We left off with elephants around our camp, well, the night was filled with them stomping around eating the trees around our tent. We were so excited to fall asleep to this beautiful noise. A good night’s sleep filled with authentic safari noises, leads to an early rise with coffee delivered to our room by candle light at 5:45 am, followed by our morning game ride.
With the brisk, we mean very cold morning (remember, it is Winter in Kenya), we can’t wait to see the sun rise! As we head out of camp in the dark with our spear escort,
we begin our adventure looking for the active morning cats: lions and leopards. Well shortly, we encounter Nat Geo ten feet from our Land Cruiser. So lions may be at the top of the food chain, but that doesn’t mean they don’t all get along with each other.
We roll up to a male lion, whose pride has established themselves in this region for quite some time, called the Salas Pride. Fifty yards later, we come across two young males, recently kicked out of their pride (it happens as male cubs grow up), looking for land to relocate from across the Tanzanian border and establish a pride of their own. The tense situation quickly escalates, with a made for TV battle that happens right next to us!
To see the amazing video of the two male lions battling it see video below (turn volume up):
Who knows how this will all play out, but for now, it looks like it will be to be continued… We can only hope we are around for the sequel!
Our hearts are racing, and the thrill of our morning continues, just in time to find a kill; a wildebeest dangling from a tree branch. As a hyena approaches, we notice a beautiful leopard climb back up the tree to tend to his breakfast. Leopards will drag their kills up trees, to keep animals such as a hyena from being able to steal their meal. Hyenas are scavengers, and lurk around other animals kill, however they aren’t great climbers, so for now, the leopard has outsmarted the hyena.
We pit stop for our first breakfast in the bush, another amazing experience!
Our way back to camp is quite a ride, so we set out to find one animal we haven’t spotted yet, a cheetah! Well, the cheetahs avoided us this time, but we were lucky to catch a pair of ostriches, warthogs, storks, a vareaux owl, and of course, the continuation of the Great Migration: thousands of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles (including a one day old newborn!). Our game drives our FULLY equipped….this means a cold Tusker beer. There is something about being on a safari and getting a small buzz. THE BEST!
Lunch, a nap, and back out for another evening game ride. After the activity of the morning, we thoroughly enjoyed the relaxing ride to the sunset. Luckily, we were accompanied by a couple of Masai giraffes, a herd of elephants, and the never-ending view of wildebeest!
and of course another sundowner….
Surprise dinner back at camp, our friendly hosts set up a table outside our room overlooking the Sand River from our patio!
Ok, so we found the hard part of this journey… sleeping. There is a certain thrill of being woken up to a herd of elephants bumbling through the brush around your room. However, there is also a general uneasy feeling about a couple of tons lurking a few feet from your bed, only separated by a see-through canvas wall. The vivid silhouettes of these mammoth creatures gets your heart racing! Not too long after, we wake again, the ellies are back! The combination of the cold in our open air room, nature singing, and elephants and buffalo roaming throughout our camp, made it nearly impossible to sleep.
The showers are steaming hot, but you have to let the staff know you are taking one in the morning. The water is heated by fire and they need to know when to turn it on. Another cool thing is kindly ask that you put a bucket under the shower water until the water gets hot. They will come retrieve the water for other use.
All good, because once we get our day going with coffee at 5:45 am, we know we are in for a treat on another morning game ride. Mornings are active, and once again we got spoiled!
The Salas Pride was awake and enjoying breakfast, a wildebeest. The big cats have got to love the Great Migration as much as we do, almost 2 million animals roaming past their territory is like Thanksgiving dinner!
A few highlights include:
Two lionesses with two cubs!
Five hyenas stealing the lions kill, poor wildebeest are getting picked off, good thing there are plenty to go around!
A pride of ‘teenager’ lions
A giraffe on the right, and a humungous male elephant with tusks weighing over 200 pounds on our left.
And then, we spot the elusive cheetah. Well worth the wait, as this momma is being followed by two adorable, one month old cubs. Jackpot!
Another epic breakfast out in the plains, captures perfection!
Our ride back toward camp is filled with even more excitement, as we come across a male lion and his lady, who decide that they would like to give us an x-rated show!
Sorry kids, apparently this happens five days every 20 minutes to make babies and help the pride grow. Video for the real effect:
Packs of eland, warthogs, colorful lizards, and thousands more wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles round out our cruise back to camp. Unbelievable how each adventure provides something new and exciting for us to marvel at!
Afternoons are peaceful, regrouping time around camp. We are even aloud to trek back and forth to our camp without an escort! Lunch, some wifi, and a nap have been the standard routine. Well, today we woke to a special treat. The almost two million migrators have reached the front of our hotel, and the stream of zebras and wildebeest flows in the fields. Have we mentioned how loud wildebeests are?? Looks like sleeping will continue to be a challenge tonight!
Evening start back in the Land Cruiser with our favorite Kenyans, leading us to unknown areas of the Mara, to discover more of this magical land. This evening we drove down the Sand River, crossed the border into Tanzania, and explored the Northern tip of the Serengeti. We got to stand on the border of Tanzania and Kenya.
We seemed to be at the lead of the Great Migration, as we encountered more zebras tonight than normal. The zebras enjoy the taller parts of the grass, followed by the wildebeests, elands, and gazelles who thrive on the same vegetation at lower heights.
The evenings are more peaceful, cruising by sleeping lions with full bellies, Masai giraffes grazing, and herds of elephants trekking along. Our game ride consistently parts the wildebeest and zebra, as they have remarkably taken over the massive plains. It’s a fascinating scene to continually look out, and see literally thousands of these characters enjoying life, except the few unlucky that succumb to nature, aka lions, leopards, or hyenas! And of course…the sundowner…..
Our night ends back at camp, with a few glasses of wine, a Cuban cigar, and dinner once again overlooking the Sand River, listening to the sounds of Africa! Hopefully the ellies will give a little more rest tonight… cause we will be serenaded with the sounds of wildebeests and buffalo throughout the night!
one more full day in the Mara up next…….