Masaai Mara – A Brief Glimpse
The Maasai Mara in Kenya, an extension of the Serengeti of Tanzania, is what remains of the famous African Savannah. Its a land we have repeatedly visited. It is addictive!
Over the years we have seen the Mara in her many moods. We have been privileged to see joyous births and pained at sightings of tragic deaths. We have been lucky to watch families of lions, leopards and cheetah over multiple generations. And we live in happy mis-belief that they do recognize us!
On this visit, around Christmas 2019, we had some wonderfully close encounters with the inhabitants of the Mara. Here, we share some of the memories we have brought away with us. We hope it will enthuse you to learn more about this beautiful land, try and do your bit to prevent its destruction and visit if you can!
Unless the whole world cooperates and works to a solution, a decade from now we would have lost many hundreds of species to extinction and the rest would be on the brink. As it is, all the iconic animals are critically endangered. While these get some public attention there are numerous smaller beings that are not even known to most of us. And while these are sombre thoughts, for now, please join us on our safari!
The vastness of this land comes into sharp focus the very first time we see the lone acacia tree in the midst of rolling grasslands. The sense of being alone is immense. What is hard to believe is that this sensation hits us between the eyes on every single trip we make.
Then we spot the first animals.
During this visit we were blessed to meet some of the rarer creatures – species we had never seen before.
We have seen many black backed jackal. But this time we encountered the strikingly beautiful side-striped jackal.
We were very fortunate to find her at her den with her pups.
Stopping for breakfast one morning we surprised a family of klipspringer – a shy antelope that inhabits rocky terrain.
This conservancy, Olare Motorogi, is a haven for all animals, but most especially, the big cats.
On a late afternoon drive, the soft post-rain light threw a golden canopy over the land. And the lioness!
Sunrise another morning, revealed a pair of secretary birds nesting on a tree
Equally beautiful were the sunsets each day. One evening the zebra on the horizon decided to create stunning silhouettes against cloud laden skies.
Zebra are social animals. They live in large herds and are often to be found nuzzling each other or resting their heads on each other’s backs.
That they have beautiful brown eyes with graceful long lashes, you only realize when you get really close. This is not easy given how skittish zebra are.
The cape buffalo is one of Africa’s Big 5. The Maasai who cheerfully face the lion or the leopard when on foot, will do their utmost to avoid the buffalo. This animal is known to be unpredictable, mean and aggressive. It attacks without any apparent reason. Indeed, even the lions are known to run away from a herd of charging buffalo. But it has one very special friend – the red-billed oxpecker. This little bird helps to clean the ticks off his host and is seemingly not at all afraid of him!
Another animal that was also hungry was this cheetah! She had two cubs to feed and by all reports had not eaten in 2 days. After following her for many kilometers, we were fortunate to see her chase and capture this impala.
The even more fortunate impala managed to escape as the cheetah had not got a firm grip!
The cheetah decided that she needed to look further afield for her lunch. She crossed this raging river with her two tiny cubs while we all held our breaths hoping they would not get swept away. But cats land on their feet! Even if those feet get a bit wet!
This one seemed to find our fears and doubts funny!
This cheetah, one of a coalition of 5 males (a very unusual occurrence for unrelated males to live together) had a minor altercation with the striped hyena…
… who walked away with the spoils of war! The prey was an extremely unlucky baby warthog.
A completely disinterested eye was being cast over the antics of the other creatures by this gentle giant.
Though he seemed very interested in us!
Other eyes were also always alert.
At sunset this leopard went up the tree where she had hidden her meal.
And next morning stopped midway to scan her surroundings before alighting!
And then, as the sun rose, she walked among tall grass – queen of her land.
The land has its own curious wonders … rocks with perfectly round holes. This land is made up of ancient volcanic deposits. Geologists speculate that these holes are caused by air bubbles bursting through molten lava.
The rains had washed away most of the tracks and they were often deeply rutted – a challenge to the most experienced of drivers.
The usually almost dry river beds had turned into uncontrolled torrents.
But tiny gems sparkled amidst all these harsh conditions.
Other tiny treasures were practicing their royal walk.
Little balls of fur were attempting to climb trees.
And wondering how to get down!
As once again the day ended on this ancient land, creatures big and small were walking into the sunset. It was a picture perfect end to our year. Already we are ready to return!
P.s. We use Gamewatchers Safaris for our safaris in Kenya! Disclaimer : We are not receiving any commission for sharing this information! We are just very happy clients!
It seems I’m a few years late, but oh well. Gorgeous, breathtaking photos and the commentary was so rich, a perfect match. This is such a treat for an armchair traveller, and makes me want to see the wonderful beings in person.
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Then plan! It’s one of the easiest countries to travel to. Just remember it’s for wildlife. It’s not a shopping / general touristing destination! And though the beaches are famous I’d still focus on wildlife which is the magic here!
It was a wonderful journey alongside you Swati…..amazingly picturesque and the story in tere oven so articulately. It was like a photo romance pages unfolding…..before me. I can only say wow! And please reserve my ticket on board for your next tour !
Thank you! And yes, for sure. You’re on board!
What lovely pictures Swati! It was beautiful virtually walking through Masai Mara .. definitely want to visit in person sometime.
Please do. It’s a place where you can connect with nature at its most elemental space, your very origins as a human being and, most of all, with your soul.
Amazing pics Guys. Will reach out to you when we plan our Safari
Thank you. And please plan soon.
Stunning pictures Siddharth and Swati!
David Attenborough would be really impressed with your pictures and writing!
Thank you. And that’s real wishful thinking😂!
Stunning pictures Sidfharth and Swathi!
David Attenborough would be totally impressed with both the pictures and writing.
All the shots are great but my personal favorites are the first two and the “leopard climbing a tree at sunset” – WOW. Great framing & composition!
Very deep in colors and theme.