• femengkenya

Day 11 - Maasai Mara

Updated: Jun 18

Safari day!! The day started very early with our driver Andrew picking us up at half-past seven. We made our way into the jeep very sleepily and paid for our overnight safari visit. It was a long drive to Maasai Mara National Park - roughly 6 hours - so Andrew made several stops to allow us to use the washrooms and have a look around shops on the way. The first stop was The Great Rift Valley from Mozambique to the Red Sea, which stretches over 6,500km. It was a beautiful view and we were able to take pictures and stretch our legs before returning to the journey. When driving into the Maasai area, Andrew started to point out the Maasai people, identifiable by their traditional dress - patterned red blankets draped around their shoulders - and explained that the Maasai tribe is one of the most famous of the Kenyan tribes.

It was about 1 o’clock when we arrived at our accommodation located inside the park, and we ate our lunch and viewed the tents we would be sleeping in before setting off again with Andrew for our first game drive around the park.

As soon as we exited the accommodation, the roof of the jeep went up, allowing us to peer over the top of the car and get a good look at the animals. We immediately came across some zebras, and had a riveting conversation about whether they were white with black stripes or black with white stripes. The general consensus was white with black stripes, but see below for your verdict!

Next we saw our first two of The Big Five - elephants and buffalos! ‘The Big Five’ is the term used by hunters to describe the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot, but is now used by safari tour operators to describe the five typically most exciting animals you might encounter on safari. The remaining three animals yet to see are lions, rhinos and leopards.

The next animal we encountered was another elephant, but unlike the last elephants we saw, this one was alone. Andrew explained that this meant that he had likely been abandoned by his pack, or he was just really old, as elephants never really travel alone. This was of course met with absolute heartbreak from us, but I managed to capture some pretty stunning pictures of him on my camera.

We then saw a giraffe, many more elephants (with lots of ‘awww’ing at the baby ones) and some different types of antelopes (which all had different names which I do not remember) before Andrew started rushing off in a different direction after hearing something on his radio. All of the tour drivers speak on the radio in a mixture of Swahili and code words to alert each other when and where they see something. We soon arrived at a section where there was a crowd of safari cars all pointed towards a section of grass under some trees where - you guessed it!! - some lions were having a nice day time nap. There were two males, and three or four females, but they were hard to see in the long grass. We were worried about disturbing the lions, but Andrew reassured us that they were used to all the attention, and they did seem very unconcerned by the gaggle of jeeps around them as they stretched and yawned in the sun. Andrew told us that the lions tend to sleep during the day and are more active at night, but only need to hunt once a week. They lifted their heads for only a few seconds but I managed to snap some shots of them looking a bit sleepy.

We then saw some more beautiful animals (pictures at the end if you care to see!!) and the sun started to set around half past six, so we headed back to camp during a beautiful sunset to get our dinner, which was a perfect end to our first safari day!!

We then had our dinner and charged our phones with the few hours that the generator runs in the camp as the night properly fell. When we exited the dining hall, we were astounded to see the number of stars in the sky, and we spent a while puzzling over if they were the same stars we see at home or what percentage of the sky that Scotland might share with Kenya. We joined a group at a small bonfire that consisted of other tourists and some Maasai people. The Maasai people told us a bit about their culture, and told us that their people can live to 120 years old, living off just the meat that they farm. After some more interesting discussion around the fireplace, we made our way to bed, exhausted from a long day in the sun, and preparing for an early start the next day!

- Ruby