July 7th, 2017- Day One
Since we got in a day earlier we already had a hotel booked for the four hours we would use it on the original flight plan. So looking at the silver lining, we get the full use of our hotel. We land and head straight to the BOMA hotel in Nairobi. We check in around 10:00am and tell ourselves we will take a quick nap…..well 7 hours later, we woke up! Oops! That day really helped us and kinda glad we got our rest. We wake up bushy tailed and bright eyes to catch a bush plane to the Masi Mara!!
We heard about the bush planes and the weight capacity, of course we decided to test the limits. Didn’t work. We were 15 lbs over, yikes!! We had to take out half of our clothes and leave them in the locker for our return back. Oh well! All of our accommodations
offered free laundry every night. That helped a lot!
After two FULL days of traveling, we are FINALLY on to our vacation!! And yup, it is worth every hour, every penny, every stress that it took to get us here!
We hop on a small, packed plane out of Nairobi, taking off and landing on gravel, maybe dirt, but definitely not on a paved runway. It feels like a scene from a mystical book, or a movie in a world you would never think to be part of, and here we are, ready to see what Masai Mara has to offer.
On the Northern tip of the Serengeti, just across the Tanzanian border, lies the famed Masai Mara National Preserve. During the Great Migration, MILLIONS, approximately two million of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles progress their way north to enjoy the new grass that sprouts. Along with the herds, comes predators and other amazing wildlife in nature’s purest form. It’s a phenomenon that is second to none, and has been named one of the natural wonders of the world.
Our guides for the week greet us off the plane and introduce themselves. As we jump into our Land Rover, our guide asks, “Do you want to go on a game ride, or drive straight to camp?” Duh! Game drive of course!! Our bush truck was impressive at first sight. Our own water bottle, sun tan lotion and leather bound books of all the animals we might see so we can look it up. Here is a list, followed by some pictures of what we experienced in our first two hours in the Mara!
Thousands of wildebeests and zebras migrating, African elephants roaming, Masai giraffes and baby, a leopard eating a wildebeest, hyena lurking on wildebeest carcass, buffaloes, hippos hanging in a river with Nile crocodiles, baboons perched at the top of trees, monkeys, topi (subspecies of antelopes), Thomson’s gazelles, and thousands more wildebeests and zebras are what kicked off this 5 day trek into camp.
Arriving at camp, we are warmly greeted by our host, Hattie, and are escorted to our room. This stunning room with a view, lies on the banks of the Sand River, and is nestled perfectly in the heart of the Masai Mara where you can witness your very own mini migration.
This ‘camp’ is indescribable! The attention to detail from the rooms to the food and service is amazing!!! We quickly unpack for a delicious meal.
After lunch, we catch a nap, and we are off to our first evening game ride. Not only is this game ride filled with the completion of us seeing the ‘big five’ on the first day, it is placed with a sunset that will remain logged in our minds forever! These my friends, are called Sundowners. They happen every night in Africa. Something we might bring over to the States 🙂
What’s truly amazing about this game ride, is that right around the corner from camp, we encounter our first big cat, a male lion. It’s unbelievable for us to roll right up on this guy, and he doesn’t blink. I mean, we are out in nature, 10 feet from an apex predator.
After encountering a herd of elephants enjoying dinner around the river, we come across the last of the big five, a black rhino.
But wait, one more unforgettable sighting before cocktails watching the sunset in the Mara. We come across a kill, sadly a partially eaten zebra laying on the bank of a stream. Zebra on our left, our Land Cruiser separating a lioness and two of her two month old cubs relaxing with mom. What a sight!
Unreal! Barely in the bush for half a day, and we have seen a leopard, loads of buffalo, a black rhino, and an African lion, a lioness and two of her baby cubs, and two herds of African elephants, all of which make up the ‘big five’.
As if our first day couldn’t get better, we enjoy a remarkable first day sunset and back to camp for dinner, a campfire, and a few drinks with the sounds of the Mara echoing all around us.
Our only camp rule, we must be escorted back to our room along the path at night. There are too many dangerous animals lurking, and in order to keep everyone safe, a local escorts guests to their room holding a massive spear, just in case. As we leave the main lodge, our escort says, “We are not going to take the path back to your room, there are elephants everywhere!” So we proceeded to walk in the woods with a flashlight and spear off the beaten path. Holy crap, what did we get ourselves into?!?!
Good luck topping this day in the bush! We will see what the rest of this adventure has in store tomorrow…….