While I was in Nairobi, I had the opportunity to go on a safari to the Masai Mara. The Masai Mara is connected to the Serengeti and is the side of the park that lies within Kenya’s borders. The animals are able to move freely throughout the two parks. As I had such a good experience in the Serengeti, and had heard good things about the Mara, I elected to do a 3 day trip to there.
It took us about 6 hours to get there from Nairobi, but the scenery on the way there was stunning. We stopped for some pictures at the Great Rift Valley, which stretches from Ethiopia all the way to Tanzania. From the lookout point, you could see for miles. We also stopped at a Masai Village, but given my experience in the Serengeti, I opted to sit that one out and hangout near the car.
We arrived to the Masai Mara around 4pm, and entered the park for an evening game drive. It was interesting to see the stark contrast between here and the Serengeti. A month had passed between my two visits, and the Mara’s landscape was much more green and hilly in comparison. There also were more trees and vegetation as compared to the flatlands and acacia trees of the Serengeti.
One of the first animals we came across were a mother elephant and her calf, about 4 years old. We were able to watch the baby nurse from the mother, a cool sight to see. Next we came across a male lion sleeping in the grass next to its recent kill, a poor unfortunate buffalo. Our guide, Jackson, told us, that it looked like the kill was only a few hours old.
Throughout the drive that day, we came across many of the obligatory impala/wildebeest/zebra/buffalo, grazing in the open grasses. Jackson then got word over the radio, that lions had been spotted. We headed over to where they were, 3 lionesses and 2 cubs lounging on the rocks. One of the cubs was feeding from a sleeping lioness, her belly and back legs up in the air in a relaxed pose. After seeing a leopard in the trees, some giraffes, more elephants, and ostriches, the sun had set and it was time to head to our camp for the next 2 days, which was right outside the park borders.
We woke up around 6am, had a quick breakfast and headed into the park. Unfortunately we missed the sunrise. We first headed to the same spot where we saw the lions the day before. Sure enough, the mother lioness was still there with her two cubs. The cubs were very active, running around and play fighting with each other.
The next cool thing we came across was a lone cheetah, just feet away from the path. She was lying in the short grass, and was not fazed as we drove up alongside her. Up close, we were able to see the detailed spots on her fur, as well as the black marks that run down her face from the eyes to reduce glare from the sun.
The rest of the day we saw more of the same animals mentioned above, and even stopped for a photo opportunity at the border that divides the Masai Mara with the Serengeti, with 20 meters in between the two parks considered to be “no man’s land”.
Today we only had a short morning drive before it was time to begin the drive back to Nairobi. The most interesting part of the drive was the double rainbow that we saw. The dark sky and green vegetation provided good contrasts to the bright colors, proving that animals aren’t the only amazing sights to see on a safari.