It’s been a while. I’m sure you all have noticed the lack of regular posts on the blog. I have been quite busy and it doesn’t help that I have not had the chance to travel of late.
I visited the Masai Mara last year, you can check out the original post here. As promised I will be sharing some of the images and highlights of that trip that I did not manage to fit in that last post.
Image Source Christopher Michel
The Mara River – a natural frontier that separates the Mara in Kenya and Serengeti in Tanzania – is one of the places I just had to visit. The river is the stage of one of the world’s most spectacular natural events – a movement of animals so immense, that it has been dubbed one of the “Seven New Wonders of the World”. Over two million wildebeest and other herbivores migrate from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the greener pastures of the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya from July through to October.
The Wildebeest migration. Image Source Simon Belcher
Well, I visited the Mara just when the migration had ended so I wasn’t able to witness the amazing spectacle.
Not everyone makes it.
Scenes from my walk along the Mara River. You’re not permitted to walk alone, any person(s) must be accompanied by an armed guard.
I got to see lots of animals that somehow made up my missing the migration. The extremely knowledgeable guides go out of their way to make sure the guests see everything there is to see. The game drivers always alert each other via radio especially when they spot lions. So as soon as our driver was alerted of a lioness in the vicinity we drove off to the spot. There she was walking stealthily up the river bank. Below were some zebras quenching their thirst.
After a quick lunch break it was soon time to go back to the camp.
This little guy wanted to join us for lunch
The drive back to the camp was quite long but I didn’t mind since there was loads too see. The Mara is just the picture perfect location for that African acacia tree sunset cliché .
You know the one: a blood-red sinking sun, throwing a lone acacia tree into relief as twilight sinks over the savannah. You probably remember it from the Lion King. And according to dozens of publishers and designers, it’s the platonic ideal for book covers relating to Africa. – KELSEY CAMPBELL-DOLLAGHAN
The Masai Mara has lots of those (the lone trees) which if timed during the perfect sunrise/sunset will get you that cliché African book cover.
Lone trees aside there were still more animals to be seen Lions, Cheetahs, Elephants, Impala, Giraffes, Zebras, Hyenas, etc .
After a long day driving around the reserve we decided to go visit a Masai Village – a walking distance from Rhino Camp. The price ksh 600 ($6) per head after negotiating with one of the village representatives.
The visit started of with a traditional dance performed by the men of the village. It was far too dark for me to take good photos of the dance. Afterwards they demonstrated how to make fire. This was done using two pieces of wood. The stick is made of cedar and the bottom piece of wood is softer. Once there are enough ashes they’re put onto some tinder and the flame.
We then took a tour of the manyattas (traditional dwelling of the Masai) and even got to taste their traditional brew. I know it looks nasty but it was actually really good, it tasted quite sweet because of the honey. The floating bits you see are the remnants of a honeycomb.
I find it interesting learning about other people’s cultures but I am generally hesitant when it comes to things like village visits. It was obviously all for show, the dances, fire-making etc which I didn’t mind because it is exactly what I had been expecting. I do understand that revenue from such village visits is one of the ways some of the locals that live near the Mara make a living. My biggest concern however is one can never be quite sure if the revenue such visits generate gets to those who need it most.
Nevertheless I did enjoy my visit and if anyone was interested in making a similar visit I would not dissuade them.
The Masai Mara experience is really one of a kind. Arguably this is the best place on earth where you could see the big 5 in abundance.
I was in the Masai Mara outside of the main migration period. Still I got to experience the real magic of the Mara. The beauty of the quiet season: you get to see all the usual wildlife attractions, minus the human traffic, even though the herds are on a much smaller scale. Sometimes we were the only vehicle we could see anywhere a midst the vast Savannah plains.
For any seasoned safari traveler, I highly recommend visiting the Mara in the quiet season – it’s a whole new experience without losing any charm and much cheaper too.