Kenya Safari, Maasai Mara 2013
Adventurers: Desiree Hart, Cynthia Lewis, Pip McGarry, Jeremy Paul, Colin Greenhowe, Jackie Greenhowe, Caroline Bertram.
After travelling to Nairobi, the group of travellers visited the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. Around three hundred people were viewing the baby elephants being fed , very cute to see and watch, lots of photographs taken. Due to a new President being elected in Kenya, election fever swept through the city and many locals were out on the streets! Following a short flight from Wilson Airport the group arrived in the Maasai Mara to be met by their guides, Pierre, Daryl and Phil.
After relaxing in their well furbished tents and an overnight sleep - the next day the intrepid adventurers set off onto the plains of Africa, following up reports of a hippo kill not far away. The unfortunate hippo lay upturned like a table, legs in the air, with jackals, hyenas, male and female lions and varieties of vulture all sharing the feast. The next day, the legs had gone and by the end of the week, the hippo had vanished altogether. We also saw many Topi, Hyenas, Thompson and Grants Gazelles, Dik Dik, Eland, Hartebeeste, Gnu, Ostrich, Giraffe, Hippo, Lions, Zebra, Secretary Birds, Martial Eagles, Raptors, Baboons and Elephant during our journeys.
By the third day, we encountered our first leopard Bahita, who brazenly walked past our vehicle posing for photos, before dusk came and we left her reclining on the rocks next to the Talek river. We saw a big male leopard the next morning in the same place.
We saw a cheetah kill from start to finish. Covering three hundred yards in only a few seconds, a female Thompson’s Gazelle was caught and despatched by the mother cheetah and her three teenage cubs. One young cheetah – amazingly – jumped in through the window of a nearby vehicle and for a few seconds joined the astounded tourists, before leaping out again. We were able to see these cheetahs a few more times during the week.
On another day we were examining lion tracks on one side of our vehicle, with our professional ranger Phil West out of the vehicle giving us guidance on how the tracks were formed, when one guest, wildlife artist Jeremy Paul, pointed out that there was a cheetah walking along just twenty feet behind us! Mr Cheetah was duly followed by his admirers and photographed many times in various poses.
Some lovely elephants with babies wandering across the pains, quite relaxed at our presence. On one occasion in the evening a little baby elephant was hidden by the long grass, which was a nuisance, until he suddenly came to life and raised his head above the grasses to investigate who we were.
Some of the most fantastic photos of zebras in water were taken…in fact I had to be dragged away by my companions before I used up all of my memory cards, as they wanted to see the Cheetah and cubs that were nearby. We also managed to get some shots of Buffaloes reposing in water later on that day too.
Our tents had all the facilities you could expect for a luxury safari. Each tent had a steward who looked after the occupants, with private dressing area, proper beds, solar lights, clothes washed on demand. Food fantastic (thank you Sharna), twenty eight staff looking after our group of twelve. All the tents were hidden in a small copse and could not be seen from outside, but the tent occupants could see across the plains and animals wandered past at will. The staff were incredibly helpful, patient, respectful and could not do enough to assist us with anything we wanted. The Maasai warriors also escorted us to and from our tents at night and in the morning.
A short flight back to Nairobi, and a whole day spent wandering in the shops, plus a trip to a sculpture museum and some hours spent in Jomo Kenyatta airport before flying back to the UK.
Thank you for an amazing experience to Daryl and Sharna Balfour - we’ll be back in 2014!