The Lost World: A visit to Crescent Island

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The first day on the lake was incredible. It was everything and more of what I imagined Lake Naivasha was like. How in the world was the second day on the lake going to top that? I would soon find out. We were going to be transferred into what I can only describe as a “Lost World” full of animals unlike I’ve ever seen before…

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Early mornings are the norm here in Africa. To wake up you can either jump in the cold shower fed by the lake itself or try to chug as much instant coffee as you can. Both worked for me! I also have to note on how incredible the nights were in Africa. The eerie sounds of the whooping hyenas and the distress calls from baboons can convince even the bravest to stay in their cabins.

Lake Naivasha Map

Our destination was Crescent Island, a peninsula on the Eastern side of Lake Naivasha. Here there is a game sanctuary that is home to more animals per acre than any other park in Kenya.

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We weren’t going anywhere if the water hyacinth had anything to do with it. This invasive plant species has had devastating effects on the local flora and fauna, not to mention the boats! We were stuck for an hour in huge (surpisingly heavy) masses of hyacinths. With the help of our experienced driver Duncan and Dr. Bechard we finally made it out into the lake!

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The second day on the lake proved to be nothing like the first. We successfully baited three African Fish Eagles!

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As the eagle takes off with its catch you can see behind it on the shores of the lake the increased civilization and a flower farming plant. Both have had drastic effects on the lake and its inhabitants. More recently, the flower farming industry has taken over. It’s a multi-million dollar industry that negatively effects the lake by increasing pollution and over exploiting its resources.

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As our journey to Crescent Island was approaching our boat suddenly slowed down near a very famous residence. This property was once home to wildlife filmmakers Alan and Joan Root. Sadly Joan was murdered in this home on January 13, 2006. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, conversationalists like Joan are not always welcomed here in opened arms. Many are frowned upon because conserving wildlife conflicts with local human interest and the flower farming industry.

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Hippos did not disappoint that day. Matter of fact we were successfully charged by two! As docile as they look they actually kill 4-6 people a year in Lake Naivasha. They literally can bite a canoe in half and most fishermen don’t stand a chance with their 20 inch long canines.

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Lake Naivasha is a bird lover’s paradise! These Grey-crowned Cranes happened to be my favorite.

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And there it was: My first glimpse of Crescent Island. This 400 acre preserve is home to over a 1,000 animals including zebra, wildebeest, gazelles, giraffe, and buffalo. Surprisingly there are no resident predators that live on the island. Hyenas will come and hunt during the night but have no dens on the preserve.

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Crescent Island provides perfect habitat for Waterbuck. These medium-sized antelope are always found near a steady supply of water. Fun Fact: It is very common to see many without a full set of horns.

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This island reminded me of a “Lost World” teeming with wildlife. It is no wonder why many documentaries are filmed here due to the large resident herds.

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I’m so happy we were in the boat for this one! Buffalo are extremely aggressive and (even though in this picture you can’t see it) they had a young calf which makes these animals even more on edge.

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As much as I didn’t want to, I said goodbye to Crescent Island and all of its creatures and departed for an incredible opportunity to speak with some local Naivasha school children.

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We arrived at a local primary school where Dr. Munir Virani arranged for us to speak. The task was to try to convey the message of how important it was to conserve Lake Naivasha and all of its residents.

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And what a success it was. Not only did we convey the message, we rocked it! I cannot tell you how much fun it was to entertain the class. I’ve been presenting shows for over a decade but this one program to this day has stuck out in my mind. What an incredible opportunity to speak to local children about how important it was to keep Africa beautiful. It was something I will never forget.

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As we descended back to the Elsamere Field Study Centre we said goodbye to yet another incredible day in Africa. Our time at Lake Naivasha was slowing dwindling; never in my life has time gone by so fast. I remember talking to my good friend Teresa asking her advice on how to slow it down. She said these words: “Live in the moment.” And that exactly what I did.****

To check out the TV segment for this day click this link http://www.kivitv.com/goodmorninglive/140863453.html