So many stories have been written on the Maasai Mara that will tell you what an incredible hot spot it is. There is an ongoing mantra that praises and upholds the incredible wildebeest migration as one of the wonders of the world!
The Mara’s mysteries are continuously unfolding to realise the kind of African dream we all dream of; watching a roaring lion, capturing a hunting cheetah, spotting the caracal cat and even having a glimpse of the striped hyena.
I have grown up in Kenya, and have been to the Maasai Mara a number of times as a teenager. I have returned and worked in the Maasai Mara as an adult. Why, must one wonder, do I keep going back to the same place over and over when there are thousands of beautiful destinations across the globe? I will tell you why – because going back to the Maasai Mara is like going to a new place all the time. The cycle of the wild, the rebirth of the earth and the resonating energy of millions of souls in this reserve will toss you into a different dimension of a magical world.
I get onto a Cessna aircraft that will fly me into Kenya’s most popular reserve. I am excited as we fly over the vast landscape of the country. When we land in the reserve, I exit the aircraft. I am greeted by my super cool Maasai driver guide and taken to the Landcruiser. I ask him to stop a moment and give me five minutes. I walk behind the car and face the wild. I take in the sight that greets me – an infinite expanse of various shades of lush green, sprinkled with bushes and aligned with trees. There are black dots as far as the eyes can see, so I look through my binoculars and gasp! The black dots are none other than the migrating wildebeest. They are everywhere!
The sky is overcast, with patches of dark grey clouds threatening to pour open. The shadows being formed on the plains are forming their own picturesque canvas, and the wild continues to graze as we drive by … The landscape of the Mara is striking against the stormy backdrop.
It finally starts to rain and we unroll our vehicle’s canvas rooftop back into place. The sides remain open even though the water is still coming in. It didn’t matter. I was looking outside through a glaze of cascading water and seeing the Mara in a whole new light. Zebras, gazelles and wildebeest continue eating and walking, unfazed by the rain as the warthogs lead their little ones into their holes. We pass a pod of lazing hippos on the way to camp so we stop to watch. A big one gets up, and right after she does, another one – a quarter of her size – gets up and follows her. They slide into the water together as the rain continues to pelt down. More hippos slowly stand up and slither into the water. This is how I look at the Maasai Mara today. I have seen hippos many times, but today, I watched their eyes glimpse at us before turning to guide themselves into the river. I watched them “feel” the rain on their backs before deciding to get up and move into the river. It doesn’t even matter that I am getting wet. This is why I love Maasai Mara.
We finally arrive at our camp. I am greeted with smiles and a welcome drink. It never ceases to amaze me how luxury in the bush can be created. A keen eye designed the camp with enough attention to detail. The cleared pathway, the big beds, the stunning colour combinations of matching settees and cushions, the large shower head, the bathtub facing the river and the twin sinks in the bathroom! The quiet rustling of the leaves outside and the distant grunt of the waddling hippos add on to the romance of my surroundings. It stops raining but it still smells like rain. The clouds part a little to allow some rays of light to shine through, and I am suddenly transported into the mystifying tales of an anecdote from Out of Africa.
I spend two nights in this glorious corner of my country. The game is magnificent! I see crocodiles sleeping with their mouth open, an unsuspecting yellow –billed stork five feet away from the largest one; I find a family of the big cats with playful cubs licking off the last of their kill – an unfortunate wildebeest; as dusk starts to fall, the king of the jungle makes his presence known with a deep, incredible roar that raises the hair on the back of my neck; I catch a glimpse of a serval cat amongst the tall grass and a hyena curled up inside a rugged rock face. I see a half eaten gazelle in a tree, and know its scavenger is not too far from there. We find him taking short breaths under thick bushes. We stay with him for a while observing him. His attitude is blasé in our presence as he gazes up at the branches above him, stands up and grooms himself, then walks in front of my vehicle to the stream of water on the other side. The tip of his tail curls up a little as he sips some water; he then continues his promenade amongst the acacia woodland. He sits down again, gazes around, and then gives me my moment he looks right at me – his unblinking, yellowish green eyes stare at me for a full three seconds and I feel like I have fallen into an abyss. He finally stands and walks away. This is why I love Maasai Mara.
This time back into Africa’s Leading National Reserve reminded me of how lucky I am to be so close to one of the most spectacular places on earth. My visit to the Maasai Mara was completed with the appetizing and enticing dishes that I enjoyed during breakfast, lunch and dinner for the three days I spent in the reserve. The natural sounds of the wild were uninterrupted with the lack of bleeping cell phones and television sounds. Here, I rediscovered my Zen. And to top it all, I had an opportunity to see the Maasai Mara from a bird’s point of view. I went on a hot air balloon ride – an experience that left me breathless. Up in the sky, oscillating between 1000 and 2000 feet, I saw the plains and the game in a different light that begs me to write another chapter of the many reasons why I love the Maasai Mara.
on Wednesday 24th September 2014 at 03:49