The biggest attraction on the Mara each year is the Great Wildebeest Migration (one of the “Seven New Wonders of the World”), where over 2 million animals migrate from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the greener pastures of the Massai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, crossing the crocodile-infested waters of the Mara River in the process. We drove from our camp into the park (all of the camps on the Mara are situated outside the actual park) and headed towards a part of the Mara River known to have a lot of animal crossings. Herds of wildebeest were everywhere, and not everyone got along.
We got to the river and picked a less crowded spot near the bank. Given the time of year, the popularity of the Great Migration and the fact that this was a specific spot on the river where herds were crossing, this was the one time when we were on safari in Kenya where we saw a lot of other trucks with tourists. But our guide was great and got us a good perch.
In the picture above, two giraffes cool off in the Mara River with a trail of wildebeest that survived the crossing stretching behind them.
As I was taking these photos I noticed a crocodile slowly working its way closer and closer to the giraffes. Finally the giraffes spotted it too and hightailed it out of the river. You can see the top of the croc’s head in the picture below (far left, middle of the river – not a rock).
After we watched a bunch of wildebeest and zebra cross the river, we drove to a more secluded spot and our guide set up lunch for us in the bush.
After lunch, we saw storm clouds gathering and started the long drive back to camp, with plans to see a bunch more game along the way. Not long into the drive we saw this lone cheetah sitting on a mound, scanning the plains for something to hunt.
Next up, we came across this pride of lions, two of whom had just finished getting busy.
He looks pretty pleased with himself.
The sky opened up on us shortly after I took this photo and I had to put my camera away (not waterproof, and we had no doors on our truck). We hustled back to camp and went to dry out by the big fire in the main tent.
It also just happened to be tea time (more eating!), so clearly that had to happen too.
We went back to our tent to put on dry clothes and freshen up for dinner, and then met back in the main tent for cocktails and dinner with the other guests (you all eat at one big long table here as the camp is so small). It all looked so magical lit up with candles and lanterns at night, and I loved the authentic decor. Have I mentioned the food was incredible? They offered a lot of traditional western fare, but also made the best lamb curry I have ever tasted.
I wasn’t sure how I would feel initially about having all our meals at a communal table, but it was actually wonderful. We met some of the most interesting people from all over the world. It was so fun to hear about their backgrounds, as well as what they had seen on their drives. I will never forget one family we met this night – they were Scandinavian and had their 3 children with them. I don’t remember their exact ages now, but I would say they were all between 6-11 yrs old. I remember thinking that it was so cool that they had gone on this amazing adventure together as a family, and that that was the sort of thing I hoped Chris and I would do with our kids one day. The kids were so articulate and polite, and seemed very mature for their ages, which I think was due in large part to all of their global travels. I truly believe that travel is the best education – it provides a certain perspective that I think you miss out on if you never leave the safe confines of your own home and/or culture.
After dinner we enjoyed a nightcap by the fire, and then an armed escort (there are SERIOUS animals out here you guys) walked us back to our tent and zipped us in for the night. The next day was our last on safari before we headed to the beach!