's greatest ornithological spectacles. Although Lake Nakuru is primarily a bird sanctuary, animals such as zebras, gazelles, Rothschild giraffe, impala, rhino (sanctuary) among other large mammals. Dinner and overnight at Lake Nakuru Lodge, B,L,D.
Day 4. Lake Nakuru - Nairobi
Morning game viewing, watching and photographing birds at Nakuru National Park. After breakfast, drive back to Nairobi with an en route stop for panoramic views of the Great Rift Valley at the view point to arrive Nairobi at about 3pm. (Optional lunch at the Carnivore Restaurant: US$ 45 per person), B
Tour price: US$ 1150 per person sharing. Single room supplement: US$ 198
Tour cost includes:
-Guarantee price; Guarantee departure
-Ground transport in a safari van with pop up roof for game viewing, photography and touring
-Full board accommodation whilst on safari
-Meal plan as described, B=Breakfast, L=Lunch and D=Dinner
-Accommodation in double/twin/triple room sharing
-All park entrance fees to include government taxes
-Service of an English speaking professional driver/guide
-Game drives as detailed in the itinerary
-Start and end in Nairobi
Tour price excludes:
-Items of a personal nature
-Optional activities and any other extras not detailed in the above itinerary
LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK:
Lake Nakuru is one of the Rift Valley soda lakes. It lies to the south of Nakuru, in central Kenya and is protected by a small Lake Nakuru National Park. Greater and Lesser Flamingos flock to the lake. The lake's abundance of algae attracts the vast quantity of flamingos that famously lines the shore.
Other birds also flourish in the area, as do warthogs, baboons and other large mammals. Black and White rhinos have also been introduced. The lake's level dropped dramatically in the early 1990s but has since largely recovered.
Nakuru means "Dust or Dusty Place" in Maasai language. Lake Nakuru National Park, close to Nakuru town, was established in 1961. It started off small, only encompassing the famous lake and the surrounding mountainous vicinity. Now it has been extended to include a large part of the savannahs.
Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru National Park (168 km²), created in 1961 around Lake Nakuru, near Nakuru Town. It is best known for its thousands, sometimes millions of flamingos nesting along the shores. The surface of the shallow lake is often hardly recognizable due to the continually shifting mass of pink. The number of flamingoes on the lake varies with water and food conditions and the best vantage point is from Baboon Cliff. Also of interest is an area of 188 km around the lake fenced off as a sanctuary to protect Rothschild giraffes and black rhinos.
The park has recently been enlarged partly to provide the sanctuary for the black rhino. This undertaking has necessitated a fence - to keep out poachers rather than to restrict the movement of wildlife. The park now has more than 25 rhinos, one of the largest concentrations in the country, so the chances of spotting these survivors are good. There are also a number of Rothschild's giraffe, again translocated for safety from western Kenya beginning in 1977. Waterbuck are very common and both the Kenyan species are found here. Among the predators are lion and leopard, the latter being seen much more frequently in recent times. The park also has large sized pythons that inhabit the dense woodlands, and can often be seen crossing the roads or dangling from trees.
Habitat and Wildlife
Lake Nakuru, a small (it varies from 5 to 45 square kilometers) shallow alkaline lake on the southern edge of the town of Nakuru lies about 160 kilometers north of Nairobi. It can therefore be visited in a day tour from the capital or more likely as part of a circuit taking in the Masai Mara or Lake Baringo and east to Samburu. The lake is world famous as the location of the greatest bird spectacle on earth - myriads of fuchsia pink flamingos whose numbers are legion, often more than a million - or even two million. They feed on the abundant algae, which thrives in the warm waters. Scientists reckon that the flamingo population at Nakuru consumes about 250,000 kilos of algae per hectare of surface area per year. There are two types of flamingo species: the Lesser flamingo can be distinguished by its deep red carmine bill and pink plumage unlike the greater, which has a bill with a black tip. The Lesser flamingos are ones that are commonly pictured in documentaries mainly because they are large in number. The number of Flamingos has been decreasing recently, perhaps due to too much tourism, pollution resulting from industries waterworks nearby who dump waste into the waters or simply because of changes in water quality which makes the lake temporarily inhospitable.
Usually, the lake recedes during the dry season and floods during the wet season. In recent years, there have been wide variations between the dry and wet seasons' water levels. It's suspected that this is caused by increasing watershed land conversion to intensive crop production and urbanization, both which reduce the capacity of soils to absorb water, recharge groundwaters and thus increase seasonal flooding. Pollution and drought destroy the flamingos' food, Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, and causing them to migrate to the nearby Lakes, more recently lakes Elmenteita, Simbi Nyaima and Bogoria. Local climate changes have also been hypothesized to contribute to the changing environmental conditions in the lakes catchment. Recent media reports indicate increasing concern among stakeholders, as mass flamingo migrations and deaths could spell doom to the tourism industry. The flamingos feed on algae, created from their droppings mixing in the warm alkaline waters, and plankton. But flamingo are not the only avian attraction, also present are two large fish eating birds, pelicans and cormorants. Despite the tepid and alkaline waters, a diminutive fish, Tilapia grahami has flourished after being introduced in the early 1960s. The lake is rich in other birdlife. There are over 400 resident species on the lake and in the surrounding park. Thousands of both little grebes and white winged black terns are frequently seen as are stilts, avocets, ducks, and in the European winter the migrant waders. Also they have a bunch of Zebra.
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Kenya Wildlife Safari: Wildebeest Migration: Lake Nakuru & Masai Mara
"The seventh greatest wonder in the world". It is now officially known through out the world. Many have come back time and again. They have witnessed this mass movement of wild animals roaming free through unspoiled and savage wilderness. The air fills with the click- click of the cameras tirelessly. You have not seen something like this before.
Africa is changing at a quick pace and human encroachment into the wildlife reserves has continued to erase the traditional routes. In association with development and changes of the way of life, the image of wildlife roaming free is slowly getting erased. Fortunately, Masai Mara National reserve holds on to its charisma of an open, limitless land. It is one of the places in Africa that still prides in wildlife concentration.
Masai Mara is located in the South-western of Kenya, 290 kilometers from Nairobi. The abundance of wildlife and the remoteness of the reserve implants memories that no money can buy. The Migration is a recent phenomenon (60's and 70's was the biggest boom) with about 250,000 individuals. Gradually, with time the number has risen to the current population of over 3,000,000 individuals. Add to it an estimated 1,500,000 Zebras and the result is one of the most magnificent scenes in the world. The massive display attracts hundreds of big cats as the populations provide abundant prey. The giant African crocodiles lie in wait, patiently, as the big herds come to cross the river or to drink. It is the Maasai community who are not so pleased with the whole phenomenon. The wildebeests compete with their huge herds of boran cattle for the grasslands. To them, it is a big calamity especially because the wildebeests transmit diseases to their herds and poison the waters with their fetal sacs.
This world famous migration is a circle of life which, in simple terms, means that there isn't a start or an end. Only where the herds are located at a particular time. The big determinant is the availability of pastures. The plains of Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Serengeti are a favored spot as grass abounds and the wildebeest find a safe place to graze. It is also here that over 500,000 new calves are born and many are taken by the nearby waiting Jackals or Hyenas. New born calves have little time to strengthen their legs. As soon after birth, the â€œpilgrim" continues. By April, the rains are over in southern Serengeti and the plains have dried up. The great herds then gather and face the long march northwards and westwards. The natural lawn mowers abandon the exhausted grasslands of southern Serengeti to head for the already tall grass of the Western corridor, near the shores of Lake Victoria.
The pioneers of the migration movement are the majestic herds of zebras. They prefer the long stems of the coarse grass. This way, they leave behind shorter grass which is favored by the wildebeests. In late June to July the mass start pouring into the Kenya Masai Mara reserve where fresh, tender and mineral-rich grass is already waiting. Here they meet the resident Mara populations which add up to about 150,000. Also commonly referred to as the Loita plains herds, they spend most of the season northeast of the Mara. When it gets dry, they pour into the interior of the Mara in search of greener pastures.
The migrating herds spend roughly 3 to 31/2 months in the Mara crossing through Sand River, which is a tributary of the Mara along the boundary of Kenya and Tanzania. They trek westwards and cross the Mara river and sometimes the Talek river. Usually around this time heavy rains on the Mau Escarpment (origin of Mara River) fill the Mara river to the brim. This is a good time to watch the trunk-looking Crocodiles, while they await the forthcoming feast.
Finally, the gnus (wildebeests) venture into the river. This gregarious coordinated behavior of the herds, usually teamed with zebras, creates an unimaginable scene. Just what the cameras have been waiting for.
They wander along the river looking for a convenient crossing point. This is a moment filled with tension for both the gnus (wildebeests) and the audience. They survey for a less steep and with no obvious danger. Finally, one takes courage and plunges into the river and magically the rest falls onto the footsteps and in one organized line cross the river.
In addition to the crocodiles, accidents also occur. The river's current can be too strong for some especially the young ones. Or simply getting stuck between the rocks in the river and breaking limbs, a direct ticket to the jaws of the giant crocodiles. Finally, the crossing is done and the trek to their unknown (or known)
In the month of October, they are already heading to Serengeti where the rains have treated the southern grasslands to lush, green carpet of rich grass. Once again, they are heading to the southern plains, where a new generation will be born to start the cycle of life all over again. Maasai Mara Safari Masai Mara road safaris lodge tours Masai Mara wildlife safaris Masai Mara Kenya.