During our safari we were able to experience four of Kenya's more well known game parks: Maasai Mara, Lake Nakuru, Amboseli and Tsavo West. Each was very different from the others, and even within a single park, there were significant differences in the landscape, flora and fauna. Each was special in its own way and worthy of a visit irrespective of time spent at any of the other parks.
Lake Nakuru and Tsavo West were the other two game parks that we visited during our Kenyan safari. For me, both were a disappointment, largely due to issues with our tour operator.
Lake Nakuru National Park is known for their resident pink flamingos. If you've seen the movie "Out of Africa" you may recall the scene where Denis Finch Hatton is flying over the lake with Karen Blixen, as the sea of pink is beneath them. That was filmed at Lake Nakuru.
Today, there are not nearly that many birds living at the lake and those that are there are too far away to really get decent photographs. Our driver had to drive "off road" to get even remotely close, and even then, my photos were rather poor. In addition to the pink flamingo, we also saw pink backed pelicans which were more plentiful and accessible for photos.
Lake Nakuru is also known for two other residents, unique to this park: the while rhinoceros (which is actually more grey than white) and the Rothschild Giraffe, a subspecies that is endangered and quite rare. We did see both during our visit, both near dusk and at a bit of distance from the road.
Another sighting that we had was a female lion that had just killed a cape buffalo. When we approached her, she was just a few yards from the road and resting after the exertion of the hunt and kill.
Due to a scheduling error by our tour company, we only had one game drive at Lake Nakuru and that was late on the afternoon of our arrival. Given this is a dense forest area; little daylight was making its way to the area where animals were sighted. This contributed to very poor conditions for photography hence my disappointment here.
After our time in Tanzania, our safari adventure returned to Kenya for the final night at Tsavo West National Park. Yet another scheduling problem led to frustrating circumstances within our group which necessitated a scramble to fix the problem with our final day in Kenya. The end result was eliminating the game drive on Saturday morning which was essentially the only real opportunity for wildlife viewing in this park. Sure the evening before two of us ventured out with our driver for a couple of hours, but given the vastness of this park, we were only able to get about 45 minutes away from camp before having to head back . . . and on the very same road taken out of camp.
We did see several giraffes on this little drive, but beyond that, it was really a waste of effort. This was most unfortunate, in my opinion, given all that is to be seen in Tsavo West.
As I said, we cut the game drive out of the Saturday morning schedule out of deference to the others traveling in my group given their exhaustion and frustration with the driving and road conditions. Therefore, the Saturday "drive" was limited to getting out of the park, with a side trip to the Mzima Springs that was on the way out. This cut our drive time from approximately five hours to just two and a half, and again, really just on the main road "out" of the park.
Tsavo West National Park is one of the locations where poaching is prevalent with orphans often being taken to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. During our limited time in the park, we never saw any elephants, so I know we didn't get very far into the park in terms of viewing time. Tsavo is also known for their "man-eating lions" back during the building of the rail between Nairobi and Mombasa. We didn't see any of them either.