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Published: August 9th 2014
What more can you ask for? A balloon ride over the Maasai Mara watching the sunrise and the wildebeest migration, a leopard with a fresh kill up a tree, lion prides sitting by the roadside, cheetahs playfully attempting to mate ( one more willing than the other), vultures feeding off a zebra carcass left by lions from the day before, giraffes sitting under a tree, elephants wandering past while you have a picnic lunch and a lion so thirsty she has dropped to the side of the road to drink from a puddle left by last night's rain.
We asked for and got the crossing of the wilderbeest over the Mara river but with only a minute to spare.
Two days of Kenya that could not be topped. Our balloon ride started with a 4:30 wake up call but it was worth it. The peace and quiet of the Mara watching the migration of the wilderbeest . They look like a line of ants meandering across the plains. Each year they foal in the Serengeti in Tanzania and then eat their way towards the Maasai Mara in Kenya. For some reason they
think that it is important to cross the Mara river and graze on the other side until about September when they cross back again and the cycle begins again. After landing we were treated to a hot cooked breakfast with champagne, of course, set up on the plains before setting off on a morning game drive back to camp. We were treated to a lion and the photo I had been looking for all trip, that of a giraffe eating the foliage from the iconic African acacia tree ( the one that has the umbrella shape).
The next day we were off to try and see the iconic part of the migration, "the crossing". A long day was promised - it all depended on the timing. We set off and as usual stopped to watch the various animals that crossed our path . Vultures feasting on the kill of yesterday, a zebra. Then we came across two cheetahs that were attempting to mate. Perhaps it was the number of vehicles loaded with passengers that was making the female less than agreeable, we don't know, but after a while we left. We heard on the radio later that rangers had
moved the vehicles away and a few minutes later the deed was done. Obviously not a spectator sport.
We continued on to a spot where we could see the river with the wilderbeest gathering on the other side. The crossing could take place shortly, in a few hours or days. We lined up with other vehicles about 200 metres from the edge of the river. About 1 minute later all hell broke loose and we were driving with the others to the edge of the river. it was like a Le Mans start to a race.
The crossing had begun. The wilderbeest ran down one side with dust billowing everywhere and they emerged in the water and up the other side in the front of us. They follow each other like sheep. At one stage they stopped and all gathered at the top not knowing what to do until one of them braved it and started running then the others followed. It continued for five or six minutes until they started to emerge at a different spot and gather in large numbers there. One turns around and runs back to where they had come from and the others
follow. Suddenly it is over. They will try again but it could be in an hour, tomorrow or three days time.
We had now seen the migration yesterday and the crossing today. Magical!!!
We left the area and stopped for a picnic. We laid some blankets on the ground under an acacia tree , got out our lunch packs and ate our lunch as a group of elephants walked past us about 100 metres away. Obviously not worried by our presence.
After lunch we returned to our lodge but not before we stopped to look at a leopard up a tree with a kill - a young antelope. He looked very satisfied but would not move so that we could get great photos - we only got good ones. On the road again and our cameras put away yet again we stopped to see a lion beside the road drinking from a puddle caused by last night's rain. Couldn't resist the photo with his reflection in the puddle.
Another magical day in Kenya
Home now - now to trawl through the hundreds/ thousands of photos
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