Tag Archives: nature

Lake Oloiden – Flamingos at last! :)

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After hoping to see flamingos at both Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha with no luck, I eventually asked our guide Filip where we would be able to find these beautiful pink birds. Filip took us to Lake Oloiden, which is a slightly smaller salt water lake close to Lake Naivasha. As we reached the lake we saw more or less right away that we had finally found the flamingos and we were taken out by boat to get a closer look.

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Watching flamingos in the wild really was very diferent from seeing them in a zoo, mainly because we were able to watch them flying and taking off from the water.  As flamingos take off they appear to be running on the water, it looks really awesome! You can really see how beautiful the wings are when they are spread as well. We followed the flamingos around for a while, taking pictures and watching them. We  ran into insane amounts of hippos in the process of doing this, appearently they really like this lake as well.

IMG_0660IMG_0669As hippos are known to kill humans for fun I actually got a little nervous a few times. Hippos that were really closeby dived into the water and we appeared to be driving right over the place where we had seen the animals only a few minutes before.  Another animal that seem to enjoy the lake is the pelikan and we saw quite a few of them sitting in a tree.

IMG_0685I really enjoyed this little safari by boat, and Im very happy that I finally got to see some flamingos. If you ever want to do a boat safari in Kenya this is definietly the place to go! And now some more pictures of the pinkest birds around! 🙂

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A Game Drive in Masai Mara

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It is 7.15 in the morning, the sun is about to come out and Rob and I are finishing our breakfast at our lodge in Masai Mara National Game Reserve.

“So what do you think we’re gonna see?”

“I don’t know, animals I guess? Nature?”

“time to meet our guide –  wash down that coffe and let’s go”

As we exit our lodge and pull out onto the main road, we see a huge herd of buffalos. We stand up in the car immediately and start taking pictures. Our guide smiles and tells us most people don’t get exited unless there are lions involved. We like all animals, we answer and take some more photos.

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After a little while our guide tells us he has gotten a call on the radio about a rhino a few minutes drive away. We rush over to check it out, and indeed see a beautiful black Rhino standing under a tree not too far from the road.Unlike the peaceful and social White Rhino, the Black one is both shy and very aggressive – it is also the most endangered out of the two types.

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Happy that we got to see this very rare animal, we keep on going, looking for more animals. After a little while we see a rather large group of Elephants. Having been to the shelter in Nairobi, the fully grown Elephants seem incredibly large, and we feel an overwhelming sense of respect for them. (some of them really are larger than the safari van we are in)

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as we move on, we drive around for a while without spotting any animals at all, but the park is beautiful in its own right and we enjoy the scenery. We decide to make a stop at the Mara River, to look for hippos and crocodiles. As we exit the van and get closer to the river, we hear sounds coming from the water. We quickly realize that these sounds are hippos blowing water out of their noses as they stick their heads up from the river. The group of hippos is rather big and there are even quite a few baby hippos in the mix!

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As I try to get closer in order to get better photos, I am told by our guide to keep my distance – as hippos are known to kill humans for fun. It is hard to belive that these adorable animals are cold-blooded killers, but looking at their size I realize that they are probably more than capable of hurting me if they decide that they want to do so. Some other tourists tell us that they saw crocodiles further down the river, so Rob and I decide to go look as well. Sadly we can’t see anything and decide to go back to the van.

Our guide tells us somebody spotted a group of lions, but that they are pretty far away. We begin our drive to the other end of the park, enjoying the hills, the yellow grass and the occasional group of zebras, gazelles or buffalos. As we get closer to where the lions have been spotted, our guide stops the car all of a sudden, telling us to look ahead. After a few minutes we see it too – there is a lioness walking straight towards us. She crosses the road and keeps on walking right past the van. We keep on driving, and finally reach the rest of the lions – a group of lionesses and cubs resting under a tree.

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For me this is, easily, the highlight of the whole day. I love all of the big cats, and seeing so many small cubs just melt my heart. After we have taken at least a hundred photos, we finally let the guide drive away from the lions. It is time for lunch, and as we wanted more time out looking for animals, we have agreed to eat out in the park. Our guide finds us a quiet spot, where we have a picnic out in the bush – awesome 🙂

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The rest of the day is, sadly, rather quitet in terms of animals. The truth is, you do generally spend a lot of time just searching while on game drives. It is, after all, not a trip to the zoo but a visit to the animals own habitat – and you can’t control nature. After a few hours of not finding much we head back to the lodge. We really enjoyed seeing so many animals in their natural environment, and the park itself is beautiful as well. I am pretty sure I will remember some of these moments for the rest of my life! 🙂

Weekend in Utrecht

Last weekend was a rather social one for Rob and me. Friday we had dinner with Rob’s family before playing boardgame with his sister Charlotte and some friends. Saturday Rob and I both got a haircut, because this month I finally got a paycheck too, meaning we have a bit more money to spend 🙂

As it was a beautiful day, Rob and I decided to drive to the Goois nature reserve. This small park is absolutely beautiful, and they even have a really good restaurant where we had lunch. After walking around for a while we ran into this guy:

Now that’s a pretty basass version of a cow, hehe.

In the evening we headed to Utrecht and played some pool, before we met up with Rob’s friends and went to the movies. “Ted” turned out to be rather funny actually, and it is definitely worth seeing. Sunday was rather calm, and I spent it watching shows and studying for a test I took today at work. It is rather sad that the weekend is over, but then again without the work week, weekends would just be random days 🙂

The Highlands, Urquhart Castle & Loch Ness

While staying in Edinburgh, Rob and I decided to take a guided trip to The Highlands and Loch Ness with Scotline Tours. We left Edinburgh rather early (8 am) and headed straight for the highlands. Our tourguide, Mike seemed to know everything about Scotland and had a good sense of humor as well so the trip was never quiet 🙂 My favorite joke was “Ye say we don’t know what’s in the Haggis – Well YOU don’t know what’s in the McDonalds!” After a coffee/breakfast stop we headed up to Glen Coe, the site of the 1962 massacre. The mountains were absolutely beautiful and the sun was coming out from the clouds every now and then making it all rather magical.

 

(Photostop – WINDY!)

After driving for a few more hours we arrived at Loch Ness and Uquhart Castle. This was probably the highlight of the whole trip for me, even if we didn’t see the Loch Ness Monster.The Castle is mostly gone, leaving a dramatic ruin right in front of the loch and the surrounding nature was also beautiful. We walked around in the ruin for about 90 minutes before taking a guided boat trip on the loch. Rob and I stayed in the front of the boat (somehow hardly anyone wanted to sit there, perhaps because it was a little cold) and had a great view the entire time. Towards the end of the trip a beautiful rainbow got more and more visible, making the view even more awesome 🙂

The guide was waiting for us at the end of the boattrip to take us back to Edinburgh. This took about 3-4 hours, but they put on some music (and I brought my own  as well) so this was no problem. As we drove in to Edinburgh we had a great view of Forth Bridge:
Im happy that I got to see a bit more of Scotland while I was there 🙂