Birds at Lake Nakuru
Storks, pelicans, and flamingos framed by a rainbow at Lake Nakuru

Pink flamingos
Sun. 3 Oct. 2004 - Nairobi to Lake Nakuru, Kenya

Not a running start — we were 15 minutes out from the Hotel Panafric in Nairobi, stocking up on beer and bottled water at a supermarket, when our guide did a head count. There were two more people on the truck than should have been there. After a quick roll call, our guide figured out that we had picked up a couple from Toronto who actually belonged on another truck. We returned them to the hotel, they caught their proper tour, and we continued on our way.

The drive gave us our first look at the Kenyan landscape. We stopped at an overlook for a panoramic view of the Great Rift Valley, though it was cloudy and didn't make a very good photo. Later, from the road, we saw Lake Nakuru ringed with a pink haze of flamingos. So many birds! We would get a closer look later in the day.

We pulled into Lake Nakuru National Park around 1:30, and, after a brief spat with some biting ants, we got ready for lunch. (This being a participatory trip, we all pitched in to prepare and clean up meals.) A cloudburst hit just as we were assembling our ham sandwiches, and we finished lunch in the truck.

Inside the truck.
Waiting out the rain inside the vehicle

The truck is a Swiss army knife. Various compartments open to reveal a cooking stove, a folding table, all our camping gear, tools, and so on. Charcoal and firewood get strapped to the back, underneath two huge spare tires. Seats are arranged like benches, and under every seat is a gear locker for our personal belongings. Sleeping bags, shoes, and day packs get stowed overhead. A translucent fiberglass roof shelters us from the rain but still lets in light. There's a roof seat above the cab, accessible by ladder. The windows are usually open to the air, but clear plastic tarps can roll down over the sides to protect us from rain and cold.

Outside the truck.
Our beloved truck, shortly after arriving in camp

After lunch we went on our first game drive. Our guides drove the truck through a marshy area next to the lake. We saw thousands of flamingos (2 species), marabou storks, fish eagles, and other birds. Also cape buffalo, white rhinoceroses, warthogs, waterbuck, zebras and giraffes. As we rounded the lake, a brilliant rainbow arched over the water, like a footprint of the recently passed thunderstorm. Each time it seemed as if it could get no more vivid, it did.

Outside the truck.
Cape buffalo, with flamingos, a rainbow and Lake Nakuru in the background

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