Thursday, January 12, 2012


Let’s say I made a wrong turn because that’s what I did. It reminded me of the movie Wrong Turn.
            I was at the Lake Nakuru National Park promoting domestic tourism. In Kenya, such excursions are left to wazungus, who are seen as cash cows that have wandered from a foreign grazing land. There were not many of them this day, though.
                Lake Nakuru National Park is created around Lake Nakuru, one of the Great Rift Valley soda lakes. It’s the home of millions of flamingos and over 450 species of other birds, as well asgiraffes, black and white rhinos, buffaloes, baboons and other wild game. Documentaries say it’s a place to be.
                When I was given the green light to drive through the gates, of course after thorough security check occasioned by the Al Shabaab threat in the country due to Kenyan troops’ fighting in Somalia, anticipation got the better of me. I couldn’t wait to see the famous home of flamingos – it was my first time.
                As you enter the park there’s a fork on the road that confuses first timers like me. I did not know which way to go as the first thing that came to my mind was it was a circuit round the park. On Kenyan roads we keep left, so, I took a left turn.
 Wooded and bushy grasslands greeted me with every corner I took; gazelles, zebras and buffaloes – lazily grazing in the afternoon sun – stared blankly at my saloon car as I drove along, stopping occasionally to take pics. All along what I wanted to see was the millions of flamingos that nest along the shores of Lake Nakuru.
                I started regretting that I had wasted so much money to just drive around the lake. I desperately wanted to take a photo by the lake with the flamingos in the background.
I gave up and decided to drive off the park, to my partner’s dissatisfaction, who was enjoying every moment of it. So you can imagine I was glad to see, from a distance, the outline of what I’d been longing for – my foible is I give up easily.
I happily drove to the shore where there were lots of people – Americans with nasal voices, Europeans filming, a Chinese doing some movie stuff Tai Chi while his friends goaded him and then us.
At last my day was made.
We played and took photos till when an orangish plate sinking down the western horizon told us it was time leave.
As we neared the entrance we came across spectacular picnic and camp sites. I vowed to go back some other time.
Baboon families on their evening walk played idly on the road as though there was nothing going on – driving was somewhere between crawling and parking.
As we left the park I knew that I would have enjoyed more had I not taken a wrong turn from the start.

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