Two-and-a-half hours later the matatu pulls into a parking spot in Nakuru town. I step off, stretching, sling my backpack over my shoulders, and breath in non-Nairobi air. Nairobi and me, like Toronto and me, have a relationship rooted in love and ambivalence. I was born a city girl dreaming of the big country life. So every once and a while, I need to fill up my water bottle, grab my sunscreen, and hightail it out of the city.
Sunday Day Trip Destination – Nakuru National Park.
My friend and I noted the quaintness of Nakuru in comparison with Nairobi and then went to negotiate a rate with a taxi driver to take us into the national park.
Trying to pretend like I know what I’m talking about: “We want to drive around the lake of the national park. Ngapi?” (I feel like inserting some Kiswahili into the convo [in this case “How much?”] establishes I know what I’m talking about.)
Taxi: “You want to go into the park?”
Me: “Yes, and we want to see everything.” (No idea what everything means. Skimmed my guide book and was really just looking on some sort of day trip out of the city.)
Taxi: “You want to see the white rhinos, the black rhinos, Baboon Cliff, the flamingos, buffalo and the giraffes?”
Me: (Out loud) “Yes, I want to see everything.”
(Thinking: He knows exactly what he’s talking about! Yes, I want to see rhinos! I’ve never seen rhinos in the wild before! Yah, I want to go to Baboon Cliff?! No idea what it actually is, but sounds amazing!) We negotiate a rate we’re all happy with and are soon driving up to the park entrance.
We didn’t end up circling the entire lake, as there are more animals on one side so we drove back the same way to try and glimpse a black rhino and giraffes. However, it was HOT that afternoon and they were hanging out in the shade somewhere else.
But you know what we did see? Flamingos and other birds, zebras, impala who posed for pictures in stead of running into the bush, baboons galore, many a threatening looking buffalo, a gorgeous view of Lake Nukuru from a look out point (which turned out to be Baboon Cliff) and… white rhinos! A couple adults and a baby lounging in the shade of a tree, hanging out with their buffalo friends.
Impromptu out of town trip = success 🙂