Friday, 28 November 2014

Destination Great Rift Valley

The one Sunday we had during the visit did not allow us to visit Masai Mara but the trip to Lake Nakuru more than made up for it. I have always associated Africa with a lone tree standing majestically in never ending expanse of openness. My excitement on the possibility of seeing such a tree was limitless.We started the drive from Nairobi early morning and slowly started leaving the buildings behind. The buildings were slowly and steadily replaced with species of trees I was seeing for the first time. Maybe it was that lonesome tree in my dreams, but the changing landscape was something I had never experience before. Yes! I was in Africa!

We were told by our driver cum guide that we had to drive through the Great Rift Valley to reach Lake Nakuru National park. I was clueless what it was till the plains showed itself through Acacia trees. The breath taking expanse of nothingness is broken only by the escarpments. We were told it contains multitude lakes, active and dormant  volcanoes. It runs all the way from Israel to Mozambique and is about 9600 kms.The first stop over was at the Great rift valley view point past Limuru town along Nairobi-Naivasha highway and on top of escarpment of the valley.

As one steps out of the comfort of the vehicle, the never ending plains sweeps in front of you. The kedong valley bed was the first glimpse of the archetypical landscape associated with Africa. The chill one experiences at  2140 m/7000 ft altitude gives way to disbelief at the vastness of the valley. A sweeping view with the horizon silver lining it is just breath taking.

After the stop over, we continued our journey and started descending to the bed of the gorge. What laid before us was a linear highway with 360 degree view lined with horizon. I would rate it as one of the most scenic drives. We were greeted by lakes at a distance like Lake Naivasha, Lake Elementaita, the most incredible looking candelabra trees, the yellow fever trees Acacia, extinct volcanoes like Mount Longonot.

The dramatic landscape was made even grander when  black and white strips at a distance caught my eyes. Was is it zebras? Nah....or so I thought. And then like a open Pandora box, we started coming across herds and herds of zebras along the highway. I was dying to observe them closely but our driver mentioned that more will be waiting for us at Lake Nakuru National park.I now can empathizes with the reaction of a visitor who comes across our livestock as well as the disinterest from the Kenyan driver. Lake Nakuru , here we come!

Date : November 2014
Place : Nairobi, Kenya

Tip : Pack munchies as highway is not on a plate.
First : Zebras along Highway
The travel connection : There is no limit to how much you'll know depending how far beyond ZEBRA you go- Dr. Seuss

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