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Visiting Lake Nakuru National Park Safari – Photo Essay

Visiting Lake Nakuru National Park for a Game safari is one of the best things you can do in Kenya. Especially if you want to see 4 of the “Big 5”.

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Young Male Lion Lake Nakuru Kenya

The first glimmers of sunlight slowly spread across the sky to the East as our 4WD Safari Van pulled into Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya. Various shades of pink, orange, purple and blue began to break into blue as the sun rose above the reflections of Lake Nakuru.

Lake Nakuru National Park Sunrise

Lake Nakuru National Park Sunrise

On only the second day of my Oasis Overland 75 Day tour from Nairobi to Cape Town the excitement levels were high.

Especially since Lake Nakuru National Park contains some of the best wildlife spotting opportunities in Africa with 4 of the “Big 5” on offer. The only one missing is the almighty Elephant. And within seconds I was ticking them off the list.

Only 100m through the gates entrance we parked next to two gargantuan Water Buffalo 10m away in the grass. Exiled from their herd for becoming too old they were left to roam the Game Park by themselves without companions for their final years.

Water Buffalo in Lake Nakuru Game Park

Water Buffalo Lake Nakuru Game Park

Perhaps the closeness of the entrance provided them with a sense of protection from the predators wandering the grassy plains.

As we continued along the narrow winding road beneath the blanketing Acacia tree forest the chatter of Baboons was the only sound breaking the silence above our vans engine.

Lake Nakuru Game Park Baboons

Lake Nakuru Game Park Baboons

They are quick to realise that Safari vehicles mean food and all the view points over Lake Nakuru National Park are infested with Baboons trying to climb through open windows after a tasty snack. Unsuspecting tourists are jumped upon and pieces of fruit snatched from their hands.

Nasty, nasty animals.

Baboon Lake Nakuru National Park

Baboon in Lake Nakuru National Park

Just as common as the Baboons are the Zebras.

In their distinctive black and white stripes they graze across the grass amongst the other herbivores in herds spread across several hundred meters. We were even lucky enough to see several fights as they nipped and bit each other as they ran.

Zebra Fight Lake Nakuru Game Park Kenya

Zebra Fight Lake Nakuru Game Park Kenya

Plodding along between the Zebra, Impala and Water Buffalo are the fierce looking, but majestic, Black and White Rhino.

The conservation efforts and anti-poaching Rangers patrolling Game Park means that the Rhino has flourished here. And with over 70 of each species in Lake Nakuru National Park, spotting the 2nd of the “Big 5” is very easy to do.

White Rhino Lake Nakuru Game Park Kenya

White Rhino in Lake Nakuru Game Park

You aren’t just limited to Baboons either. Cheeky Vervet monkeys clamber among the branches of Acacia trees with their babies clinging to their backs as they chatter to one another.

Vervet Monkey in Lake Nakuru National Park

Vervet Monkey Lake Nakuru Game Park

One of the animals I was dying to spot was the Giraffe. And with two shy Giraffes hiding in the forest I was getting worried we might not see any clearly.

I am not sure what I was worried about.

As we crested one of the hills the plains dropped away in front of us revealing over 50 strolling across the grass. Straight across our path they walked, stopping to strip the juicy leaves from the high branches. Their tongues wrapping around each leaf before moving on their way.

Giraffe Eating Acacia Tree Lake Nakuru

Giraffe eating from an Acacia tree in Lake Nakuru

It was here that our Guides radio began chirping like mad. With a grin over his shoulder he said he had a surprise for us just up the road.

3 lion cubs around a year old resting under the shade of a tree out of the baking hot Kenyan sun. As we switched off our engine another curious older Male slouched into the open to eye us up.

Young Male Lion Lake Nakuru Kenya

Young Male Lion in Lake Nakuru Kenya

I could have sat and watched them rest just 5 meters from our Safari van for hours, but there was just too much else to see.

Lake Nakuru National Game Park Kenya

Lake Nakuru National Game Park, Kenya

One of the things that Lake Nakuru is most famous for is its Pink Flamingos.

Pink Flamingo Lake Nakuru

The famous Pink Flamingo on Lake Nakuru

It seemed like our luck wasn’t about to run out either.

As we turned towards the main gate our journey was interrupted by the chatter on the radio again. This time a Leopard had been spotted several KMs from our current position.

We didn’t have to be reminded how rare it would be for us to see a Leopard either. I hadn’t even factored in seeing one during my entire Africa adventure and with less than 10 in Lake Nakuru National Park I definitely didn’t think it would be today.

Leopard in Tree Lake Nakuru Game Park Kenya

Leopard in tree at Lake Nakuru Game Park, Kenya

A lone Leopard resting 20 feet off the forest floor on a branch. Its front left paw hung on one side while it rested its head on its right. As we switched off the engine it raised its head and stared directly down my camera lens sending shivers down my spine.

It was the perfect end to a magical day that I will never forget.

Oasis Overland have provided me with a small discount off the price of the trip. However, as always, my thoughts on telling it how it is are never influenced by anyone.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. Mike (Nomadic Texan)

    May 6, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Cole,
    An amazing experience, I imagine. Have to say I agree, I like the Leopard photo best as well! Be Safe!!!
    Mike

    • Cole Burmester

      May 6, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      Thanks Mike 🙂 Can’t wait to explore the rest of the parks throughout Africa now on my journey!

  2. Thomas Dembie

    May 6, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Beautiful photos! I especially like the sunrise shot. I was there in late December and loved it. It was a great first safari experience. Plenty to see in a relatively small park. Can’t believe you saw a leopard there. Very lucky!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 8, 2013 at 5:23 PM

      We were EXTREMELY lucky to see a Leopard in Lake Nakuru Game Park! Wish they had Elephants too but that will have to wait until next time 😉

      • Rolph Lemayan

        June 24, 2015 at 1:00 AM

        Hi Cole. That is a nice profound post about Lake Nakuru National Park or also known as the Pink Lake.In the event, you desire in watchings herds of elephant, I would recommend you visit Amboseli National Park where you will get them in large numbers with a great view of Mount Kilimanjaro as part of the major attractions in Amboseli.

  3. Kimmy @ AfterGlobe

    May 6, 2013 at 11:31 PM

    Beautiful pictures! You were for sure lucky with all of the animals that you got to see. I love so many of these pictures I couldn’t pick just one for a favorite.

    • Cole Burmester

      May 8, 2013 at 5:19 PM

      Hopefully at the next park I can finish off the Big 5 😀

  4. Kristy of Family Visa

    May 8, 2013 at 2:15 AM

    The pink flamingo on Lake Nakuru is so sexy and at the same time the leopard on top of the tree is a hunk.

  5. Kea Watson

    May 10, 2013 at 6:16 AM

    Zebra hug! Aww how cute

    • Cole Burmester

      May 11, 2013 at 10:38 AM

      Very cute, although I think they were fighting haha.

  6. Luke Hartung

    May 10, 2013 at 6:16 AM

    Great photos guy!

  7. Rory Schultze

    May 10, 2013 at 6:18 AM

    I think I’d be so scared coming face to face with a leopard like that

    • Cole Burmester

      May 11, 2013 at 10:38 AM

      Luckily it was about 50m away in the tree then haha.

  8. Jessica @ A Passion and A Passport

    May 16, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    You got such great shots of all the animals you saw! Wow! And this was only day TWO! Another wow! Next up- elephant spotting!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 17, 2013 at 5:41 AM

      Spotted elephants while I was Gorilla trekking of all things haha 😉 That post is coming soon!

  9. Nicole @ Green Global Travel

    May 17, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    Wow amazing photos! Big cats are my favorite wildlife. Id love to see them in the wild, would be amazing! Great post!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 18, 2013 at 5:46 AM

      Cheers Nicole 🙂 Hoping to spot some further south in Africa too!

  10. Endri Hasanaj

    May 24, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    Wow what beautiful photos! Ahh what I’d give to be able on a safari now! It’s really one of the most interesting things to do on a trip or maybe it seems like that to me cause I love the wild animals in their natural habitat. Thanks for sharing these mate!
    Greetings from Athens

  11. Lucy

    May 26, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Loving the safari photos, especially the leopards, what a privilege to see them in their own environment. Got to start saving up for a safari trip soon!

    • obai

      February 23, 2017 at 10:04 AM

      highly welcomed to Kenya

  12. Charli l Wanderlusters

    May 29, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Jeepers Cole, what incredible photographs. I love the leopard but I think that sunrise is just stunning. You’re got me longing to visit Kenya!

  13. James @ Africa Tours

    July 6, 2013 at 7:47 AM

    I am really intrigued by these shots. I am now motivated to try something similar. Thanks!

  14. Gabriel

    September 3, 2013 at 3:21 AM

    The Rhinho seems like such a huge and awesome animal. I can’t imagine what it would be like to see one in person. Looks like you had an awesome time with lots of great animal sights.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 3, 2013 at 8:47 AM

      It was a beautiful experience and so glad I had the chance to see them all.

  15. Jeff

    October 9, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Great shots. I call it a life time experience. You really enjoyed.

  16. Anne @ Pretraveller

    December 29, 2013 at 8:29 AM

    Cole, I see you posted this a while ago but it definitely brings back some fond memories for me! My family lived in Kenya as expats for a few years when I was only about 8 years old and my parents made a real effort to get out and about. Lake Nakuru was one of the many places we visited!

  17. Katherine E Bland

    January 23, 2014 at 6:33 PM

    I am now motivated to try something similar.

  18. Nelvino

    March 25, 2014 at 5:32 AM

    Lovely experience…like u I couldn’t spot all the big fives when I went to hluhluwe in South Africa…Leopards are almost impossible to b spotted.
    Good luck next time

  19. Marsha

    April 24, 2014 at 5:04 AM

    These are amazing photos: what an experience!! I cannot wait to visit: I am planning a trip for next year.

  20. Ticking the Bucketlist

    May 11, 2015 at 12:16 AM

    Ahh…you got to see the cats here!
    We were happy with the flamingos and the rhinos…no cats for us until we reached Mara!

  21. Tom Verdon

    September 6, 2015 at 6:59 PM

    Jambo Cole. Lovely photographs of Africa’s vanishing wildlife. You should be aware however that the picture of Buffalo that you have posted is NOT a picture of a Water Buffalo! A Water Buffalo is a creature of Asia and a Buffalo in Africa does not become a Water Buffalo, simply because it happens to be in the water. In Lake Nakuru National Park, any Buffalo that you see are the much more impressive and far more dangerous African Cape Buffalo, Syncerus Caffer, whose credentials as one of the most efficient and deadly of Africa’s big five killers have been discussed at length by numerous African experts far more knowledgable than I. Best. Tom

  22. Mark @ NWFamilyTravel

    September 4, 2016 at 11:42 AM

    I’ve always wanted to go on a safari and your photos have only made that a deeper desire. Stunning, really. Thank you for such a great look at this impressive park and the animals who live there.

  23. lukas kae

    May 29, 2017 at 11:25 PM

    thanks for sharing your experience with us
    awesome post with amazing pictures

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Adventure Travel

Skin-Care Rules to Always Follow When You Travel

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With the holiday season nearly upon us, most of us are hit with a bout of wanderlust. Traveling will take us to different places, and these places likely have completely different climates from what we are used to. Nobody wants to have a skin breakout or any other type of skin problem during vacation. To prevent this problem, this article will give you Skin-care rules to always follow when you travel.

Every time you step on a plane, your skin is exposed to a whole different condition. You are plagued by stale, dry, circulated air that can do wonders to your skin (in a bad way, of course). And that is just your flight. Your actual vacation can be a nightmare for your skin. From weird hotel products to bad sunscreen, to stress from forgetting stuff at home or from family members and a host of other problems.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to keep your skin looking great despite the challenges of travel.

  1. Drink Water…a lot of water

Staying hydrated is extremely important. Being hydrated inside and outside is one of the most important skin routine tips at all times, even when you are not on vacation.

The switch from a hot to a cold climate or from a hot to cold climate can cause skin dryness and irritation among other things. Even the air on the plane is dry and can sap all the moisture from your skin. Therefore, make sure your drink a lot of water. That would keep you hydrated inside.

For your skin, you should liberally apply moisturizers to keep your skin looking radiant and beautiful.

  1. Use Sunscreen

Next to staying hydrated, sun protection is one of the most important routine for your skin type.  While travelling, you should be extra diligent about your sunscreen.

It might sound strange, but you should apply sunscreen even while on the plane. Why? Because you are in a metal container 10,000 feet close to the sun. In fact, you are likely to get a sunburn while in a plane than on the ground. You might want to close the shades, but others might want of view. Hence take precautions and apply the sunscreen.

When you are travelling, it can be easy to forget to use sunscreen, or you might run out of sunscreen. You can go the extra mile by setting a reminder on your phone either to use sunscreen or buying a new one before the current one runs out.

  1. Use Minimal Makeup

During your vacation, leave out heavy foundations and other heavy makeup products. If you are traveling to a location with extreme weather, your makeup will wear off fairly easily. This not only leaves you looking silly, but the heavy makeup can clog the pores of your skin and result in breakouts.

If you choose to use makeup at all, use breathable makeup. Preferably it should be water-resistant and offer protection from hot climates.

  1. Take your facial cleanser and moisturizer along with you

To keep your face looking great even in extreme climates, your facial cleanser and moisturizer are very important. The daily cleanser helps to clean impurities on your face, while the moisturizer will feed your skin with the important nutrients required to keep it healthy during the duration of your trip.

  1. Use trusted products

Trying out new products is fun, but you should be very careful doing this while on vacation. The change in climate is enough stress on your skin. If you add new products to your skin, you might be increasing the stress on it. Invariably, this might lead to skin breakout and other issues.

Therefore, stick to what your skin is familiar with. When you go back home, you can try out new products. To make it easier to keep using your familiar products, you can buy travel-sized versions of your moisturizer, lotion, cleanser and other stuff.

  1. Have a medical emergency kit

This should contain smoothening calamine, aloe vera potion and other things that can be used in case of skin emergencies.

To enjoy your trip, no matter where that might be, follow these skin-care rules. Your skin will thank you for it!

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Adventure Travel

Scottsdale – Come for the Sights, Stay for the Experience

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Scottsdale, Arizona is one of the most popular destinations in the Grand Canyon State. Known for its resorts, natural trails, and association with nightlife, the city has become a must visit for anyone who wants to experience contemporary life in a former desert.

Scottsdale is very famous for its modern hospitality and geographical sights. Keeping this in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to know that finding a Scottsdale nightclub is on the minds of many tourists who pay the city a visit – even those who do so to explore one of its mountainous ranges.

If you are planning to head down to the Copper State anytime soon and enjoy life, then Scottsdale may prove to be a great summer destination.

To help you understand what the city would have to offer in terms of recreation, here are some of the top Scottsdale vacation and dining options that make the West’s Most Western Town, a must visit.

Old Town Scottsdale

Old Town Scottsdale is perhaps the most popular destination in the city. With its unique lineup of culturally rich events, this colorful area has a vibe that defines old West meeting its modern counterpart to a T.

While Scottsdale remains famous for its modern nightlife, club scene, and luxurious resorts, Old Town Scottsdale brings about the old Western charm for tourists to experience firsthand. Old architecture, preserving museums, and cultural activities are just a few of the many things that you could experience at this destination.

With an array of fine dining restaurants that prove to be the best in the state, you could grab a bite in luxury after roaming around in the sun.

And if you feel a bit more adventurous, then you could do that exploration while riding on a Segway instead of using your good old feet. With plenty of Segway tours being conducted each day, you will easily be able to find something that suits your schedule.

Taliesin West

As the winter home to famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin West boasts of an unmatched architectural design.

Now a museum, the destination doesn’t only showcase the building in all of its glory, but also offers insights into Wright’s work and his mind through detailed tours of the facility.

It is due to these reasons that Taliesin West ranks as one of the topmost destinations to visit in Scottsdale among many professional guides.

Since the building or its experience cannot be replicated elsewhere, it remains a must visit for whenever you are in Scottsdale.

Scottsdale Fashion Square

Want to visit the biggest shopping mall in Arizona? You would find it to be located in the heart of Scottsdale.

With around 2 million square feet of shopping space, the Scottsdale Fashion Square is one of the biggest malls in the whole country. Made up of high end, luxury retail locations, it is literally the one stop shop for upscale items that you may not find elsewhere in the city. With that, the mall holds plenty of fine dining locations as well. What more could you want from a shopping destination, really?

Due to its modern inventory and access to high fashion, the Scottsdale Fashion Square could be a must visit before you hit the popular nightclub scene of the city. Whether you are finding some club wear or just want to spruce up your existing outfit with some Loboutins, this mall would provide you with plenty of choices and fun to boot.

Scottsdale Has Something for Everyone

Depending upon your personal preference, Scottsdale has plenty to offer.  Whether you want to indulge in the city’s party scene or just explore its natural history, you would find that the destination has something for everyone.

So the next time that you are about to visit the Wild West, don’t forget to put Scottsdale at the top of your list. You won’t be disappointed with what you get to work with.

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Adventure Travel

5 Fun Adventure Activities in Vietnam

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A stunning country with glorious scenery and an amazing culture, Vietnam offers many attractions for the modern tourist. It would be easy to spend a holiday in Vietnam just sightseeing and immersing yourself in the culture – which thanks to a heavy French influence, is different to its South Eastern Asian neighbours – but why pass up on some of the fun adventure activities in Vietnam?

Sandboarding

Also called sand surfing, sandboarding is an extreme sport, exactly like snowboarding, but on sand dunes instead of snow. Regularly named among the best sandboarding destinations in the world, are the Mue Ne Dunes. A series of red dunes around the resort town of the same name, sandboarding has not yet hit the professional heights here but is more of a fun cultural experience. Women in cone hats rent out boards to everyone from kids to saffron-robed Buddhist monks.

Mue Nie is also home to the magical Fairy Stream. This small shallow river winds through moon-like rock formations and is fun to walk through. You can watch the fish as you walk up to two kms in the water or you might try your hand at fishing. You’ll need some basic tackle including rod and reels. Check out these great options for beginners.

Take on Mount Fansipan

Nicknamed “the Roof of Indochina”, Fanispan at 3,143 metres is the highest mountain in the region. Located in Sapa, a town in the Lao Cai province in Northern Vietnam, the mountain can be conquered via two main climbing routes, one categorised as 2D1N, the other a longer 3D2N route. Both climbs require a guide. For those who prefer an easier way to the summit, the Fanispan cable car takes just 15 minutes to achieve what climbers do in 2-3 days, travelling on cables high above primitive forests.

Ride a Motorbike from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi

One of the enduring images of Vietnam is the streets of Ho Chi Minh crowded with motorbikes, but motorbikes are also popular outside the cities and Vietnam has become known for some amazing motorbike routes. One of the favourite journeys is from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi. There are various routes to cover the distance of more than 2,000 kms, all taking you through gorgeous scenery and fascinating towns and villages.

Marble Mountain Rappelling Tour with Temple and Cave Exploration

You might think that abseiling down a vertical rock face is for experienced adrenalin junkies but not so on a rappelling tour in the Marble Mountains in Vietnam. Located just north of the popular resort city of Hoi An, the Marble Mountains are known locally as the “Five Elements Mountains”. Tours start in the city and once in the mountains, all equipment and instruction is provided to complete at least two rappels (depending on the tour company you choose). Besides the rappelling, the tours have spectacular views of the coast and include trekking through the mountains, visiting caves and temples

Canyoning

Canyoning is a thrilling adrenaline rush of an adventure sport wherein you jump into a fast-flowing mountain stream and allow yourself to be carried at high speed downstream. The most popular place for canyoning in Vietnam is Dalat. Dalat is in the Central Highlands and is a lovely resort town near a lake becoming renown as a destination for honeymoons as well as the adventure sports of cliff jumping, waterfall rappelling, natural water slides, and hiking, as well as canyoning. Various companies offer canyoning tours in Dalat all at similar prices for similar itineraries, so just choose which appeals most.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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