The whole thing began in April of last year when my partner’s project fell into a slow period, and my responsibilities also slowed for a brief period. We had planned for our journey to Kenya in the middle of May, even though it wasn’t the most ideal migration season. With the Yellow Fever vaccine being in place, we eagerly awaited our journey to the ultimate safari destination and the world’s largest wildlife sanctuary. We took part in the six-night/7-day tour package. Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya always evoked in my images of animals wading through the Mara River, and the red-clothed Masais strolling across the Savannahs. We are now here to be able to experience it all and more – Jumbo (Hello) Kenya!
When we arrive at Jomo Kenyatta Intl Airport, Nairobi and we begin a the city for a brief tour around Nairobi which is a city full of a variety of. The market is crowded with hawkers and we can find groups engaged in lively discussions at every turn. After dinner, we’re in mosquito nets for six hours.
The next morning we set off on the road for 3.5 hours driving up to The Ark Tree lodge in Aberdare National park, enjoying stunning perspectives of Mt. Kenya while driving there. Beautiful, forested ravines and open moorland make up the park. You can witness herds of buffaloes elephants, black rhinos, and sometimes the leopard! In the heart of the famous Park, This Lodge is situated in the salt lick and a waterhole that is floodlit. lake. There are four viewing areas in the Lodge to take in the constant animals that roam the region. The salt lick, which is open to the air, is a place of meeting between predators and prey. The intensity of the conflict between them in the view of you is a stunning sight! We are able to see young hyenas that appeared at peace while digging up bones from the droppings of a leopard. The elephants dominate the scene. We do not venture to search for the animals, they visit us instead!
The ranger who lives there will notify your room in case an interesting animal appears at the waterhole at the night-one for Elephant Two for Rhino Three for Leopard and four for odd sightings! 6.30 Amaxylophone plays along the corridors for a wake-up call. It’s an unforgettable experience!
The next stop is the amazing Sweet Waters Game Sanctuary In time to eat food on The Tented Camp. The most thrilling part is crossing over the Equator Line near Nanyukiwhere the line is marked. We take photos to preserve the moment. ……… Then we spot an individual demonstrating how to use the Coriolis Effect- A match stick is rotated clockwise direction when water is which is poured into a container that is held at 10 inches on the northern end of the Equator, and in the opposite orientation on the south side. However, when it is it is placed directly on the surface of the ocean, the match stick floats in the water and does not move. A fascinating experiment!
Sweet Waters Tented Camp is an exquisite blend of under-canvas ambiance and luxury safari with stunning panoramas, from the wildlife-decorated plains to the mountains of snow that make up Mount Kenya. The waterhole in this camp effectively allows the wildlife of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy into the central area of the camping. It is home to a variety of animals, such as impala white rhinos, rare Grevy’s Zebra, and the reticulated giraffe. It is possible to get in close proximity to wildlife as the waterhole is secured by a secure electric fence. After lunch, we go to our favorite place, the Chimpanzee Sanctuary, which provides an environment that is safe for chimps who have been abandoned and orphaned. Incidentally, we also visit the graveyard of Sudan which is the world’s only white rhino male that passed away in Kenya at 45 years old only a few months before our trip.
The view of the animals in the dining room makes you realize that you’re immersed in a wooded area. Exciting!! It was exciting! Staff is here to help you turn your bed in the evening and put the hot water bottle under your bed when it becomes cold in the evenings. This was another exciting experience! This sanctuary is home to the Big Five (elephant rhino, lion, rhino buffalo, leopard, and rhino).
The journey of five hours to the stunning freshwater of Lake Naivasha on the bumpy road can be described as an “African massage” as our driver amusingly said. We do not waste time taking an excursion on a boat within the lake which is an uninspiring landscape of barren trees, and head to search for its most threatening vegetarian occupant Hippos! We head toward the inlet that is less populated where the waves wash in floating plant debris. And in the nick of time, we can see tiny eyes, tiny ears, and grumpy snouts dangling amid the floating debris. We had indeed discovered hippos! The hippos are quiet and are snuffling a bit, but not snuffling their huge mouths towards us in a dangerous display!
We take a stroll along the road that leads to our lodge with waterbucks, giraffes, and Zebras! The resort is a stop-over for hippos who come from the lake each evening to cut the vast grass. It is not allowed to explore the grounds by ourselves after dark, and the security guards always accompany us. If you spot a hippo in the window you’ll know the reason!
We will visit Masai Mara, the world-famous reserve for wildlife on the final day of our safari. It is home to the Masais one of the oldest living tribes in the world. The road we were on turned into a bumpy road and our car were shifting and turning when it struck the pits that were uneven! Flying is the better alternative if you have the money to pay. We have been informed by the Chinese are currently working on the construction of roads that are safe around the country, something we have seen.
A trip through the gorgeous Great Rift Valley escarpment is amazing when the slopes become greener, the settlements are less numerous and wildlife sightings become more frequent. We can see the Masais walking along the roads wearing their traditional red attire. It starts to pour heavily while we wait in the car in front of the Reserve Entry Gates. We soon arrive at the tranquil and friendly Tipilikwani camp, which is called the Mara. It is not uncommon to see animals wandering around the camp during the night. The guests are forbidden from going out on their own at sunset and are followed by guards to eat their meals or any other time they feel like.
The excitement is palpable as we embark on the Mara Safari-Epic safari together with Kantaa our English driver who is a fluent English guide. In a thrilling game-viewing tour seeing Cheetahs, lions, as well as other stunning predators, prove to be the most exciting part of the agenda. Added to this is the amazing vista of large expanses of rolling Savannah landscape; and rainbows. Safariconjures images of a truck bouncing over the dusty roads of a wildlife sanctuary, with eager photographers leaning out of it. We experienced all of this and more! Even though the rains have stopped, they’ve already created a puddle of water along the muddy roads. Our safari vehicle begins to get sloppy and slips with every twist. The night slowly turns to darkness. Then Kantaai is able to turn around and head towards some trees which a few other SUVs are speeding towards. Wow! What a sight! In a state of hypnosis, we can are able to see three lions – a male and two females, lying in a slumber between them and staring down at the vehicles parked around them! After five minutes, the vehicle speeds forward and we can see a group of elephants moving silently along our road. It is magical and it’s Africa! We had to return to camp fast or the staff of the resort will send park rangers to search for us.
We’re early risers and are set off for an exciting game drive. We are the first to spot the leopard in a tree which is where we watched it eat an Impala. The fully grown lions stare at us in a direct manner with the closest one being just 5 feet away from the vehicle. We are shivering with fear. Kantaai confirms that the lions enjoyed killing a few hours ago, and were not eager to hunt any moment now. We truly hoped they would do that they would!
We see cheetahs chase Antelopes; massive, amazing elephants; ostriches soaring across and so much more! The jeep is stuck in the muddy puddles and that’s when we felt it was an actual safari. We wait half an hour until help arrives. We were standing there, nervously and suddenly feeling a bit frightened since it’s a very dangerous world that is out there! Thank God that the safari jeeps in the vicinity help us and we soon get clear in the thick slush! The forest track is a bit sluggish, but we had a great time and enjoyed our adventure to the max.
After lunch, we head off to Masai Mara village, where we are welcomed warmly by a number of Masais and a few of them fluently speaking English. In their traditional dress with their lean, upright bodies, and ceremonial staffs, we get to enjoy a number of the traditional Masai dances performed by the lively males. They dance their jumps with enthusiasm that is bubbling and an aboriginal bush cry that they release frequently.
The men of the community wear colorful clothing with red shawls, and women wear red gowns, earrings, and necklaces. It is believed that the African lion is terrified by the red-clothed Masai warrior! Then we’ll enter the Masai home. It’s dark and smokey with only one window for ventilation, and an entrance door on the opposite side, which allows for access. The Masais are agrarians and are primarily dependent on their milk and blood. Visitors are invited to refinish the blood of cattle inside a hardened gourd flask!
Then, the Masais show off their skills before us. The men make fire from sticks, while women sell their own handmade items including beads, tiny decorative items, and more. We can see how Masai culture is slowly moving towards a more civilized life however in the same way, it still maintains an extremely basic lifestyle. The young Masai we met was wearing his traditional red checked costume and Nike sneakers and the latest Smartphone!
At night where we can hear the sounds of the nearby stream, and occasionally, the occasional growl, tweet, and roar from the residents of the Reserve. The moonlight shining across the sky as well as the steps of our Masai guards could be heard among the rustling leaves and the movements of the nighttime residents!!
Kenya is sure to enthrall you. It will surely surprise you and could cause addiction, but if you’re hoping to have the most memorable safari, it never fails! Gazelles and zebras in herds gazed at us with sad eyes when we bid goodbye to Masai Mara.