Here we finally are again with the next installement of our Kenyan Adventure! I am sure you have all been waiting for it 🙂 Here at the Mara Sopa Lodge we do not have internet access so I amgoing to write up our stories and hopefully we will have access at the lodge near Lake Nauru where we are headed in the morning.
Yesterday morning we left the big city behind and drove up to the Masai Mara. It was going to be a 5h drive for about 250 km if I remember correctly. But 5h turned into nearly 7 but who’s counting 🙂 The things we saw on our way there were sometimes quiet extraordenary.
Our tourguide from Servalcat Safaris is Benton and he will be our guide for the next week. We’ve only been together for 2 days and I can already say that he is the kind of tourguide that I, and in this case we, really like. Yes, sometimes it’s hard to understand his pronounciation of the English language but he’s supberb. He’s not like any other guide in our opinions. He stops at the smallest bird (which I like very much) and gives us time to look at it properly, photograph it, tells us the name and if on a rare occassion he does not know it, he checks his or mine animal book and will gladly look it up for us. On one occassion the road was blocked by a Pride of Lions (can you hear the smile in my voice?) and some of the other guides just drove into the high grass to get a closer look..not Benton! No, because driving in the long high grass might mean that we disturb other smaller wildlife that might be in there, or destroy the eggs of the ground laying birds…Now that’s what we all appreciate !! He loves his work and I know he will do a lot to please his clients BUT he respects Nature! So thank you Mr Benton for showing us your country this way!!
So, where was I? Yes we were on our way from Nairobi to the Masai Mara. The things we saw on our way there sometimes too funny or too sad to mention.
We saw some amazing scenery of course, different variations of green, all shapes and forms of trees but before we saw those wonderful kind of things we saw people walking for miles and miles next to the road; motorbikes packed with families, busses as full as they could be and the roof stuffed with things, high up (a good thing there weren’t many any bridges:); run-over dogs 🙁 a lot of people keep pets but because of the lack of food they wander off in search for it and become wild; run-over mules; cows that were being chopped into pieces (probably after it had been hit by a truck or car as well).
Far in the distance we could spot the Masai people herding their cows, sheep, goats..And a lot of the time the herders were very young children. That’s one of the tasks a young Masai boy gets..looking after wild stock. And they take it seriously indeed. When goats were crossing the road and our bus got very close to it you should have seen the look and worry on the little boys’ face. Priceless!!
After several hours we all were very hungry , needed a toilet but it wasn’t far anymore..so 2 h later we finally arrived at the Mara Sopa Lodge.
After lunch we had an hour to spend so Patricia and I walked around the grounds. And there we were welcomed by some lovely black faced vervet monkies. Cheecky little things! They were very playfull and are def. not afraid of people. You can recognise them from high up as their genitals are very colourful (blue..yes, blue balls 🙂
The grounds also have some lovely coloured flowers and plenty of trees, small lizards and ghekkos.
AT 4 pm our very first safari started and not soon after leaving the lodge we came accross the first of many wild animals. Where do I start? So many but the first was a Dik Dik and olive baboons.
I can’t remember exactly in what order we saw all the animals but to name a few of the ones we saw yesterday and today: common ostrich, African white-backed vulture, martial eagle, red-necked spurfowl, helmeted guineafowl, white-bellied bustard, kittlitz’s plover, white-browned coucal, lilac-breasted roller, goldon pipit, yellow-throated and the rosy-breasted longclaws, different species of weaver birds, starlings, oxpeckers. Of course I was able to take pictures of all of these birds. Now I need to recognise them from my pictures 🙂
Hey, what about the better know animals I hear you ask? Of course we got to see those too. On our drive to the Mara we already spotted common zebras, giraffes, the grant and thompson gazelles and antilope..
And the Big ones? Oh yes!! Not all 5 just yet but here in the Masai Mara Reserve!
I mentionned a Pride of Lions before, remember? Well, yesterday we could drive no further as the road was blocked by 3 beautiful lionesses. As soon as we looked around we saw a whole lot more of those lazy lions. We think there were about 11 to 13! And the one was lazier than the other. You should have seen the smile on my face. WIld lions 🙂 One of the females had blood on her coat so they must have had a big meal just before the lazyness..hence the lazyness I suppose.
Yesteday and today we spotted some more lions, some in small prides others alone.
Early this morning, just after 9 am we caught a glimpse of 2 cheetahs, mother and cup! They were pretty far away and weren’t at all intersted in the cars that had gathered near them. Mum went to a little hill with a tree on it, lay down and her youngster followed. Both were quiet content to give us their time..Actually it was a bit sad to see, all those tourist in minibusses staring at them.. I hope mum was teaching her youngster that this is what she needs to do a couple of times a day..pose, yawn, stretch, play, lick and then those funny looking creatures are off again..Later in the day we spotted another cheetah who was all alone.
We were also soo lucky to have spotted a leopard!! Yep, the cheetah and shy leopard in one day! how lucky can we get? (you haven’t ready our lunch story yet..be prepared.
We also saw a HUGE pack of cape Buffalos! We guessed there must have been over 100 of them! Amazing to see, from far away and close-by! We could even see the oxpickers on their backs, ears, heads. Those little birdies were having a feast up there!
Some smaller species of animals we came accross where: the warthog, steinbok, white-bearded wildebeests, the bohor reedbuck and the very muscular and beautiful Topi! Near the end of our day we saw three very beautiful and oh so cute (at least I think so) black-backed jackals. They were adorable and not shy at all. They walked next to our bus.
During the afternoon we were surprised by some heavy rains. It poored down but it didn’t last long. But long enough to turn the dust roads into mudpools. That along with all the pudholes 4 wheeldrive was needed! Benton def knows his car. 🙂
Now who’s been paying attention? What kind of animal have I not mentionned yet? The Black Rhino, indeed. We haven’t seen one here, but we should come accross some later on.
I need to cut this short now as I am retyping it all..:( our bus leaves in 10 minutes so the blog will continue..
The one animal we got to spend an amazing lunch with was the elephant!! We had seen small and big herds, lone elderly males, roaming the savannah grounds, little babies being protected by their mums and aunties but the moment that I will remember for a long time was our lunch today J We saw 2 female elephants standing in the middle of the road and a tiny little elly laying on the ground..in the mud! At first we thought he or she was dead but no, it was just resting, in the mud. It was beautiful to see. It played a bit, lay down, tried to stand up..so we decided to have our picknic lunch right there and then! Who can say that they had lunch with 3 wild elephants? We can, now J What a feeling, what a sight! Of course we had not long started our lunches when the little one stood up, and started to pee and poop just there! While we were having our yummy lunch. Oh well, I am not complaining! At all. That moment was just wonderful!!
Before we head back to the lodge we stopped by a Masai Village of which I have forgotten the name but will try to get from Benton tomorrow. We were welcomed by some men and they invited us in, for a price of course but we were happy to pay so. Once inside they took us to one of the meeting grounds were we had to shake hands with all the men (boys) that were standing there. Some had just come back from a 5y absence in the Mara..Yes, boys are send away for about 5 years so they can go and learn all there is the learn..in the wild. We had to walk through a mixture of sand, poop, dirt…which was quiet an experience. Then they showed us how they made a fire (the men did of course) and when we had all gathered the men started singing and dancing for us. It was beautiful to see and here. Near the end of this performance they all jumped very high into the air.
We were invited into their houses..It takes about 2 months to build a house and it will last for about 9 y. After that the termites got into it and they need to rebuild it.
One house consists of a quarter for the young cow(s); then a big quarter where they prepare their food (its was very hot and steamy in there) and on each side of that there was a small sleaping quarter for the children/visitors and separated from that room was the parent’s room.
Each Masai man is allowed to have a few woman..how many depends on his wealth. For every woman he has to pay 10 cows to the girl’s family. BUT the first wife is chosen by the man’s family. All the others he can choose for himself.
How ever..every woman can have one man! The best…said a Masai Man .
After leaving their huts we were overwhelmed with the woman who were trying to sell us some of there own made jewelery, wooden carvings, scarves..They were all over you! All offering the same thing of cousre..That was a bit too much for me. I had enough of that. They were very nice and friendly and they welcomed us into their home but still..I did buy one of their famous scarves/blanckets and bracelets.
This was quiet the experience! I could write much more about these people but once again, eyes are getting smaller and brains’ not working too well anymore.
Tomorrow morning at 7am we are off to our next adventure..Lake Nakuru here we come!!