My day began with a wakeup call from our balloon pilot at 4:45
am but I was already awoken by the sound of Hippos outside my luxury
tent at Mara Safari Club.
took off at 6:30am and we were at the mercy of the wind, which was
blowing in the southerly direction.
With the western
escarpment on our right, the location where Out Of Africa was filmed,
and the Mara plains on the left, I was once again completely taken
by scenic beauty of this magnificent reserve, which I have visited
The ride took
an hour and we saw herds of wildebeest and zebras. Plenty of hyenas
with one pack of four going for a Thompson's gazelle which appeared
to be amused at the effort as it galloped and stopped to look back
every few yards. The pincer movement the hyenas adopted proved fruitless
against this most gracious of runners. A few giraffes and elephants
later, we spotted a big herd of zebras, maybe over a hundred, all
running in a straight line. After a soft landing and a champagne
breakfast, we headed towards Talek river.
across the Mara
Along the way
we spotted many lions sleeping in the bushes including a nervous
female with three very young cubs. Further along, out in the open
two lion couples were resting within yards of each other. Lions
normally mate, on average, every twenty minutes when the lioness
is on 'heat', this time we only had to wait five minutes.
towards our picnic site, a couple of Thompson's gazelles were looking
after a young and seemed agitated, the grass close by was tall and
lurking perilously close within twenty yards was a cheetah, we could
spot the cat and the gazelles looking at each other. The chase and
pounce was over in a flash, the gazelles tried to run in different
direction to distract the cheetah from the young, but it didn't
work, the cat went for the easy prey who hardly even moved before
it was another meal. The cheetah grabbed the young by the throat
and took it away in a bush to get it's breath back and settle or
I have visited
Mara frequently during migration time over the years but this time
I was told the numbers of animals migrating has increased. Indeed
the sizes of the herds appeared bigger. One of the herds was of
an unbelievable size, all we could see in the immediate surrounding
were wildebeest stampeding away from our vehicles towards the Talek
river were they had congregated to cross. A few panicked and the
whole herd started moving, at one point several fell on the wayside.
One of the fallen encountered bad luck as it couldn't get up and
a flock of vultures took maximum advantage, easy meals are common
for all predators during migration time.
the river we spotted a big herd of elephants, on the way to these
huge herbivores, one of the group saw two leopards chasing a mongoose,
but alas when we arrived at the spot, the elusive creatures eluded.
Elephants are a majestic sight when they seem to just keep walking
in one direction seemingly nowhere. This herd was up to different
tricks, it included many females and young with up to four bulls,
two of these bulls apparently decided to fight for the territory or
control of the herd. This lasted a good five minutes during which
they locked trunks and tusks and pushed each other, with no gain in
superiority for either. An amazing sight of another bull seemed to
calm things and stop the fight. They stood face to face for several
minutes and we left. Across the river after about half an hour when
we turned around for a final look, the two bulls were still face to
face on the same spot.
headed back to 'camp' leaving the wonderful sights and sounds behind,
being so close to nature for our group seemed aw inspiring especially
for some of who had never stepped outside of their metropolis.
We were invited
to a bush dinner, which was set up along the Mara river. After a
delicious meal that included variety of dishes, a bar-be-que and
open bar we sat by a log fire reflecting on a perfect day in the
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