Nechisar National Park
One of the most unusual parks I’ve been in. It was not too expensive to enter and we found it to be a perfect test before entering the south bound Turkana track with all its river crossings, mud baths and windy picturesque tracks.
Nechisar is made up of jungle, river crossings, beautiful lake views and plains. We entered and could see it had been raining. On entering which was around 16h00, we headed to the nearest camp which was obstructed by a falling tree (they failed to inform us) and we ended up turning back after running into a stretch of deep river crossing as it was too late in the day to attempt. We ended up staying in the staff compound the night and it rained heavily.
The following morning we crossed the river, which was high, and at one point we could see that the river had broken its banks though had subsided enough for us to cross the only bridge into the park.
We camped for two days next to the Abaya Lake filled with hippos and crocs and on the second night it rained very heavily.
We decided to wait until 14h00 the next day to allow the water level to drop and on arrival to the bridge we were obstructed by a river that has burst it’s banks and completely flooded the bridge. I decided to recce the bridge and walked up to the bridge with a water level well above my knees; I was petrified of potential crocs and as I walked onto the bridge my one leg dropped downwards as if there was no bridge beneath me, I lucky managed to grab hold of the railings before being swept down.
So we were forced to camp on the road and wait for the water to recede. We also alerted the local Parks board of the bridge and our situation and were told there was nothing they could do and that it was the only way in and out the reserve. In hindsight, we should have made a point to look for alternate routes in case of heavy rains. We also had all our cloths drenched in out so called water tight front runner wolf packs!
The following morning was scary as the bridge was damaged. And the 1metre heavy flat metal slats had been washed out of position leaving a drop into the river below through the bridge struts and a danger for car wheels to drop through. The bridge was filled with wood debris.
To make maters worse is that after moving some of the wood to the side, the other side of the road was covered with a thick mud silt from where the river burst it’s banks, which was around 300mm deep to the thicker base.
We managed to pile a whole bunch of thick logs across the bridge struts to compensate for the missing plate and were hopeful that that the logs would take the cars weight.
Just then a vehicle could be heard driving towards us through the mud slick revving extremely high to maintain momentum and bogging down. That’s were I learnt that it’s the high revolutions that flick’s the mud out the groves. The parks board got stuck just on the other side of the bridge, but managed to get back onto the bridge for some rest bite.
All three of our vehicles used our tempory repair and drove out of the park with Nicky and I witnessing a leopard crossing on the way out which was simply spectacular!
What a relief, if the bridge was badly damaged, we could have been stuck for weeks.