Suswa caves

A Bushsnob in Africa

The rift valley owes its existence to humongous volcanic upheaval that my mind cannot even start to imagine as we can only see the effects of this conflagration millions of years after it happened. Among the consequences that we see today are the several volcanoes that are scattered throughout its extension.

rift valley suswa... Mt. Suswa from the distance.

Two are close from Nairobi: Longonot and Suswa. The latter lies south of Longonot and about 50 km northwest of Nairobi. We did not visit Longonot as it implied leaving the car unattended and a long walk to the rim of the caldera. However, we did visit Suswa in several occasions as it could be reached after about two relaxed hours of a picturesque drive from Nairobi. Together with lake Magadi, it was an ideal day out although the road was rough!

land rover on suswa rd On the way to the Suswa volcano.

The drive took us through…

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Lake Nakuru [1]

A Bushsnob in Africa

Being 160 km from Nairobi made Lake Nakuru a favourite weekend escapade as it was well known for its prolific bird life. Unfortunately but at the same time inevitable, the strongly alkaline 62 km2 lake was an island inside farmland and its borders were clearly under pressure from the rural dwellers next door as well as from the town of Nakuru looming nearby and threatening this true bird paradise with its effluent. However, at the time of our visits the park offered unique birding opportunities.

nakuru 1-- 13 6 82 A view of the lake from one of the viewpoints.

The explanation of why there are soda lakes is geological. Rift valley volcanoes spewed alkaline ashes rich in sodium carbonate that the rainwater carried to the lakes. Those without drainage allowed the sodium to accumulate and the water became alkaline. All alkaline lakes are near a volcano: Lake Natron (Tanzania) and Lake Magadi (Kenya)…

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Lake Naivasha

A Bushsnob in Africa

We went to lake Naivasha often as it was an easy weekend out of Nairobi and I still have vivid memories from those visits.

naivasha View of the lake.

Usually we drove down the rift valley wall, passed the catholic chapel built by the Italian WWII prisoners after 50 km, then the junction to Narok and the Maasai Mara (B3). Further we found Mt. Longonot, the volcano on the left and kept driving, already seeing the shiny blue lake in the distance framed by fertile cultivated farmland with the spectacular backdrop of the Mau escarpment.

l naivasha from n kinangop rd Lake Naivasha in the distance on the left behind which is the Mau escarpment.

Gustav Fischer, a German naturalist, found the lake it 1883, while heading north and before the then hostile Maasai found his expedition and forced him to turn back! However, the Europeans kept coming and, after Joseph Thomson arrived, the colonization of the…

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Livingston, Texas

Sightseeing Aboard -- sister site of Animals Aboard

Lake Livingston State Park

Lake Livingston State Park is a 635 acre state park that features hiking, birding, fishing, and camping. It’s about 8 miles from the town of Livingston. Day use fee is $5.00 per person and I was able to visit on the Texas State Parks free entrance day (November 10). I took my dogs on several of the hiking trails and we also visited the marina and gift shop.

Piney Woods Boardwalk Trail is an ADA compliant short trail (.9 miles) that loops around and takes you to a pond and a bird blind little building where you can sit and observe nature.

The boardwalk trail

The bird blind

At the marina is an observation tower you can climb. There is also a nice gift and souvenir shop.

Observation tower

Gift shop


Walking path in the campground area

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What’s Up? – Ouch!

H.J. Ruiz - Avian101


Last Friday was the surgery to my left eye. My next surgery day for my right eye will be on December 10.

The operation was good and without event. I asked the doctors, it took 35 minutes exactly. Once at home and the anesthesia not in effect, that’s when the fireworks start! Definitely, trauma is done to the eye. The pain is there but the awful situation of having one eye covered with a patch and trying to see with the other, it simply not so easy, because the patched eye will follow the  movement of the other  eye and move equally, causing more pain yet.

Northern Cardinal Northern CardinalI

I apologize for not replying any of your comments at this time. I promise to do it as soon as I am able to write. I will catch up with my followers.

Even without the patch (Since Saturday)…

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