Monday, March 24, 2014

Lake Nakuru

Words and images Albie Venter

This small little park on the outskirts of Nakuru town in Kenya’s rift valley never fails to surprise me. Probably not the wildest place in the world as one can see the outlying developed areas from most places in the park it certainly punches way above its weight in terms of photographic opportunities. One of the most remarkable phenomena is the incredible rise of the water levels. There are a few explanations for it but it is possibly resulting from increased freshwater inflow into the lake due to high rainfall. This results in lowering the salinity of the water, which in turn reduces the “salt flats” which then degrades the area as a feeding spot for the myriad flamingoes and other waders. Currently the lake shore has reached the entrance gate, submerging all the original offices and the rising water levels have drowned hundreds (thousands?) of mature Fever Trees along the lake edge. The lack of numbers of waders notwithstanding, this easily accessible park still features highly on photographers hit list.
One cannot really ask for more. A scene out of a Kipling fable. A beautiful female leopard high up in a Fever tree forest. 
The enchanting Fever Tree Forests combined with the frequent early morning mist creates stunning photographic opportunities, reason enough to visit this Park.

Again the mist is the deciding factor. Here a white rhino feeds on the "floodplains" next to the lake while a flock of waders pass overhead.
However to see the big cats within such close proximity to built up areas is truly a testimony to the conservation success and tolerance of neighboring communities. During our recent travels we saw several lion prides, Leopard, the most memorable of which was perched regally in a golden Fever Tree Forest as well as a remarkable sighting of a Striped Hyena.

Birds never disappoint and in addition to a new lifer for me in the form of European Shoveller, I also saw a spectacular and always special Narina Trogon.

Even though we were not really even looking for the big cats, we caught up with several prides of lions.

No comments: