Danielle, our guide, was keen that we go for a full-day safari in Maasai Mara, reasoning that since we had already seen the Maasai Village (Read: Touring a Maasai Village) and had gone for the Sunset Safari the previous evening, a full-day safari was what would give us an ultimate experience. He reasoned that if we’d go for a safari after breakfast, come back to our lodge in Keekorok (Read: Review Keekorok Lodge) for lunch and then venture out once again post lunch, we could not go deep into the grassland. Instead, he reasoned, if we packed a dry lunch and set out in the morning just after breakfast, we would have a full eight hours in our hands that would allow us to go deep into the grasslands. That would open us to lot more adventure, he added. We saw his point, and readily agreed to set out immediately after breakfast the next day.
Getting ready for a full-day safari in Maasai Mara, Kenya — Things you shouldn’t forget when setting out for a full-day safari in Maasai Mara:
- We were in Maasai Mara over the Christmas holidays, and so, were advised to wear warm jackets and scarves while setting out since the morning air was still chilly.
- However, as the day progressed and the sum climbed overhead, it got hotter. Hats and sunglasses had to be fished out of the bags.
- With the sun high up, can the sun-screen be far behind? Regret for the next three months should you forget to carry it!
- You are in Maasai Mara. Should you be told to carry your camera with an ‘assorted’ set of lenses?
- No forgetting your binoculars either. Although, if you book a Safari company, like how we did, you will get a set of good binoculars for the span of the trip.
- Danielle also got for us two books – one on the animals and the other, on the birds that you can see in Maasai Mara and Naivasha. Call it the ready reckoner!
And the million-dollar experience of a full-day safari in Maasai Mara, Kenya! It indeed is a million dollar experience. Nothing less! Since we had already seen four of the Big Five in our Sunset drive the previous evening, Danielle was relaxed and took it at a very easy pace, looking out for the star animals, going his own way instead of being a party to the others who were in a cavalcade. This showed us Maasai Mara almost exclusively. Alone. Without another human in sight. Really smart, Danielle showed us a leopard on a tree walking around when mush of the crowd were ogling over lions. We had already done that last evening. And were happy to ogle at the leopard and shoot him from all every angle possible.
And then we saw lions mate! We did! No photos of that ‘porn’ moment only because the jeep zoomed at top speed to catch the act. We just couldn’t get our camera steady in all that excitement.
Lunch was in the middle of the Maara with elephants on one side and deers running around in another. Post lunch, Danielle drove us to the Mara river where you could see hippos and crocodiles completely owing the place, and visualize the great wildebeest migration that takes place in the middle of the year. We saw a dazzle of Zebras suspiciously looking at a pride of lions and seemingly ready for a run if it came to that. And then there was the Cheetah, who much have had just finished his lunch before we reached him, and looked so drowsy that he could doze off if we weren’t around. Hyenas waiting to leave the remnants of a hunt so that they could devour what was left. All this while, while vultures hovered around for their chance too. On our way back, we saw buffaloes, in thousands, moving out to another part of the grassland truly in search of ‘greener pastures’.
And then there was that chance million dollar photo with the King who suddenly decided to come up to our jeep and check us out! We, needless to mention, did go bonkers. The driver of another jeep took our camera and got us this once-in-a-lifetime shot!
All this and many more, that evening we headed back to our lodge in complete daze. The vast grasslands and its beautiful inmates, the quiet, the action, the search, the sightings, Maasai Mara, this close and personal, was most gratifying and humbling……
Earth is so beautiful. Why are we human beings up in arms to destroy it?