African Safari holiday was never on my bucket list! Yes, unusual it may so sound but for me, safari was more of a passive experience and more so, haven’t we seen it all on National Geographic channel?
What is so great about this place? Nevertheless, with my obsession of travelling, I chose Kenyan Safari as my destination!
This story shares the photos and reminiscences from my three day African Safari holiday in Maasai Mara reserve, Kenya, East Africa.
East Africa is popular with two safari destinations, Kenya and Tanzania. Maasai Mara is Kenya’s most popular national reserve.
Maasai Mara – Game Drives
I chose November for my safari! It was a chilly morning and we wrapped our jackets with our heads poking from top of our open jeep.
We sped by black rhinos, zebras roaming high grasses and herd of elephants, impalas. While, our jeep was speeding down the rough roads past these animals, we had higher hopes from our morning safari!
The big cats hunt in wee hours and we were hoping for a sighting of a live kill! All of a sudden, our safari guide, David, started yelling lucky you lucky you! we have spotted him with his kill!
While I kept guessing who, David drove our open jeep no less than Vin Diesel drove in the movie Fast and Furious! It will be interesting to know that the drivers/guides in Masai communicate via radio and ensure that guests do not miss the “big five” sightings!
Barely few meters away, we saw a leopard climbing up tree with prey in its mouth. We cut the engine and waited to watch the show! We were told that the leopard had killed a duiker. Duikers are petite antelopes found in Masai Mara.
Leopards usually hoist their prey up into tree after it has been killed. We humans pay thousands to eat our meals with spectacular view and leopards take this to some different level! Now isn’t this interesting?
A Wildlife Morning That I Will Never Ever Forget
One has to be extremely patient when it comes to sighting leopards. We patiently waited for about an hour for the leopard to show its pretty face out of the thick bush. I started questioning myself why is patience a virtue?But I realised it soon that it is worth the wait. The leopard dropped its kill on to the ground while eating! Action begun when the leopard leaped from tree to the ground to grab it all over again.
After coming to the ground, it dragged away its kill into the bush, away from all cameras! The entire sight was not less than any electric current and not to mention that my jaw was in perpetual state of being dropped! A wildlife morning that I will never ever forget.
It’s not an adventure if things remain plain and simple
Pursuant to fantastic sighting, we proceeded to see some more action in the reserve and yes we got one! How? Well, while passing through another road, our driver realised that our vehicle’s tyres were swamped in the mud road.
The roads take mud bath due to short rains in November. I could hear roars and I almost imagined myself to be stuck in Jurassic park!
No sooner I was made to realise that I have marvellous imaginations! We all had hearty laugh over it and David, while beating the mud said “hold on tight, we are yet to survive Maasai Mara roads!” Indeed, it’s not an adventure if things remain plain and simple.
Soon we piled into our sport and started along those muddy roads. Morning hunt was over but our driver was confident of more sightings. He was right. We saw a pride of lions lazing in the afternoon sun and few lion cubs cuddling with their mother.
Towards the end, we witnessed local giraffes, baboons, hippos submerged in water and bid goodbye to Maasai Mara reserve.
How About Few Travelling Tips For African Safari ?
- The international airport for Nairobi is Jomo Kenyatta.
- Maasai Mara is 4-5 hour drive from Nairobi.
- There are also charter flights available from Nairobi to the reserve with duration of 45- 50 minutes
Best Time to Visit
Wildlife viewing in Kenya is good round the year.
However, game drives are best in dry season i.e. June to October. November to May is considered to be wet season.
The Great Migration:
Kenya offers wildebeest migration from Serengeti reserve, (Tanzania) through crocodile infested Mara River during August to October. Wildebeest migration is considered to be the most amazing wildlife experience.
Recommended Duration – Stay & Accommodation
Maasai Mara being huge reserve, 4-5 day safari is recommended only in Masai mara. Additionally, a day or two is recommended for visiting Lake Nakuru.
The same is ideal for bird watching, few game drives and picturesque view. If you are an avid wildlife fan, I would suggest adding some more days and visiting Amboseli national park, Tsavo East and West National Park.
As regards accommodation, there are heaps of luxury and boutique options of accommodation in Maasai Mara. Challenge is whether stay inside or outside the reserve? Though it may turn out to be expensive, staying inside the reserve can be rewarding.
I stayed at ’Mara Serena Safari Lodge’ which is located at Mara Triangle.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Travellers visiting to Kenya are required to be vaccinated against yellow fever. The same is to be proved by international certificate which is valid for 10 years.
It is advisable to go through the official website of health regulation bureau of India, to verify list of also other places included in Africa.
What To Pack for African Safari ? Well, pack like a pro!
1. Clothing and Accessories
Depending time of the year, layers are great way to keep it warm and stylish. Masai mara is at typically 1500 meters above sea level so nights get chilly. Wear neutral coloured clothes. Make sure to blend in with the surroundings to stay close to wildlife. Hat and sunglasses are must in order to protect from sun rays in open top safari vehicle.
Trail shoes are recommended in case safari includes bush walk for sighting animals. You never know if you would find a snake in the bush!
This one is obvious! Safari is all about clicking pictures. DSLR cameras help during safaris. In case you do not wish to opt for an expensive lens for your camera, there are rental companies to take care of this!
When I was first suggested to carry binoculars I laughed it off! Fortunately, I did some research and good sense prevailed on me to carry pair of binoculars! This is useful to get closer look when you may sight wonderful birds or even animals when your vehicle cannot go off road.
5. Insect Repellent
An insect repellent will help to keep insects at bay.
How Does One Sum Up African Safari Experience
How does one sum up safari experience? Safari is impossible to sum up! It’s a series of unforgettable memories, adventure, nature and not to forget, bone rattling drive!
If you have not already added safari into your bucket list, please consider. It changed my travel bucket list and I am sure will change yours too!!
This blog was first published on Lavacanza.