The giraffe sultan on Ruko island

It is a tiny bit eerie as the boat beaches on the land just above the reeds and we look around at the forest of dead trees.

Our boat captain Peter explains that the reason for that is that the water levels in Lake Baringo have risen so much that all the lower shores are now underwater. It also means that the ‘peninsular’ that we are now arriving at has become an island and all the animals that were in this part of Ruko Conservancy are now trapped here.  We all get out the boat and are greeted by the head ranger James and his colleague, Charles and follow them up a fairly steep, rocky pathway. There are lovely dragonflies buzzing about everywhere and as we reach the top we pause to catch our breath and look back at the great view. Our ranger then singles for us to continue along the pathway and draws our attention to a large male giraffe that is ambling up the gentle, bushy slope towards us. He is protecting the four females that are dotted around further down the slope and Julius explains that they are all pregnant for the first time. I joke that the male giraffe must be feeling like a lucky sultan to be stuck on the island with his harem!

After spending about half an hour checking out these gentle giants up close and personal we go back up the pathway but now the ranger takes a right turn and we climb higher up and eventually come out onto a cliff top. We thought that the view from the lower hill was great but this is magnificent! We are being rewarded with a panoramic view of the southern part of the lake with all its islands and because we are here just after the rains the cliff face is smothered in blue flowers. There are butterflies everywhere and of course the ubiquitous dragonflies. I ask the rangers if there are other animals on the island and they tell us that there are ostriches and impalas in the acacia forest below us. He promises us that we will see these animals when we walk back to our boat which has now moved to this part of the island to pick us up. So we follow him once more and he takes us down a gully in the cliff face and once we reach the bottom and have gone on only about fifty metres we find a male ostrich and two females in glade. The male gets a bit feisty and moves rapidly towards us but James does a clever trick to deter him from coming any closer. He puts his hat on the walking stick that he has been carrying and holds it up so it is the same eye level as the ostrich. Perhaps the bird now thinks that he is facing an animal the same size as him because it really works and it stops and moves back.  But once James lowers his stick he charges us again and this time take a stab at it and deter him with the raised hat on stick. It really does work!

After playing cat and mouse with a posturing ostrich for a couple of minutes, we now make our way back towards the shore and the boat and only getting a flitting glimpse of the impalas deep in the bush because they are very shy. Our experiences are not over though because just as we are about to get back on board Julius tells us that he has found an ostrich egg. We all gather round and take a look at this huge egg lying in the grass but he says we should not stick around too long though because the mama will be back in a minute and will be very angry so we move away giggling like a bunch of naughty school kids running away stealing some apples from an orchard.

Before we get on the boat and leave this special island we thank the two rangers profusely for taking us on a wonderful two hour bush walk and giving us the opportunity to view these animals up close.

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