Location: Masai Mara, Kenya
This year we drove down to Masai Mara to go on safari with some friends. If Thanksgiving last year felt a little odd and out of place, than I feel I must classify this year's Thanksgiving as unrecognizable. Unrecognizable but a lot of fun.
Masai Mara is a national game reserve in Kenya and connects with Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. By car, the Mara is about 3.5 hours from Nairobi and it is just completely amazing. We stayed 2 nights in one of the tented camps in the park although, it has to be said, the term "tented camp" is a bit misleading. Yes, technically, it was a camp and yes, we literally slept in a "tent" but it was the nicest tent I have ever stayed in. Comfy beds, full bath, electricity, and 4 course dinners at the lodge restaurant. Not exactly roughing it.
The first night there we went on a afternoon game drive with a local Maasi warrior as our guide and about 20 minutes into the drive our truck decided to break down. As our guide tried to fix the problem we got out to look around for a moment...only to book it back to the truck when we saw a hyena hanging out nearby. Somehow the idea of being eaten alive was not appealing. Best to wait in the big metal object. Soon, it became apparent that the truck was not going to work any time in the near future and our driver called for another means of transport to pick us up and continue the game drive.
After the minor vehicular hiccup, the game drive was near perfect. Our guide was great and we were extremely lucky and were able to see cheetahs, a leopard (with its morning kill up in a tree), elephants, lions, zebras, gazelles, antelopes, and giraffes all in one evening.
The next day Henry and I went on a day long game drive. Again, the day did not disappoint. We saw lions, lion cubs (insanely cute), wildebeest, cape buffalo, warthog families, more elephants, zebras, antelopes, gazelles, giraffe, and my personal tubby favorite, hippopotamus (aka hip-hop anonymous). Lunch was picnic style under a tree amidst a herd of wildebeest. In the afternoon, one of the most incredible parts of the day was coming across a pride of lions eating a recently killed antelope. We were about 8 feet away and could hear their teeth ripping away at the poor animal. Pretty unreal.
The next day we went on another early morning drive at sunrise. It was beautiful. There were hot air balloons in the sky. There were herds of zebra and wildebeest moving about. At this point on our safari, the only 1 of the big 5 we had yet to see was the rhino. And then - as if he knew - one showed up. Such a cute tub-a-lub. Our guide told us it is very rare to see a rhino at the park because there are so few of them in both Masai Mara and Serengeti. This made us feel very special.So, in short, the safari was one of the best experiences ever. As many are already aware, our next post is Nairobi and we will be moving there late next year. I absolutely fell in love with Masai Mara and am very glad that me and the hippos and the baby zebras will be neighbors soon.
More safari pics coming...to be continued...
Mom and baby giraffe...