Adventures in Kenya: Part I - Nakuru Park

This post and these pictures are long overdue. Pictures hold memories and I wasn't really to face and let these go. But it's time and now that I've worked them up I couldn't be more excited to share a slice of my homeland with you. 

A couple of years ago K (one of my closest friends and often travel buddy) and I decided we wanted to book ourselves an adventure. She'd never been to Africa and quite suddenly I got very excited about sharing a chapter of my life with her that not many of my friends know much about. I grew up in the warm heat of the african sun and honestly, it often feels like a dream. A chapter of my life slipped quietly into my memories, ever year feeling more distant and unreal. Did I really swim in the ocean practically every weekend or play "lion trainer" with our, at one point, thirteen dogs? Did I run through dense bushes, secret journeys on the way to my neighbour's house? Is that me in the early morning light collecting roses and frangipani flowers from our garden with my father beside me, our baskets overflowing to take to the temple? Was that really me running wild with my brothers on soft white sanded beaches collecting shells only to drop them carelessly into my mother's outstretched hands? 

I think a part of me felt that by connecting K to my life in Kenya it would all begin to feel real again and to an extent I think it kind of worked. We connected with my old friends, each who had their own memories with me to share. I think my favourite thing however was that along the way K and I created memories and had stories that were entirely our own. 

We decided to visit for two weeks and the idea was to fill everyday with a new adventure (sometimes several!). We flew via Ethiopian Airlines and planned a trip where we arrived in Nairobi and flew out from Mombasa. We spent our first full day in the capital with my aunt and uncle, exploring the city, enjoying a lunch at a popular mall and in the evening checking out a masai market. I don't have any pictures from that day as I didn't have a pocket camera back then and didn't feel particularly safe wandering about with my 5d hanging by my side.

The next day we headed out on safari! We booked this through Gamewatchers Safari. We'd looked about online and this company had great reviews and now, I can add my own positive review too! It was a wonderful safari. I have so many pictures to share that I'll split this into two blog posts. We were picked up by our driver, Alan, early that Monday morning. I love adventuring on Mondays... somehow it just feels extra sweet! We drove for two and a half hours to Nakuru along roads that looked like we were driving through a postcard. Along the way we stopped to admire a view of the great rift valley. My pictures do not do it justice. I couldn't capture the feeling of all that land spilling wild and vast in front of me. It was intoxicating. The lodge we stayed in was beautiful and after a little rest we headed back on the road to do our first bit of game spotting at Nakuru Park. We saw lots of beautiful animals, but most excitingly, rhinos! However, it's so sad to note that despite being guarded day and night rhino poaching is still a huge, huge problem in Kenya.

The next day we left Nakuru and headed to Keekorok Lodge, an open plan accommodation located within the Masai Mara itself. I hope you you enjoy the pictures! Stay tuned for Part two :) 

Africa... you are a dream. 

Bella Kotak

Bella Kotak is a fine art and fashion photographer currently based in Oxford & London, England. An art lover from a young age she always knew that she would work within the creative industry. Photography changed her life when she picked up a camera and began a 365 project. From that moment she was hooked by this medium that translates thoughts and imagination into tangible form and has since been featured in several magazines around the world.