Masai Mara, Kenya – September 6-8 – Our Private jet brought us effortlessly and efficiently to Kenya, on the equator. A very quick private arrival through international immigration, avoiding the rush of the main international airport terminals entirely, had us quickly aboard our private charter safari plane. We were winging our way west across East Africa’s Rift Valley and into the northern Serengeti ecosystem, the renowned Masai Mara. This place is the ‘crown jewel’ of the many Kenya wildlife parks.
While in the Mara the emphasis each and every day is on SAFARI with the abundance of gazelles, antelopes, buffalo, elephant, and predator cats. At this time of year the great migration of wildebeest is also ‘somewhere in town’ on the vast Mara and seeing this was part of our mission. We lay our heads at the small luxury tented camp of IL Moran, under shady trees, alongside the swift moving Mara River. This is ‘ritz carlton camping’, by any other name. Huge bedroom tents with en-suite big bathrooms which include claw-footed Victorian bath tubs.
Our two Safari guides, Enos and Maina, drove us in large open side 4×4 Toyota safari jeeps, custom built for comfort and endurance in rugged conditions. In these we enjoyed up close and personal exciting wildlife experiences including lions and cheetah and elephant and buffalo and giraffe and many varied species of gazelle and antelope. It was with our guides in these incredible vehicles that we searched and found the migration, herds of thousands and thousands of wildebeest all the way to the horizon across the Mara plains. This is often termed as the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth.
While In the Mara we enjoyed a Safari by hot air balloon. This exhilarating morning started before dawn with teas and coffees delivered as a civilized ‘wake up’ right to our tents. Before dawn, we had to cross the fast flowing river in a small boat to get to the camp on the other side where the balloons live … and we’d already seen the huge size and heard the chattery bellows of the hippos that live in the river. Together, we ascended at dawn for one of the most magical experiences of a lifetime … an hour’s Safari in a basket floating on the morning breezes, mostly skimming the tree tops. NO dust, NO bumps along our way over the Mara river and out across the never-ending Mara plains! Animals were everywhere for us to see. At the end of our flight came the few bumps as the basket gently rolled over on to its side while our massive balloon deflated. The “magic” continued with a champagne breakfast out on the plains. Indeed, we are not only ‘the envy of ourselves today’ … this is when lifetime dreams do come true.
A visit to a nearby Masai village brought great insights to others way of living … simple and remote. The Masai people, custodians of the Masai Mara, live in small family community villages surrounding the protected wildlife reserve. They tend their cattle and protect their proud heritage. They look over magnificent lands. We were welcomed to their ‘manyatta’ village and watched the ornate women and men sing and dance together. We played with their kids, we watched fire being made from rubbing-sticks, and we watched the young warrior men sing and jump. Our brief peek inside their living huts made us realize how simply people can live.
The Masai Mara gave us exciting experiences and amazing adventures … wildlife and culture … we were awed. And now already we were on our way to our next unique and unusual place. Namibia.
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