Me enjoying the view.
After spending a month or so exploring the city of Nairobi, I was starting to get a bit anxious to see more of Kenya. Thus, Sam and I decided to venture outside of the city limits and head to Naivasha and spend a few days camping.
Lake Naivasha, Mount Longonot, and Hell's Gate are only about 20-30 minutes away from each other and was a perfect spot for me to get a little more accustomed to what I considered to be a stereotypical view of Africa. Being from a Western country, I had this view of what we would consider "zoo animals" running around the outskirts of the city and for the first time in my life, that's really what I saw. Driving through America can get boring at times (I'm looking at you Kansas) and Kenya was just the opposite. There were giraffes and zebras and all kinds of "zoo animals" unfenced on the side of the road. It was unbelieveable.
We pitched our tent at the edge of Lake Naivasha and began to cook up some dinner just as the sun was setting and got a nice little fire going. Just as it started to get really
dark, we heard a rather loud noise coming from the edge of the lake. Sure enough, there was a huge hippo not 30 feet from our tent! But knowing that hippos kill more people in Africa then any other animal, we knew we had to keep our distance. So of course, we tried to climb the fence. Sam had no problem clearing the fence, but I (being the long-legged person I am) had to climb, and didn't figure out the fence was electric till I touched it, twice. So I watched from a distance.
The next day we decided to climb Mount Longonot, which is the site of a huge volcano that blew up and has now formed a crater with a forest inside, which now houses many animal species indigenous to that crater alone. Being the 'mzungu' that I am, I refused to pay the high entrance fee, and Sam and I decided to climb the mountain off the path. No problem, right? Wrong. That last little bit right before you get to the top is the absolute worst
, and it was all loose volcanic rock. But once we got to the top, it was truly amazing. The
view was spectacular and I could see Lake Naivasha, the crater (duh), and the start if the Rift Valley. The climb down was a bit shaky too, but at the end of the day, it was so worth it.
The final day, after we had breakfast (which the monkeys stole) we headed to Hell's Gate, which is a National Park that has no predatory animals whatsoever. Which mean there are all kinds of "zoo animals" just wandering around the park. Zebras, impalas, warthogs, gazelle, and all kinds of animals are literally unfenced in a huge open area. I could walk up to any animal I wanted (if I could get close) and no one would stop me or even see me. It was by far the best park I have ever been to in my entire life. San Diego Zoo doesn't stand a chance.
We also hiked through the gorge that houses many hot springs and extremely fertile soils. it was similar to some of the landscapes that I have seen out in the Western US, but the layering of the sandstone was unreal. It's amazing to see how drastically the water height changes throughout the year during
the dry and wet seasons. It really brings out some unique forms of the rock and the colors were fantastic when the sun began to set. It really was a sight to see.
On the drive back I admired the views and again realized that there was so much landscape diversity in such a small country. It was a great few days away from the city but I was ready to head back, because it was almost time for my next trip. One that would take me to the coast.
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