AFRICA: Safari in the Maasai Mara National Reserve
Lions, elephants, hyenas, leopards, monkeys, gazelle and antelopes galore, crocodiles, wildebeest, zebras… The list goes on and on of animals you see on a daily basis when on safari. It is truly amazing to witness how they act in the wild and how close the drivers take you into the action. Most of them know a lot about the animals and their behaviors. Take our guide Henry from the Fairmont Mara Safari Club. He is outstanding! Really knows his stuff and makes everyone feel comfortable with his extraordinary personality. Two thumbs up for this great tour guide. Hopefully, if you decide to visit Kenya and stay in the Fairmont Mara Safari Club, you are privileged with Henry as your driver and tour guide.
I, personally, didn’t think we were going to be so lucky in seeing all of these beautiful animals right off the bat. I had in mind going to a spot and sitting there for a few hours, waiting for something to pop out. Thankfully, this is not how safari’s work. They literally drive around looking for the animals and radio each other if they spot something like one of the big cats or one of the Top 5 Big Game in the park. The Top 5 Big Game being the lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant.
Luckily, we have Henry and his skills in finding these wild beings. The very first day here, we were able to spot a leopard eating it’s pray in a tree! Now, for those of you who don’t know, spotting a leopard on safari is extremely rare and not easy seeing as they are shy and do not like to be seen so they hide high up in the trees and in the bushes which makes them nearly impossible to spot. They do not hunt, they surprise/ambush their pray while they have strayed from they’re group in the bushes and drag them up the tree so that other predators cannot steal it away. Henry and his friends do it without a problem. Put it this way, it’s like finding a needle in a hay stack. And with their help, we have seen the lion, elephant, leopard and buffalo but not yet the rhino out of the Big 5. But, we’ve also seen others that are not part of the Big 5 such as the giraffe, the hippo, crocodiles, and hyenas along with others.
We also had the privilege to watch the crossing after just getting to the Mara River, where as others go and sit for hours on end without seeing them cross. You see, the wildebeest and zebras are the ones who cross the Mara River to get from the Maasai Mara to the Serengeti in Tanzania. The zebras are the ones who start crossing and the wildebeest follow in the thousands. The thing is that there are crocodiles and hippos up and down the river banks. This makes them scared to go in the water. So, the zebras and wildebeest together will go to the water’s edge, take a few steps in, regret it and run back out. This can go on for hours. We were lucky enough to only wait about 10-15 minutes before they dove in and the action started. Surprisingly so, the crocodiles seemed to be full and did not even try to eat any of the animals crossing. On a funny note, did you know that they do not cross the Mara River just once? They cross back and forth until they keep migrating further away from the river. Strange and unexplained, yes, but also very true. while we were there, the zebras crossed over and then within the hour, crossed back over to hour side. Makes no sense but that’s why they have instincts not reasoning. (lol)
Today, we visited a Maasai Village. Interesting to see their culture still active even though we are in the 21st Century. We were able to see inside of their walls and tour the inside of their homes. They explained to us how the village houses were made by the women and how they collect different materials from the environment to build them like the clay from the ground to make the walls and roof of their very small homes. We learnt the reason why they wear such bright colors, especially reds, is to scare off predators like lions, leopards and hyenas. Also, they are not allowed to hunt in the Maasai Mara National Reserve Park, so they raise cattle and goats for food (very few chicken). When they need something like beads for making necklaces or bracelets to sell, they may trade goods with other tribes or markets if they do not have enough money to buy the supplies.
Their tribes consist of about 150 people and the older men of the tribe may have other families in other tribes. The young men taking care of the tribe while the others are out visiting their families in other tribes range from ages about 15 to 30. The future chief of the tribe, son of the chief, was our “tour guide” for the village and translator if we had any questions. He was only 17 years old. It seems they do not go to a hospital or clinic when sit or are in labor. Everything is resolved within the tribe.
Well, this is what we’ve done on safari so far… We’ll keep you posted and we’ll have a review after all of this of the entire trip. Thanks for reading! 🙂
Posted on September 9, 2015, in Award Travel Tips, Fairmont Hotels, Masai Mara Kenya, Photography, Top things to do, Travel Ideas, Travel Tips, Trip Reports and tagged Africa, amazing, beautiful, elephants, Fairmont Mara Safari Club, giraffe, Henry the tour driver, hyenas, kenya, lions, Maasai mara, Mara river, Mara village, once in a lifetime, safari, the great migration, unforgettable, wildebeest, zebra. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.