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Lake Nakuru National Park
lions, rhino, baboons

Lake Nakuru is a relatively small National Park (less than 200 km2) abutting onto settled areas, but our half-day there was one of the highlights of the trip. The central lake and some high points on the surrounding escarpment provide an attractive landscape, and there's a wealth of both large mammals, notably both species of rhinoceros, and birds, especially waterbirds.

pelicans cleaning their wings
Our lodge (the Lake Nakuru Flamingo Lodge) was just outside the park, so we managed to get there by about 7.30am. Approaching the lake, our first sight through the trees was of a mass of pelicans flapping vigorously to clean their wings — the lake is soda (alkaline), but where water flows in it is fresh enough for pelicans and other waterbirds. We then turned right and spent the morning doing a counter-clockwise loop around the lake.

We passed some waterbuck and then came across a group of lionesses in the grass not far to the right of the road — they were surprisingly hard to see given how close they were. There was a brief moment of suspense when the lions' heads all swiveled to face an approaching waterbuck that seemed unaware of their presence. But some baboons approaching from the other side of the road gave alarm calls and the waterbuck stopped.

Right in the middle of all this a black rhinoceros sauntered across the grass, within maybe five metres of the lions but either oblivious or unconcerned (a pride of lions would have to be starving and desperate before they'd try tackling an adult rhino), and then wandered across the road not far behind our vehicle.

lions in the grass, watching
a black rhinoceros wanders by
pausing to check out our vehicle

Moving on a little, we spent a while watching the baboon troop. They engage in a variety of behaviours — preening, carrying infants, squabbling, etc. — that make them interesting.

a sentinel in a tree
baboon mother carrying infant
baboons preening

a male impala
Kassim hadn't "checked out" properly when he was in Nakuru National Park three weeks earlier, so we had to go to the park headquarters to sort that out. (I guess he had to prove he hadn't been eaten by something!)

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