Magnificent Majestic Massive MASAI MARA

Trip Start Jun 17, 2009
Trip End Aug 11, 2009

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Where I stayed
Sunshade Safari Camp

Flag of Kenya  , Rift Valley,
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Neither words nor photos can describe the expansiveness of the Masai Mara.

But first one has to stop and admire the huge Rift Valley that stretches north to south for thousands of kilometers.

Then the long dusty road into the Masai Mara. It was a 300 km drive today ... the first of many driving days and this was a short drive!

Passing through townships and today just happen to be the weekly market day.

To me seeing unusual shaped trees stood out.

The wide expanse goes on forever with no fences to stop the animals migrating between Serengeti National Park in neighbouring Tanzania and the Masai Mara in Kenya.

We spent 2 nights in an established tent safari camp. No power except for 3 hours at night for just the lights. Hot water was heated in a 44 gal drum over an open fire.

While there we had an early morning, all day plus an evening safari to see the animals in their natural environment ... we were their guests.

Daytime it was lovely but hot, just like a hot New Zealand's South Island Central Otago summer's day or a day down the beach with no sea breeze and no cloud cover. Morning just a sweater needed and at night just one layer of light weight merino is enough.

Captured a brilliant sunset as well as a sunrise the next day on camera. I am more than happy with my photos taken so far and have 50 gb of memory cards to fill up now ... as long as I can get power to recharge the 4 sets of batteries which seem to last only a day. That is my concern having enough batteries fully recharged! With the 560 mm zoom I am getting right into the animals faces .. plus learning how to drive the camera which has a 4 frames per second continuous mode and the video mode so I am capturing short 20 - 30 secs of moving pictures with sound clips.

TWO Highlights:

First - Must be to see the 2 young lions walk right pass the front of the van that we were travelling in. I was sitting in the front left hand passenger seat by the driver and the lions were no more than 10 metres away. They walked by me not once but twice stalking a lone water buffalo. I don't think they got it as we waited for an hour while I was captivated by the hundreds of water buffalo eating in a slight cooling breeze. Some of the older ones were looking up all the time and no doubt would have seen the 2 young lions approach even from down wind. These were 2 young male lions trying their luck and skills so ...

Second - It was to see a cheetah with a gazelle kill feeding its 2 young cubs. We were on the way home in the evening game drive having seen them earlier without the kill. They also were oh so close to the road like some 20 metres ... well 30 metres then. I understand that to see this sight is so rare I am really privileged.

Other than that the list of animals seen goes on so I won't bore you ...

Tomorrow it's off to the Serengeti National Park, more game drives and more animals to capture on my camera.
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