March 17, 2013

Snuck up upon

Someday, someone might tell you that sneaking up on wild animals is a bad idea.  But I'm here to tell you that's complete baloney.  First of all, wild animals can't be snuck up upon.  They know you're there, and if they want to be left alone they'll just saunter away.  Or run.  On water.  

Run away!  Run away!
But if you're still concerned, just remember that it's all about context.  That is, it's probably safer to try sneaking up on a giraffe than a mother lion with her cubs.  Also, its safer to sneak up on hippos in the water than hippos on land.  (Apparently they're less aggressive when buoyant.)  

The family that floats together stays together

So if you want to give it a try yourself (to get your prowl on, as it were), you can go to Crescent Island in Lake Naivasha.  According to my (unofficial) sources, Crescent Island was where parts of "Out of Africa" with Meryl Streep was filmed.  It's an official game park (US$25 entrance fee), but it doesn't have many of the country's fiercest predators.  That means that you can actually do a walking safari of the island without worrying that you're going to get mauled by a cheetah.     

At your own risk

The sign says go right for animals.  The guard says don't go right- there are buffalo!  Either way, animals to the right.  Where you go is up to you... walking safari!

Crescent Island, while not an island (it's actually a peninsula, jutting into Lake Naivasha), is indeed shaped like a crescent.  It's actually a submerged crater, so the top ridge is raised above the lake, giving partial views of the Rift Valley.  Size-wise, the island is quite small and is a very manageable walk, but it's a typical savannah landscape and there isn't much shade or tree-cover.  So it's adviseable to avoid the middle of the day and/or to bring a hat.  

Climbing the crescent

Hungry Giraffe

Wildebeests and Mt. Longonot

Stealthy mom in the wild

Since it's not a real island, there are two potential access points to the park.  You can either drive onto the peninsula where it meets the main land, or you can park across the lake and take a "boat safari" on your way, which I recommend.  There's just something about being on a boat, in the lake, gliding past hyacinths, hippos, water-bucks, and cape weaver birds, that is unbeatable.  

Lake Naivasha

Away we go

Because, as they say, it's mostly about the journey.  

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