Kenya 2013 - Masai Mara06:55:00
People say Africa steals your heart. It certainly has stolen mine.
Photo: South Africa, 2014
I first went to Africa in summer (July/August) 2013 with my family for two weeks. We went to Kenya. I obviously didn't have this blog when I went to Kenya, but it remains one of the best holidays I have ever been on, so I thought I would share it with you, as part of a series of how I have fallen in love with Africa.
We spent one week on Safari: 4 days in the Masai Mara, and 3 days at Samburu National Reserve, and the second week at Diani beach. It had been my dream to go to Africa for my entire life. I grew up watching the Lion King on repeat, and it remains my favourite film to this day.
This holiday was everything I dreamed it would be. We were extremely lucky, and had some absolutely incredible wildlife sightings. If you are planning a safari holiday in Kenya, I would recommend going to both the Masai Mara and Samburu. They compliment each other beautifully.
The Masai Mara is world renowned as a great place to see the Big 5 and it did not disappoint. We stayed at a small lodge, called Kilima Camp. We lived in "permanent tents." These are basically big tents that have a secure and permanent structure. They also had a built in bathroom. The view from the lodge was incredible, as was the food and the people.
Our guide was amazing; he was kind, passionate, educational and made sure we had some unforgettable sightings. Lions, rhinos, elephants, hippos, wildebeests, crocodiles, zebras and much more! We also had a chance to meet some Masai people, and learn about there way of life. The wore beautiful, colourful clothes and had a unique perspective on the animals.
I recommend this time of year to visit the Masai Mara, to witness the Wildebeest Migration. Thousands upon thousands of wildebeest, gazelles, zebra and elands, as far as the eye can see. They come to the Masai Mara at this time of year for the fresh food and water. As part of their migration they cross the river, where the crocodiles await eagerly. Witnessing the crossing is now being considered one of the "7 new wonders of the world." It's a great opportunity to see wildlife; crocodiles, lions and other predators eagerly await the arrival of fresh prey.
While in the Masai Mara I saw mating lions. Male lions are even more magnificent than they seem in pictures. Hearing their roar is also something you can't recreate. The Masai Mara is a wonderful place to see lions. It's a picturesque savanna landscape; everything you picture Africa to be and more. It's a beautiful place, and as soon as you arrive you know where you are; you know you're going to love it.
We were lucky enough to see black rhinos. At the time I was there, the Masai Mara only have 3 there and we saw two of them. Black rhinos are even more rare than white rhinos and so this was incredibly lucky. They were also the first wild rhinos I've ever seen, and was when I first started learning about their situation and how unique and breathtaking they are.
The Masai Mara is also a great place to see elephants. We had some magnificent sightings. Our guide managed to get us close to them, although maintaining a distance of respect. Elephants have been one of my favourite animals for my entire life, and so seeing them in Africa was awe-inspiring. They live in a matriarchal society, and seeing how they love and care for their young was lovely to see. The guides know the warning signs of upsetting an animal, and when one female elephant flapped it's ears at us, we backed away and left them to it.
Overall, the Masai Mara is everything you picture an African landscape to be. The animals are unbelievable, the landscape is beautiful. If you are planning to visit Kenya at any point, I think you would be really missing something if you didn't visit the iconic Masai Mara. The whole place has a aura about it that nature should; untouched.
Of course, it's not untouched, and the animals are more comfortable around people and vehicles than they would be. But they have strict rules about staying on the roads, and not crowding the animals.
I wholeheartedly recommend the Masai Mara as a place to see the African savanna in all its glory and the beautiful African animals you can't see anywhere else.
All photos in the post were taken by myself, or a member of my family on our trip.