Hippo Crossing

We were warned that hippos graze the entire grounds at night. Those in tents are further admonished not to keep food in the tent as hippos will eat the tent to get to the food. These are not comforting thoughts when you have to use the facilities in the middle of the night with the aid of a flashlight. I was awakened a number of times during the night by the grunts, snorts, and groans of hippos very near by. You are supposed to be very careful with the flashlight, not to scare the hippo. Hell, no one cares that if you suddenly flash on a hippo, it is you who should be scared. Every time I heard hippos close by outside, I would wake Ron, but the noises would suddenly stop. This went on about four times before I thought I may have been dreaming the whole thing. The fifth time was the charm. I heard the sounds, Ron woke up and he heard them too. My sanity is intact: at least over hippo sounds.

Bird choruses start up by 6am. There are dozens of different songs and melodies competing with each other like a superstar competition. By 8am, we were showered and ready for breakfast. We have to share the shower/WC with two other huts, but thankfully, they were empty. Using our toast, we fed the birds and had quite a show. Some many varieties vying for the nibbles. The African Hornbills travel in pairs and sometimes feed each other.

Joseph was here at 10am to take us to a boat ride. It was an extra 6,000 shillings (60 euros) for both of us for one hour, but they really tried to push the 2 and 3 hour rides. We went in a motor boat with a guide who pointed out different bird species in the lakefront area. We saw a number of crocodiles and then came across our family of hippos. At one point they were grazing on an artificial island. Due to the drought, the conservation people have been feeding them bales of hay. As we approached, they started heading to the water. I needed assurances that hippo have never overturned a boat. When we were coming up from the launch, all of this rocky area and what do I go and do? I stepped on a small tree branch with a spiky part coming up out of it. It pierced the bottom of my Crocs sandal and right into the bottom of my foot. Happily, I had the antibiotic waterless soap in my bag, so washed with that immediately. It is a good thing we did have our tetanus shots renewed before we left.

Back at the camp, we had until 2pm to get lunch and rest if we wanted before Joseph was going to take us to Lake Bogoria, where thousands of flamingos eat and live in the salt water lake. This area is also known for its hot springs. I had the feeling that this was going to be another wasted flamingo experience. As we were driving close to the lake, you could see pink pebbles atop a blue slate. I had adjusted my attitude to this being as good as it gets. When we drove into the viewing area, Joseph told us to take as much time as we wanted. We wanted to the water’s edge overwhelmed with the sight of the flamingos. They were so close, not as pink as expected, but lovely nevertheless. When they get spooked, they flap their wings and skitter across the water’s surface like a plane on a runway. Their under wings are black with a red  stripe. They make quite an impressive site. When they swim, you could easily confuse them with swans.

Ron had asked Joseph how hot the geyser water was. He had designs on taking a dip in the hot springs. Joseph said you could cook an egg in 3 minutes. Ron changed his mind. We drove back to the campground and it was all read and relax until tomorrow. There is nothing else to do here. 

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