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Kenya safari: wildlife experience

Impala and other herbivores, Masai Mara, Kenya safari wildlifeA dry heat greeted us off the plane. I felt relaxed and smug as my three crotch-clutching friends dashed off into the bushes in a frenzy.

I gazed into the distance wondering how far we were from the lions, leopards and elephants of the Masai Mara. If somebody had told me "roughly five minutes" I doubt I'd have been so relaxed. But that was how long it would take for our Kenya safari wildlife experience to begin.

Airstrip staff and passengers were bustling around us. And then it happened again: a man whisked my rucksack from under my nose and did a scuttling run-walk thing towards the 'airport'. I flashed a look at my tripod and saw that disappearing off under the arm of another. Jesus Christ you needed eyes in the back of your head! I followed in hot pursuit to where they'd stopped - 50 ft away - with palms open to the sky. "That's why I told you to keep hold of your bags," called Tanya, in her best teacher voice.

Begrudgingly, I crossed each palm with gold and joined the others at the jeep. The driver started loading our luggage. But I wasn't going to be hoodwinked a third time: I wrestled my rucksack off the driver and hurled it onto the back seat. "That's the drivers' job, Claire," said Tanya. "You don't need to tip the driver for loading your luggage." I couldn't keep up with this. How the hell am I supposed to know that? The poor, startled man drove off with a look like he'd just picked up the Valkyries.

Wildebeest, Masai Mara, Kenya safari wildlifeThe 40 minute drive to our lodge gave us a taste of what was to come. Wildebeest and zebras are to the Masai Mara what cows and sheep are to rural England - or were, before mad cows disease, foot & mouth etc. They're everywhere! I had no idea how abundant these animals were. Giraffe, Masai Mara, Kenya safari wildlife

We saw giraffes move with such grace; their long, sweeping eyelashes looking like something out of an anime drawing. Every couple of minutes someone would shout "Stop!" and we'd all leap up through the viewing roof, jockeying for position, cameras at the ready, snapping away, clambering into the front seat, then back, then up, down...

These weren't ideal conditions for a sharp, well-framed photo but the driver wouldn't let me get out of the vehicle. So I photographed everything several times over to avoid arriving home and being disappointed with too many out-of-focus shots. I was still photographing wildlife (thank God for digital) as we drove through the gates of our lodge. This was fantastic! We couldn't have chosen anything better for that quintessential Kenya safari wildlife experience. We were right in the heart of the Masai Mara!
Safari lodge review...

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Have you been to Kenya? Is there a wildlife park or lodge that you would recommend? Write a review here about your 'big five' safari holiday and tell others about your experience - good or bad. Perhaps you know of an excellent budget campsite - or a luxury lodge that should be avoided! Otherwise, feel free to post a question. Let's share our Kenya safari wildlife experiences...
Blogger Frobbery Mike said...

Absolutely stunningly gorgeous. Kenya has been a dream of mine. I love lions.

2:03 am  
Blogger Angela said...

This blog is fantastic. I have been trying to think of new and interesting places to travel, and I definitely am going to have to be aware of Kenya! You are an excellent travel writer, you should consider entering this travel writing contest I just heard about, you can take a look [here] when you get a free minute! Happy blogging!

6:08 pm  
Blogger Claire said...

Thank you Mike and Angela for your generous and kind words - it really made my day to receive your comments:)
I would love to enter the contest, Angela, but it's only available to US residents. Many thanks for the suggestion though - I'll have to look out for some European competitions.
All the best to you both!

2:36 pm  

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