The Call Of The Wild, And Some More Memories Yet To Be Made #VisitAgain

Photo of The Call Of The Wild, And Some More Memories Yet To Be Made #VisitAgain by thewanderjoy

If there is one thing that this pandemic has given me in abundance is time. Time to think back and reminisce. And especially when travel for leisure seems a distant possibility yet, the best thing one can do is look back at all the amazing memories made till date, and revisit those photo albums and social media posts.

I have left back a portion of my heart in many places – Beaches of South Goa, Hills of Uttarakhand and Himachal, Streets of Rome and Prague, and the vast Grasslands of the African Savannah to name a few. But of all these places, the one destination that I can’t wait to revisit again is the vast grasslands of the African Savannah in Kenya.

My love affair with the Kenyan grasslands, began with the moment I step foot on Masai Mara, post alighting from the chartered aircraft at the Keekorok Airstrip. From that moment on, rather just while landing, my African Safari had started, and the Dark Continent made a special place in my heart.

For someone who has loved Nat Geo and Discovery shows since childhood, the next 3 days were like introducing a kid to a Nat Geo film for the first time (and my excitement would be quite similar). The 4 safaris in the Masai Mara Game Reserve – though was fulfilling to the heart, but as a photographer I wanted more. I may have preferred a much slower pace of exploring around, spending more time observing the behaviour of the animals, who had allowed us so graciously in their company.

The 4 game drives across Masai Mara, exposed me to various topographies and corners of the Mara – be it the vast grasslands, or the Mara river undulating through the land, or the little undulations on floor of the Rift Valley. And the icing on the cake was the Hot Air Baloon ride with the rising sun over the Mara. Look down and you see hippos wallowing in the river, zebras racing across the land, giraffe and elephant herds casually stroll around, and an occasional chase in progress.

The highlight of my trip with to witness a pride of 11 lions sashay down to the river, and then to observe a standoff between the lions and a herd of elephants on the opposite bank, with the elephants finally relenting and withdrawing. A fabulous lesson in the rules of the jungle.

I stayed for 2 nights at the Keekorok Lodge, which is the oldest property inside the Masai Mara Game Reserve, and encircled by acacia trees. The visitors to the properties were elephants, giraffes, zebras and gazelles. The property also has a hippo pool in its periphery with a walkway leading to a secluded cabin to sit with a drink in hand and watch the animal interactions – between the hippos and the buffalos visiting the pond.

Two days aren’t enough to enjoy the African Savannah, and I want to go back to the Mara and Serengeti plains, watch the annual migration and trek upto to Mt. Kilimanjaro. This is at top of my bucket list!!

How to reach Masai Mara from Nairobi:

From India, Air India has a direct flight from Mumbai to Nairobi. Nairobi is connected to other destinations of India by flights via Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Doha via the respective carriers.

1. By flights: There are a couple of flight operators from Nairobi to Masai Mara. This takes about 40 mins, however it’s not cheap (~25,000).

2. By road: The distance between Nairobi to Masai Mara takes about 5 hours to cover. The road conditions are good, but patchy in some places. The best part of the road journey is that you get to see the African Rift Valley from close quarters.

To follow my travel journeys and more, ping me on Instagram @thewanderjoy. See you around!!