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Safari Paradise, Part II, Mt Kenya, Masai Mara (Maasai Mara)

September 9, 2010
Landcruisers for Safari

Two landcruisers picking us up from the airstrip of Masai mara. We had the one to the left for the whole MM trip in safaris. It was a soft-top Landcruiser that had a completely opened side and back which at times made us feel quite exposed and vulnerable when we were approaching lions in the wild

So here is part 2 of 3 of my Safari.  This is where the greatest safari experience  really began.  The animals we saw in Aberdare Park, The Ark, and Mt. Kenya seemed like mini safaris to prepare us  for the Big Kahuna….Maasai Mara!  From Mt Kenya, we took a mini-plane to Maasai Mara.  The flight is approx 1 hr direct.  I’ve been to many developing countries, but the local airstrips there, if you can even call them landing/airstrips, are small (aside from the ones in Nairobi).  There are no terminal buildings…just an outdoor area.  You land, and walk out onto an open area and that’s it.   When you arrive at  Masai Mara, SUV’s from your hotel will pick you up and drive you to the hotel.  Fairmont Safari Club was only approximately 5-10 minutes away, so it was super easy.     

While in the air, we were able to see the long-awaited wildebeests grazing in the Mara.  You literally see hundreds of thousands of specks on the ground like an army of ants.  It was phenomenal.  Tourists travel to Masai Mara primarily to see this amazing spectacle.  approximately 1.5 million wildebeests migrate to and from Tanzania and Kenya to find the grass to graze on.  Migration in Kenya, namely the Masai Mara, usually takes place from late July to mid-November.  We were there while the wildebeests were still coming in to the Mara.  It’s easy to tell how long they’ve been there by looking at the grass.  Before the herds make their way into Masai Mara, the grass is lush and long.  By the time they are finished, around November, the grass is literally all gone.  It’s as if thousands of people gathered with their lawnmowers and mowed the grass down as short as possible.  It’s an amazing sight to see.     

We stayed at the Fairmont Safari Club in Masai Mara for 4 days, each day with a different safari excursion.  The vehicles we previously rode in at Mt Kenya were essentially vans with part of the roof that can open up about 2 feet.  The vehicle that we had in the Mara was a Landcruiser that was completely open on every side…kind of like a open Jeep.  Quite intimidating when you know you’re going to be in the SUV while looking for LIONS and other wild cats and animals.  But I have to say, being in the Mara exposed like that was definitely the experience.     

Arriving at the hotel was a great experience as well.  Masai Mara hotels are not the typical hotels you see elsewhere.  They’re actually tent hotels.  So it’s a bit like high-end camping.  The tents at Fairmont are quite large and the inside varies a bit.  All the tents surround the Mara River.  The entrance to the tent is a patio which faces the river.  All guests have full view of the Mara river as well as the forest across from the river.  This makes for a most intimate setting.     

We were incredibly lucky to get one of the best tents in the camp.  All tents are essentially the same and are very good.  The exception to our tent was that most of the hippos stayed at the side of the river where our tent faced.  So we always had a view of the hippos.  And I must admit, we did not grow tired of watching them.  I mean, how often will we see hippos in our backyard and monkeys across the way?      

Each day at the MM was an adventure-filled day.  Of course, most of the adventure were while we were out in safaris.  You’d think that doing so many safaris would become boring, but each one gave us a different perspective.  Plus, we saw new animals on each expedition we were on.  As you will see in the pics, we visited a Masai village, went on a hot-air balloon safari, full day wildebeest safari, night safari, and a day (morning) safari – each giving us a new found appreciation of the wild.  Amazing.  Just thinking back makes me sentimental.     

Click on the pics to enlarge. It may take a few seconds as its a higher resolution picture. 

I’ve probably said this before – being in the wild, witnessing both the beauty and brutality of the animal kingdom gives me a much much higher level of appreciation and regard for our planet and the animals we often take for granted. It is so amazing how every animal in that one habitat has a purpose being alive and dead.  And I can almost see in their eyes this knowingness…like they all know their purpose and responsibilities.  That they understand the circle of life and their place in it.  It’s also easy to see how an ecosystem can be impacted if one species was to become extinct.  My epiphany was that the only species that would actually have a positive impact on the planet if it were to become extinct is the human species.  Sad, but true.  We reap the most out of this planet yet we benefit it the least.      

For more on Kenya please click Part I or Part III.   Hope you’re enjoying the pics!

For contact info for my tour guide in Kenya, please visit Part I

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One Comment
  1. Rochelle permalink

    For lack of a better word ….that was amazing! I only hope that I will one day be able to experience something like that!!

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