Safari in Maasai Mara National Park, Kenya - A Photo Feature
Although it's been over 3 years since we went on an epic trip to Kenya, we still talk about it on a regular basis and are ready to go back there in a heartbeat! That trip was filled with many unforgettable experiences, with a highlight being our 3 day safari in Maasai Mara National Park. It's hard to explain what an amazing experience it truly is so I'll just share some photos with you instead.
First views of the grasslands.
Views like this are what makes Maasai Mara one of the greatest landscapes on Earth. A lone tree full of vultures and sprinkled with Wildebeest as far as the eyes can see.
As luck had it, we were also there around the time of The Great MIgration - Over 2 million Wildebeest follow the rain and greener pastures from Serengeti National Park, Tanzania to Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya every year during July through October.
The Great Wildebeest Migration's hurdle is the Mara river and the various predators that wait for them along the way. We waited for a good hour before the bravest of the wildebeest took the first plunge to cross the river and before we know it, its a stampede. Why the stampede? The river is filled with hungry crocodiles who are waiting to make an easy meal out of the weaker wildebeest.
The majority of those that do make the crossing make good use of their Kenyan holiday- they graze from dawn to dusk.
Another species besides the wildebeest that you can see in abundance are the beautiful zebras.
Spot the differences: The stripes on a zebra are unique to each animal, but when they are in a herd the zebra’s distinct stripes merge into a big mass and make it hard for predators to single out individual animals. And although it's hard to believe that their black and white stripes do not allow for camouflage, it does indeed blend in to the grassland.
We had a small traffic jam with a herd of 30 elephants on our way to the camp. Rush hour in Maasai Mara can be quite daunting. And no one was complaining- We enjoyed just watching these amazing creatures till they decided to let us pass.
Seen here are two youngsters from that same herd who appear to be sharpening their tusks.
And sometimes the traffic comes to a complete halt.
The White Rhino is built like a tank- keep your distance and have the vehicle running in case you need to flee. Although, the black Rhino is almost extinct now due to illegal hunting and poaching, the White Rhino's conservation status is thankfully growing. Did you know that it's actually a "wide" Rhino because of the shape of its Lower Jaw.
Our morning commute looked like this.
The Wildebeest migration, with its abundance of food for all ,coincides with the mating season for the first families of the grasslands.
The King of the jungle and his lioness. A break between the many mating sessions these two indulged in.
...While the rest of the harem wait for their turn. Is that a Mirror Image?
These 2 adolescents had each others backs when they were out to get a drink of water.
The Maasai Mara is also home to a huge population of the Impala- seen here is the harem of female impalas; always alert.
The bountiful Mara means survival for this Cheetah and her cubs. This female cheetah is watching out for her cubs while they feed on a fresh kill of Thomson's Gazelle.
Nothing goes to waste in the grasslands. Vultures act as the cleanup crew. Seen here are White and black-backed Vultures feeding on the carcass of a Wildebeest.
The magnificent Giraffe- Elegant and Subdued. Giraffes were my favorite and I was constantly trying to spot them in the distance and drive out there.
This guy below was playing a game of hide and seek with us! ADORABLE.
The Cape buffalo - Part of the Big Five Game in Africa alongside the Elephant, Lion, Leopard and Rhino. Big Five refers to the difficulty in bagging these large animals, mostly due to their ferocity when cornered and shot at. Safari tour operators simply took the phrase "big 5" and turned it into a marketing term.
This family of Hippos run for cover upon hearing our vehicle. Hippos are the most territorial and will defend their stretch of the river! Hippos are no less ferocious than their Big 5 counterparts.
Can you "spot" the Leopard? We followed this Leopard to a small mound and he was camouflaged so well behind the tall grass. This was a very difficult picture to take as we didn't want to scare him away with the flash of the camera, it was almost dusk, and mosquitoes would not help us to stay still. Again no complaints here - leopards are pretty hard to spot, and we were glad to see one at the end of the day!
The Land cruisers and the familiarity of those with the animals allows us close access.
The Maasai Mara is possibly one of the most breathtaking landscapes, colossal in size, the most astonishing piece of untouched virgin land on the African continent. After being so close to these magnificent animals, it's depressing to think of the effects of poaching and game hunters.
Absolutely one of the best experiences of my life, HIGHLY recommend a safari experience to everyone! Have you been? Would you like to go? Share in the comments below!