Birds of Maasai Mara, Kenya’s Rift Valley

Here are some of the wonderful birds of Maasai Mara’s National Reserve. Click on the picture to view a diaporama in full-screen!

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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). Continue reading

The Rift Valley

Kenya Great Rift valley (8)In Kenya there is an area South of Nairobi called the Rift Valley. The earth cracked and as a result of that it created a depression that is now a 6000km geographic trench which starts in Lebanon and goes all the way down to Mozambique. Africa has thus been separated into two plates: the Nubian Plate and the Somali Plate.

In the Rift Valley, the mountains are purple, the sky is strong blue, the well-shaped clouds always hang on the horizon, never just above your head, and the the bark of the trees is golden, the earth is at times of a vivid orange colour, so strong it can hurt your eyes.

Kenya Great Rift valley (1)Here, yes, indeed, it is true the clouds look like the ones we drew when we were children, cotton clouds or like the skins of the sheep that are sold along the way. It’s the place to see the world through the eyes of a child and here indeed we can understand why artists portray things in ways that would otherwise seem naive to us, because here we can see by them ourselves through the eyes of artists or children. If we want to understand art, we need to come this natural temple.

Kenya Great Rift valley (71)

As Karen Blixen had stated, here the trees, the golden trees, grow horizontally. Continue reading

The Maasais

DSCF4066The Maasais are a tribe of shepards who still preserve their culture as it was hundreds of years ago. Last century they suffered the biggest expoliation of land in the British colonial history. They are nomads and when they were asked for they fertile lands, they invited the British. In the Maasai’s perspective everything is temporary. So they thought they would be given back their lands. But instead they were pushed up the hills and then to the Mara river, which is why the southern lands of Kenya towards Tanzania are called the Maasai Mara. This is where the main Kenyan game reserve is located.

DSCF4034The Maasais  live in huts made of cowpat, and branches. Their fences are made of branches and they are circular. It looks so beautiful. This is where their cattle sleeps at night.

Each hut has five rooms, the main room where they light a fire and cook one for the parents, one for the children one for the guests and one for the baby cattle. There are tiny window in each hut that mesure around 15X15 cm.Inside the hut

They sleep on a cow skin. In each land enclosed by branched fences ten families live.

Their diet consists of cow blood and milk. Continue reading