The Weather in Kenya right now is
Maasai Mara in October
If you’re thinking of going on Safari, consider visiting the Maasai Mara in October. We travelled to Kenya on our Honeymoon and discovered a country full of surprises. It was also quite humbling. I can remember the airport transfer to our first overnight stop in Nairobi, the earthy fragrance that is uniquely African, the heat… and us Brits moaning about the rain back home. The minute the words left my mouth I regretted it. Actually, just before they left my mouth when the words are on their way but you can no longer reel them back in. Our driver politely reminded us that rain is somewhat sparse in Africa and people depend on it for survival. We never forgot that for the whole trip.
We met out guide after our transfer in a small plane. After going through ‘customs’ which turned out to be a small shed, we took to the sky. Not being used to a plane of this size it seemed to buffet around an awful lot, like something out of ‘Raiders Of The Lost Arc. I don’t think Harrison Ford would have gripped his seat so tightly though.
Aside from our minimalistic aircraft, there were forms of transport to consider that held greater implications. Those being how we took our Safari. In a Jeep / Camper-Van with a cut-out roof, or with a private guide in a Jeep. You see a lot of the Camper-Van things roaming around, usually with several people crammed inside – each one jostling for the next opportunity to crane out the roof to take a snap. Having opted for the private guide back home, we could now look forward to a Safari with a more personal touch. Obviously, this comes at a slight premium but in our opinion is worth every penny.
The order of wonderment
The order of wonderment is the only way I can describe the choice between which to do first – Tsavo or Maasai Mara. Luckily, we opted to see Tsavo first. Tsavo National Park is amazing don’t get me wrong, but nothing compares to the Maasai Mara. We met some people from Italy that had done it the other way around and regretted it. Tsavo is like a warm-up for the Maasai Mara. This is because whilst Tsavo has beautiful hippo pools and stunning wildlife, it can feel a little ‘man-made’. The tyre tracks seem worn into the red soil, and it’s as if the animals knew we were coming and had made themselves scarce.
The Maasai Mara, on the other hand, is an epic landscape that reminds you, in no uncertain terms that you are in the wild. Our guide assured us all was well and we set off. Our first experience was encountering a pride of Lions just as the evening was drawing in. Our hearts raced as we held onto each other (and our seats) tightly in the open-sided jeep. Wild Lions the size of 3 seater sofas were sitting about 12 feet away. Our guide calmly checked his spear and assured us they’d probably already eaten. He then checked his text messages which seemed odd in the circumstances, but the spear and traditional clothing seemed completed juxtaposed with the mobile phone. We slept well that night.
We were fortunate enough to also visit a Rhino Sanctuary whilst in Kenya. So sad that the number of animals like this has dwindled so much they have to be kept under armed guard in a Sanctuary.
Our arrival at the river’s edge was the most thrilling of the whole trip. Our guide had spotted Wildebeest on the plane and we had cautiously parked up so we could watch them drift across the plains. Suddenly the walkie-talkie crackled into life and our guide floored the Jeep. Hanging on to the guard rails in the Jeep we didn’t quite know what was going on. Is this guy hungry? are we heading back for an early lunch? None of those things. We soon realised he’d been told the Wildebeest were on the move across the river. At the start, he mentioned we may witness it, but we didn’t expect to actually see it so soon. The above footage was taken pre-iPhone so isn’t the best. But to be honest, we wanted to just watch this amazing event first hand and not see it through a view finder for too long. We saw Crocs the size of cars come up out of the water and take the weaker of the herd. Very sad to watch, but we were observing the circle of life.
After our first week, we needed to rest so now looked forward to finishing off our trip at Kiwayu Safari Village. We will write about that in our next post!