It’s been a while since I’ve written anything about Australia, but Easter holiday is approaching, and I think Australia would be an ideal destination for this festive period!
To be honest, I think Brisbane is an under rated city of Australia. People always say it’s boring, it’s got nothing there, it’s slow etc… but as a person who grew up in Brisbane, I can tell you otherwise. Especially in the last few years, the city has evolved from a very quiet second tier city, to a more sophisticated stylish town!
However, today, instead of showing you the busy stylish side of Brisbane, I’d like to take you out to Sandgate, a park that’s approximately an hour drive away from the city.
The Arthur Davis Park may look very ordinary, just like most of the other parks, it’s filled with greeneries, children facility, some picnic area. But here, you also have a walkaway built along the water, and you can view one of the most magnificent sunset here!
BUT!! Although the sunset is good, it’s not the reason why I wrote this post, it’s the little creatures that you can see here! During low tides, you can walk out to the sandy beaches, and see hundreds and thousands of the cute little crabs!! The view is spectacular!
I remembered when I first saw it, my jaws nearly dropped! It’s kind of surreal! If you want to see this natural phenomenon, be sure to visit during low tides time and try your luck!
Here’s a video of it! It’s very shaky, but it’ll give you an idea of how it looks like! I hope you guys will get to witness this too! It’s truly amazing!
As our itinerary at Lake Naivasha was quite chilled, so we ended up spending quite some time at where we stay. The lodge was suggested by our tour operator due to it’s convenient location to the lake, though we did not think much about it before we arrived, but we left the place with a big smile on our face looking forward to our next visit here.
The lodge is situated at the edge of Lake Naivasha, so guests can freely take a stroll along the lake any time. There are boat operators there as well so making the boat ride very easy and convenient. The whole lodge is surround by lush green trees, with a lovely garden in the middle, you can hear the birds sing during the day, and the whole place is just very tranquil and relaxing.
There are a total of 20 well furnished tent cabins in total, each comes with wooden flooring , en-suit bathrooms with hot and cold running water with flushing toilets. Each tent cabin is nicely decorated to give them the African traditional tent look with all the comforts of a home. The tents are so big that you can literally throw a party in each one of them!
The thing that I loved most about this place is the people. Every single one of the staffs we have met here are amazing. They always have a smile on their face, and will go out of their ways to help you. The dining was also another highlight of this place. Whether it be a set menu, or the buffet, the dishes are so nicely cooked that I can’t seem to have enough of. I understand that taste may be subjective, but at least I’ve really enjoyed them.
There aren’t any special dance nor performance here at night, though the staffs will set up a camp fire out on the filed, where guests can mingle and have a great night.
Overall, I would highly recommend anyone in the Lake Naivasha are, who wants to experience great hospitality in a tranquil and peaceful environment to stay here, you will not be disappointed.
After departing Lake Nakuru, we drove about 2 hours to another famous spot of the Great Rift Valley – Lake Naivasha. Situated at a high altitude of 1,884m above sea level, this place is home to hundreds different species of birds, and of course, the famous Hippos!
Usually there are a few activity options for those who travel here:
Hell’s Gate National Park – You can hike, bike, walk along the crater, and get close to the wild animals here
Crescent Island – A privately owned sanctuary, where you can freely roam around, and get close with the giraffes
Lake Naivasha Boat Ride – Go on a boat ride around the lake, where the local tour guide can show you the different species of birds and of course, get close to the hippos
Private Safari nearby
As my aunty and I wanted to have a relax day, so we have decided to do something that doesn’t need too much energy – we booked a tour where they will take us on a boat ride along the lake, and then drop us off at Crescent Island where we can walk at our own pace.
The total cost of the boat ride and the transfer to and from Crescent Island, including entrance admission is at US$50, which is relatively reasonable. We weren’t so lucky that day, as we were not able to see much of the hippo, even though our guide did try his best to attract their attention, but the hippos are just so very relaxed and couldn’t care less about our existence… very shy hippos maybe…
The birds here are truly amazing! We saw pelicans, fish eagles, and lots of other birds which I have never seen before, nor heard of.
One of the ones that made a special impression to me is this cute small bright yellow bird, where their nest are as colourful as they are! Impressive!
The walk at Crescent Island was quite a pleasant one. When we got off the boat, our guide walked up the hill with us, showed us the approximate location of where each species of animals are, and then we are free to roam around. We were allowed to walk to anywhere on the island, except we were warned NOT to get close to the buffalo, as they can get very very aggressive.
I got so very excited getting so close to the giraffes!!
If you are looking for a chill relax day in-between all your safaris, a visit to Lake Naivasha and the Crescent Island isn’t a bad choice at all.
The Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge is situated inside Lake Nakuru National Park along the Lion Hill, overlooking the panoramic view of Lake Nakuru. As it’s so close to the lake, you can expect to see all those water loving animals the moment you exit the lodge’s gate! The location of the lodge is excellent, as it’s only minutes away from the game drive area, so you can really maximize your safari time.
Since we arrived the lodge a bit later than anticipated (can refer to the last post entry about the incidents we had with the corrupted police), we didn’t have much time to waste before our first game drive. I must say that the staffs here were extremely helpful! Understanding that we wereon a tight time line, instead of making us wait at the front desk while checking in, they urged us to go and enjoy our lunch first while they helped us to process our check in and spa request. Once we have finished our lunch, our room and spa treatment were all ready and booked, though unfortunately their spa is so popular that they were only able to book an appointment for one person, instead of for both myself and my aunty.
The environment of the lodge was amazing! It’s surrounded with acacia trees, greenery everywhere you go, and we can hear the singing of birds, which is very calm and peaceful. The room is a decent size, with chairs outside which you can relax on and adore the beautiful surroundings. The beds were very clean and comfortable, and there’s hot water running 24 hours a day, so you can have a hot shower anytime you wish.
The Flamingo restaurant has lots of natural lighting, and you can truly relax there and enjoy your meal with the picturesque scene of the lush ground surrounding. The restaurant provide a wide variety of food choices in buffet style, and complimentary afternoon tea is served in their tea house, so you can always enjoy a cuppa before or after your game drive.
There are three must dos at the lodge! Try their award winning spa, watch and participate at their exciting night show, and must visit their gift store Adia!
The Sarova Lion Hill game lodge’s Tulia spa is a 2018 World’s Luxury Spa Winner. The treatment is nestled in a tent by the swimming pool, and you can choose from a wide variety of treatment depending on your budget and time. Be sure to make a booking in advance, as this spa is quite popular amonst the guests.
The Rift Valley Bar opens out into an amphitheatre where traditional dance performances are held each evening at 7pm. Unlike most other Masai performances held in the other hotels, the performance here is done by a Kenyan dance group, where they combine acrobats and traditional dance move together, which really is quite unique. It is advised to arrive the venue earlier, as there’s limited seating, else you will need to stand up for the whole show.
Lastly, before you leave the lodge, make sure you visit the gift shop Adia, where you will find gifts and souvenirs unlike any others offered outside. They partner with a lot of the local NGO and organisation, selling hand made crafts made by locals, ranging from toys to bags, helping the local community. I’ve bought a hand knitted giraffe plushie here, which I were not able to find anywhere else during my trip. Each of the plushie was signed by the creator, which really makes it unique and personal.
I would highly recommend anyone travelling to Lake Nakuru to stay at the Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge, and I can assure you that you will not be disappointed!
There are just so many safaris and national park within Kenya, we were only able to visit a few during our short trip. After departing from Amboseli, we drove (well, our amazing driver and guide Franics drove, not us) over 8 hours to reach our second safari destination – Lake Nakuru.
Technically, the drive from Amboseli to Lake Nakuru should be around 6+ hours plus rest inbetween. However, we were stopped 3 times on the road by corrupted police asking for money, thus causing a lot of delays on the way. By the time we reached our hotel, it was already 2pm. Initially we were going to have a brief stop at the Great Rift Valley, which we couldn’t due to the delayed we had.
Nevertheless, we were able to check in to the hotel before our game drive at 3pm. Lake Nakuru is situated at the Great Rift Valley, and thanks to this special type of blue green algae in the lake water, it is renowned to be the home of the huge flocks of flamingos and other water birds. However, due to the rising water level in year 2014, it caused most of the flamingos population to flee, and also left the park surrounded by drowned trees.
Lake Nakuru is also a great park for wildlife spotting of the many water loving animals, such as hippos and waterbucks. Another highlight of the park must be the black and white rhinos.
We were only able to spot the white rhinos here this time round, well, I guess better luck next time! Fun fact: To tell the differences between the black and white rhinos, all you need to focus on is their mouth. White rhinos have a flat mouth for eating grass, and black rhinos have a pointy mouth for picking fruits and leaves from the tree branches.
A must visit spot of the park would be the Baboon Cliff, just like its name, it’s supposedly a spot where all the baboon gathers. Though the day we visited, we did not see a single one there, though we were greeted with a very pretty orange and blue agama lizard, and this fluffy guinea pig like cutie! (If anyone knows the name of it, please tell me)
Something interesting happened during our game drive with the baboons. As most of you know, all the safari cars have open roof top, and we usually leave it open during the game drive, so we can stand up and look around whenever we want. So on the way back to the hotel from the game drive, we saw many baboons on the road, which is quite a normal sight in these national parks. Little did we know, these were a different type of baboon (they all look the same!!). Francis our tour guide was telling us to stay alert of them, and before he even finished his sentence, one jumped into the back seat of the car, and within a blink of a second, took our bag of apples and jumped back out. We were so horrid all I could do was cover my head and scream…
Later we were advised by our Francis that this type of incident happen quite often here, and there are guests who lost their cameras, phones etc, as the baboons are attracted to anything that’s shiny/reflective. We were quite lucky that only our bag of apples were gone, otherwise, it would have been a painful experience.
Other wildlife spotted here during our game drive includes the road crossing giraffe, impalas, zebras, real life Poomba, and the cute jakals.
If you ever visit Kenya, be sure not to miss the chance to visit the amazing Lake Nakuru National Park!
Amboseli National Park is located approximately 260 km away from the city center of Nairobi. With its magnificent location at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain, combined with the abundance of wildlife encounter, makes it one of the most-visited safari parks in Kenya just after Masai Mara.
The name “Amboseli” comes from a Maasai word meaning “salty dust”, and this stunning Safari Park consists of five different wildlife habitats: open plains, acacia woodlands, rocky thorn-bush, swamps and marshland. With the advantage of the different habitats, you are able to encounter a wide range of wild animals here, ranging from the the feisty lions to the gentle gazelles etc.
So this year in June, I have finally managed to explore a new continent – Africa! Initially I was only doing some researches for my potential trip next year, but when I was doing the research, I was so drawn to this place that I want to go immediately! At the end, I’ve managed to book everything and had all my injections done within 5 weeks time!
As this was a kind of a last minute, instead of a long trip which I really wanted, my friend and I decided we will do a shorter safari of 7 days. The quote provided by the operator “Heritage of African Jungles” was very reasonable – staying in mid-range lodges and tents, visiting 4 different parks/safaris, inclusive of all meals and park entrances etc comes to USD$1250/person. I was initially a bit skeptical about it was there weren’t many reviews of them, and the price seems to be relatively lower than most other operators, BUT, not only the owner Naomi was super responsive and helpful (she also ends up being a very forward thinking modern Kenyan woman), our driver Francis was absolutely amazing as well! Thanks heaps guys!!
Our flight did not land Nairobi until after noon time, so we were not able to start the safari tour straight away, as most safaris depart very early in the morning around 7am. So we ended up having an extra half day in Nairobi. While there are so many worthwhile places to go in the city, we were only able pick two due to a short time frame – The Giraffe Center and The Carnivore Restaurant.
Upon our arrival of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the first thing we did was to draw some Kenyan shillings from the ATM. The rate is actually better if you draw money from the ATM in comparison to the currency exchange shops at the airport, and you MUST have some local currency with you, as USD is not accepted in some places. Secondly we went and got ourselves a sim card for our phone. I was told that Safaricom has got the best reception, but their service counter at the airport was so super slow, so we ended up buying from Telkom instead (second biggest telecom company in Kenya), and the sim card worked just fine! There are places in the mountains/grass plains where you will have absolutely NO reception, but that goes for all sim cards.
Anyways, once we got picked up from the airport, we went to the office to pay the left payment, then headed straight to the Giraffe Center, which is about 40 minutes drive away from the City Center. We got to the Giraffe Center at around 4pm, and the place is still fairly crowded with people inside and lining up outside. The entrance fee is KSH$1000/person. The venue itself is quite small, but because the giraffes are sooooo adorable and cute, you can literally spend hours here!