Hippos & Giraffes and a visit to the “Born Free” House – Lake Naivasha, Kenya

Descent into the Great Rift Valley and a stay at Lake Naivasha

Another guest blog by Holly Melton

January 14 & 15th. Anticipation was high as we drove out from Nairobi and into the Great Rift Valley. We drove to an overlook and stopped briefly to take pictures and look through the curio shops on the side of the road.

So interesting to drive through small towns and the countryside. (Photo of the Great Rift Valley in Kenya from the overlook.)

Great little camp ground on the side of Lake Naivasha, Fisheagle camp. We had it all to ourselves.

Now for our first “safari” The morning of the 15th we all loaded into a matush and taken to a boat landing for a boat tour of the lake, before going for a walking safari on a private nature sanctuary. Hippo’s were our main goal on the boat tour – and we were successful!

Acacia trees, the favorite food of Giraffes at the edge of Lake Naivasha:


The walking tour with our guide, Marcus, was fabulous. The Green Crater area (crater caused by a volcano in the distant past) has a series of national parks and private animal sanctuaries that extend contiguously for miles, forming a long corridor that allows animals to be protected, but move freely between these various entities. We are here in the last few months of the dry season and the land is dry. Because of the lack of water and food to the south, this area has a particularly high number of animals at the moment. As they have more water and food. In fact they are in danger of their land becoming overgrazed.

Cape Buffalo:

On this one day we saw: Masai giraffe, Reticulated giraffe, Rothechild giraffe, Hippopotamus,
Cape Buffullo, Burchel, Zebra, Gazelle, Impala, Pelican, Comorants, Yellow Billed Stork, Saddle Billed Storks, Fish Eagle, Marabo Stork, Gray Heron, Little Egret, Ringneck dove, Superb Starlings, Speckled mouse bird, giant eland, Thompson gazelle, Oxpeckers, Waterbuck, and Colubus Monkeys.

We had had such close encounters with so many animals. For those of you who don’t have the luxury of time or don’t like to be away from home for long, I now believe you could come to one of the African countries for a short time, go on Safari, and be completely satisfied with your experience. I know there is much more ahead, but this was a great way to start.

When we went back to camp for a swim in the pool to cool down, I think we all felt like the trip could end here and we would be satisfied.

But there was more to come. Lake Naivasha is the home to “Elsamere”, the home of Born Free author, Joy Adamson and her lion, Elsa. We watched a movie on Joy and George Adamson’s life. Then had high tea in the garden of her home. Some giraffes showed up on the property at the far end of the garden and Reuben left his plate of goodies on the table to walk over to see them. While the rest of us were sitting right there, a Colubus monkey came down a tree and across the lawn at full speed, snatched 2 cookies off the plate and ran back up the tree. It proceeded to enjoy its treat with all of us teasing Reuben about not complying with the “Don’t feed wild animals” rule. (The cookie thief is pictured below enjoying his ill-gotten goods.)

The back garden of the Adamson home:

The boat landing at the lakeshore of the Adamson home. Notice that the boat dock is surrounded by plants. We had the same (although thicker) cover of plants on the lakeshore at our campsite. These plants float on the water and move along with prevailing winds. We were told that just a few days before we arrived, there were no plants on this side of the lake and as we were there, we saw them start to move away in clumps.





3 replies

  1. how were you able to get out of your landrover and walk with the giraffes at the lake? We were not allowed out. I assume this will change as you get to Ngorongoro and Serengeti. You never know where lions will be lurking.

    • We walked in a private game reserve as a group with the Head Game Warden leading us. We weren’t allowed to stray too far from the group. Also, I don’t think there were lions in this area. You’re right that when we drove through the Serengeti and other National Parks in Kenya and Tanzania, we were told not to get out of our Defenders except at designated pick-nick spots.
      Glad you are following the blog. We enjoyed your video of Africa so much.

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