Maasai Mara

Single male elephant in the Savannah

Single male elephant in the Savannah

Safari is a kiswahili word meaning ” to go”, to go on a trip.

Meryl Streep/ Karen Blixen: Did you think you would stay for the night?

Robert Redford/ Denis Finch-Hatton: I can’t I’ve booked a safari. I’m going to the Mara.

Out of Africa. Click here to read an article about Karen Blixen and her home in Nairobi

The largest wildlife reserve of Kenya

Wildebeest feeding

Wildebeest feeding

Maasai Mara is known as the largest wildlife reserve in Kenya. It’s named after the river Mara which is shared with Tanzania, and famous for being crossed in June and October by the wildebeest which migrate South to Tanzania’s Serengeti National Reserve.  It’s very risky….many of them are killed by the crocodiles.

In Tanzania, the name of the territory is Serengeti. The reserve is shared by both countries, Tanzania having the largest portion of it. It is 25000 km2 out of which  1800 km2 are located in the Kenyan territory. It’s at 1600 m altitude, which means that it’s not as hot as we could expect.

Sausage tree

Sausage tree

In Maasai Mara, the mountains are purple, the sky is deep blue, the grass of the savannah is the same colour as the lions fur and on the trees, sausages grow. They are used by the Maasais to make beer (check this article regarding how they make beer out of the fruit of the sausage tree).

Animals of the Mara

River Mara, Hippopotamus and Egyptian goose

River Mara, Hippopotamus and Egyptian goose

Maasai Mara is home to what we call the big five: lions, rhinos, elephants, buffalos, hippos. But the rhinos…. well it myself I didn’t get see a single one. For that you have to go to Nairobi National Park where there are many of them. Maasai Mara is also home to the three big cats: lions, leopards and cheetah. Leopards are nocturnal animals which hunt at night. It’s difficult to spot them even

Cheetah

Cheetah

at night. During the day time they stay in their trees. All I can say is that even knowing that there is a leopard in one particular tree, it is still difficult to spot. This is what happened in Nairobi Safari Walk. The guide told me, spot the leopord in the tree… guess what the three must have been 40 meters tall and the leopard was happily sitting at one of its top branches!

Portrait of her majesty

Portrait of her majesty

Of course there are many other beautiful animals : grazing animals as well as truly amazing birds… Click on this link to get an overview of the birds I saw

Animals I hadn’t even seen in spite of being a Planet Earth fan!

A dream came true

As a child when everyone used to hang pictures of pop stars, in my room there were photos of cheetahs and leopards. It was my childhood dream to come to Kenya to

Group of female impala

Group of female impala

see the wildlife.  Not any other country: just Kenya. When I arrived after contemplating the beauty of the landscapes of the Rift Valley, I was so happy that I kept repeating: ” I am so lucky, I am so lucky” and it filled me with joy. Seeing animals hunt is very rare indeed. There were people who had done several safaris who had never come accross a hunt.

A group of buffalos

A group of buffalos

For a hunt to happen before your eyes there is a combination of factors that must occur: first hungry predator -lions eat once every three four days…, secondly an imprudent animal caught by surprise… thirdly  the speed of the animals at race is not something easy to cope with for the predator, so the hunt is not always successful…and last but indispensable: you to be there at the right time and place… In fact getting to see that can be called a miracle… unless you are National Geographic and are posted there for months with radars on animals. Our guide said in seven years of his career he had only seen two hunts ending up with a killing.

There is also space for such elegant ladies

There is also space for such elegant ladies

In fact what I like most in Kenya is that it’s not Eurodisney. Everything is just as it is: there is no staging with drama. But I was so happy to be there that I had even made peace with the fact that nobody would be hungry. And so knowing that only God could provide such a gift, I thanked Him/Her from bringing me there.

….

Have a look at the miraculous sunrise on the savanna… can you guess what these animals are?

Sunrise on the Mara... what animals can you spot?

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