Where can someone see the most exciting event of the natural world, the wildebeest migration? One of the two sites where this happens is the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Maasai Mara. For three days, both Steve and I were full of anticipation.
Days 12, 13, 14: Maasai Mara National Reserve
Nature can and will act differently than one hopes. We visited the closest and a farther crossing on the Mara river, but the wildebeest migration was late this year. We did not see it in Kenya (it was a little bit disappointing) but we still had hopes for the Serengeti in Tanzania.
We went on a few safaris during these days and saw much exciting wildlife. Our driver-guide, Arif, even had a wonderful help in James, our Maasai wildlife spotter from the Hammerkop Migration Camp.
Naturally, we also enjoyed the beautiful landscape with its wavy grass and acacia trees and the infinite sky.
On the second day of our stay in Maasai Mara, we went on an all-day game drive where we had our picnic lunch in the “bush.” Not literally though. James served the food on the hood of the safari vehicle, dishes displayed on a Maasai blanket. No sitting though in the grass, just standing in the small shade of a tree. One must be ready for the unexpected in the wild.
That afternoon brought the first sighting of the king of the wild. In the shade of a tree, there he was, together with a few companions. The LION! We got close to them (about 10 meters = about 33 feet) and were observing them for a while. It seemed like they didn’t even take notice of us. Watching them was one of the most exciting things ever!
Then we saw more lions next to a pond near a small cave, and some others walking in the tall grass farther away from us. We could see them only through our binoculars, but not very clearly. They added to the total numbers of lions we saw that day, 13 out of the 400 living in Maasai Mara.
Of course, we saw lots more wildlife, including elephants,, topi antelope, zebras, buffalo, vultures, hyena, hippos, and impala. You cannot get tired of them!
In the morning of the third day in this national park, we visited a traditional Maasai village (stay tuned for a future post about our experience there) to get a glimpse into the culture of the Maasai people.
James truly had great eyes for spotting many animals, even a leopard. First, he noticed the kill (an impala or gazelle) hanging high in the tree. We were watching the kill for some time, when all of a sudden, the animal was there. Then we witnessed how he was feasting on his kill. Can you spot him? It’s very hard to photograph a leopard.
Although the migration didn’t appear, the Maasai Mara (which is one part of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem) was a definite highlight and we truly enjoyed the endless savannah. It was time to say goodbye to Arif after a fun 12 days in Kenya. Thank you, Arif, for the guidance, the adventure, and your many stories. And now we were off to Tanzania to try our luck there.