Masai Mara


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Africa » Kenya » Rift Valley Province » Masai Mara NP
October 11th 2019
Published: November 26th 2019
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The DudesThe DudesThe Dudes

Masai Warriors
So here we are, Masai Mara, another mythical place for me, and with the opportunity to meet the Maasai themselves I was pretty stoked for this leg of the tour...we arrived at our campsite mid-afternoon, and after sorting out the tents we were given the option of visiting a Maasai village before heading out for the first game drive, didn't take a whole lot of convincing for me...haha...six of us signed on for the visit, and shortly thereafter a Maasai guide came to get us and escort us to the nearby village...we were greeted by the chief's son, and after a briefing of what the visit was going to comprise (and settling the agreed upon payment to do so) we were off and running...

We were welcomed into the village with some ceremonial dancing, and then myself and fellow G adventurer Kevin were invited to join in with the festivities, complete with donning the traditional checked Shuka which was really cool...I thought all the Maasai wore red but was to learn that every tribe under the Maasai umbrella each have their own colours, similar I guess to the tartans of the clans in Scotland...lots of fun, got into the chanting and the obligatory jumping (did a bit better than in Samburu but not even close to the warriors' heights...*sigh*...haha...), and even got to sport a lion-skin hat, which was surprisingly heavy...we were then shown how to start a fire without matches, basically creating friction with a tree branch on a board, and although we were invited to try and thought we were doing fine there was sadly no fire to be seen...

After the welcome we were divided up into pairs and assigned a guide to show us the village and one of their huts...we ended up with the chief's son again so proceeded to go to his house where he explained the layout and construction methods, then sat down and chatted for a while...it was really cool and pretty intimate, was not expecting essentially a one-on-one opportunity to ask questions and learn about their culture so absolutely wonderful...after asking him a bunch of questions we asked if he had any for us, and after thinking about it for a moment his first question was "is polygamy practiced in your culture"...had a chuckle about that, it is certainly the way of the Maasai but obviously not so much in our culture, we all learned something that day...

Visit was coming to an end, and after the obligatory parade around the souvenir tables our vehicles arrived to grab us for the safari, so we said our thanks and goodbyes and off we went...fantastic experience with our first taste of Maasai culture, looked forward to more in Tanzania...

Back in the van and bumping along, fortunately the entrance to the park was nearby...once again did not have to wait long before we came upon herds of gazelles and zebras, and to our surprise and delight two cheetahs were spotted! We had had a quick peak at one in Samburu, but here were two adults walking parallel to the road, and slowly making their way towards us, amazing...we followed them for what seemed like half an hour, they crossed the road in front of us and then back again a little ways down, beautiful site...they settled for a bit on a mound to survey the surroundings before seemingly growing tired of the attention and disappearing into the brush...absolutely magnificent creatures, brilliant start to our Masai Mara visit...

Came across more of the usual suspects: giraffes, zebras, gazelles etc...it was
Relaxing...Relaxing...Relaxing...

...still can't believe how close we got...
funny how the enthusiasm was now dropping for some of these animals due to numerous sightings, something I would dub as "Safari Snobbery", "oh look, another zebra...*yawn*...", haha...I didn't mind though, once again it gave you the opportunity to put the camera down and just observe the daily routine...I mean hey, we're in Kenya, in the Masai Mara, pretty dang cool...

Full day of safari the next day, managing to catch some more zebras, hyenas and elephants, along with some new animals to us in the famous wildebeest, ostrich, mongoose (mongeese???) and jackal to name a few...was able to get really close to some sleeping male lions, and some better views of hippos, most excellent..

Wonderful lunch on the plains, again nice to be able to get out of the vehicle and stretch our legs...some more driving around looking for animals when we came upon the banks of the Mara River, and to our surprise were able to get out the van again...river was pretty far down from the edge, 20-30 feet or so and from our vantage point we could see a handful of crocs chilling out along the banks, some pretty big ones too...further down was a pod of hippos cooling off in the water, and it was here we were shown the famous spot where the migration of wildebeest are always filmed crossing and trying to avoid the crocs, couldn't believe it! Also couldn't believe how steep the banks were on either side, I've seen the crossing many times on tv but it would be absolutely mind-blowing to witness the chaos in person...

Some late afternoon touring around and then started heading back towards camp when we spied a lioness not far from the road (or more exactly we saw other vehicles bunched together which generally means wildlife)...it had been a long day so I think we were all looking forward to getting back and relaxing, and with the safari snobbery in effect ("oh look, another lion") we probably didn't need to pull over and stop but was certainly glad we did...she was just kinda chilling out in the grass, then slowly moved into some shrubbery where I thought she was going to nap but then emerged a few minutes later and seemed to be staring at something to our left...I then noticed the herd of wildebeest, with about a dozen or so kind of separated from the main herd, and then one in particular that was grazing on their own...the lioness got down into a crouch and started slinking towards the wildebeest, when all of a sudden she bolted towards it, game on! The wildebeest jumped and started to run with the lioness in hot pursuit, and after zigging and zagging a few times was able to elude her, couldn't believe our fortunes at seeing a hunt, fantastic! Think I was the only one in the van cheering for the lioness, lots of sighs of relief when the wildebeest got away...haha...

Finished up the following morning with a final game drive, a beautiful day and lots of animals, again magical...sadly our time in both Masai Mara and Kenya itself was coming to an end, we spent the rest of the day on the long drive back to Nairobi where it had all began...amazing, really enjoyed my time here: the parks were all different and beautiful in their own way, the variety and quantity of the animals we saw was absolutely crazy, and of course meeting the Masai was a huge highlight...my expectations were pretty high for this entire trip, and I can easily say they had been completely surpassed to this point...we would be saying goodbye to some of the folks that night, and then eight of us would be back on the road the following morning for an overland journey to Tanzania and the start of the next chapter in this adventure...


Additional photos below
Photos: 36, Displayed: 27


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MasaiMasai
Masai

...how many does it take to make fire??
Lunch TimeLunch Time
Lunch Time

Cheetah mowing down on a Gazelle, must have just missed the hunt...
Ostrich Family...Ostrich Family...
Ostrich Family...

...out for a stroll with the wee ones...


28th November 2019

Great blog. Very interesting and useful. Thank you.
I would like to know if you traveled in the area on your own, with a local guide, with a package pre booked. I am planning this trip and I would like to have some information. Thank you so much. Hugs from Argentina.
28th November 2019

Thanks Grace...
...glad you liked the blog...we did the Kenya safaris with a company called G Adventures (also stayed with them for safaris in Tanzania and the Kilimanjaro climb which I will be doing future blogs on...). They are a Canadian based company that we have used before (Peru and Tibet) and have been really happy with them...it's mid-range traveling, no fancy hotels and in this case we camped the entire time (with the exception of transit hotels at the beginning of each week), but the costs reflect this, they are really well organized and I like the fact that they use local people as the guides/porters etc., and invest back into the communities via several initiatives... I don't think you can do the parks we did on your own, and even if you could the driver and guide's knowledge of the parks was invaluable in that they seemed to know where most of the animals would be...Kili climb I know you can't do on your own.. Our last week we went to Zanzibar, again eventually a blog will be done about that, and that portion we did on our own, pretty straightforward... Hope that answers your questions, if not please ping me again and I will let you know what I know...hugs back from Canada!
29th November 2019
Giraffe II

The joys of Africa
Giraffe's are majestic and graceful. One of my favorites. MJ
29th November 2019
Giraffe II

Absolutely...
I have to agree, they weren't one of the animals I was busting to see when I went but up close and in the wild they are beautiful...zebras caught me off guard as well, their markings seen up close are magnificent...
1st December 2019
Recon

Magnificent!
How beautiful are these two? It seems like you got very lucky with all your wildlife spotting, so sounds like early Oct is a good time of year for this trip. I would love to hear more about the camping and food/cooking part of the trip :)
4th December 2019
Recon

Lucky indeed...
Cheetahs were big on my list, spent about half an hour with these two which was magical...still can't believe how close we got to not only these cheetahs but pretty much all the rest of the animals as well...I would say October is a good time, the foliage is pretty brown as it waits for the rainy season, but easier to spot the animals...I'm sure anytime is good but can vouch for October...food overall was really good, we had cooks on our tours that prepared simple but delicious meals: always a soup to start (typically a vegetable of some sort), lots of rice, beans, etc but some chicken and Kenya dude prepared some ground beef meatballs and samosas that were amazing...please ping me with any questions, always appreciate your comments and glad to help where I can...
4th December 2019

Lovely
Thanks for another wonderful chapter.......loved the hippos.
4th December 2019

Thanks Tat...
...in my unofficial poll the hippos seem to be leading favourites of the animals...

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