I was raised in Kenya but it may surprise you to know that only recently I went on my first real safari! My friends were amazed to hear that it was my first as Kenya is well-known for its wildlife. We were visiting my family in Africa after 5 years. We travelled to the Maasai Mara which is a large park reserve in South-Western Kenya and stayed for several days. I wasn’t really sure what to expect as I had heard wonderful stories about the Maasai Mara and how it is famous for the annual migration of zebra and the wildebeest from the Serengeti for a few months within each year. It was a 4 hour bumpy drive but well worth it. Once we entered the game park, we opened the roof of our mini-bus and watched the variety of animals as we drove by. What an incredible experience it was!
The next morning, we woke up just before dawn to see if we could witness a ‘catch’ (a lion or cheetah catching its prey for morning breakfast). I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to watch such a coveted event even though it’s part of nature. Instead, we were amazed and lucky enough to find not only a couple of lions but a whole pride of them striding beside our car and finally lazing about and playing on a grassy mound. What a sight! We waited awhile to see if they would chase some gazelles, but they were enjoying their own company too much in the early morning sun!
That afternoon, we saw a pack of elephants crossing the road right in front our car. We had been warned not to get too close to them especially when they have their young with them otherwise they feel threatened and may charge. We heeded the warning and kept a wise distance. The following day, however, we came across a different pack of elephants who had decided to stop traffic on the dusty road and cool themselves off by spraying mud water behind their ears from the puddle by the side of the road. They were engaged in this activity for quite some time. We waited awhile for them to move on but finally decided to drive off the road and past them in order to afford a safe distance (our mini-bus dealt a real beating driving on rough terrain). In addition to the elephants, we saw a rhino (i didn’t know that rhinos have poor eye-sight, yet a keen sense of hearing), giraffes, buffalos, warthogs, zebras, crocodiles, hippos and a multi-colored lizard. One of my highlights of the trip to the Maasai Mara was being able to touch an eeland that had been tamed. His mother had been eaten by a lion, so he was rescued at 3 days old and raised by the park wardens (you’ll see photos of him below).
That same morning, we had been told by the rangers about a lion and his lioness honeymooning. I had never heard of such a thing – yet when we found them, they were lying on the grass resting together side by side. Apparently they had been together for the last several days. Every 10 minutes, the lioness would rise and move a few yards and lie down once again and the lion would simply follow her everywhere she went. He was so affectionate towards her. It was fascinating watching a lion be so enamored of his lioness!
Our safari was wonderfully adventurous seeing so many diverse animals and watching them from the roof of our mini-bus. The Maasai Mara is a definite must-see that I would recommend to anyone traveling to Kenya! I took so many photos – it was hard to choose which ones to share with you. Here is a slide-show of a few of my favorite shots.