The next day we got up very early as our guide for the next 6 days would pick us up at our hotel to take us to our first destination: the Maasai Mara.
After breakfast and check out, we saw our jeep which would almost be our home in those days. A Toyota jeep 4×4 in very good condition, as we decided to pay a little more for this vehicle, since the other option was a van that did not look in very good condition. This decision we made after we saw the safari itinerary and saw that there were at least 8 hours of road between park and park, in addition to all the reviews saying that inside the Maasai Mara and in the other parks the terrain is full of bumps and it is better to have a better car. The truth is we do not regret it at all, and if you do a safari I also recommend this option.
From Nairobi to Maasai Mara it would be at least 7 hours on the way, our guide Noah, who was the best guide we could have, started giving us information as soon as we got into the jeep.
As soon as we left the tourist area of Nairobi where we stayed, we started to see the real Kenya, all the colors, traffic, people walking everywhere, selling things on the street, a beautiful and different chaos. Noah told us that Kenya was the country of the walkers, and during the whole trip we saw what he meant, everyone goes walking everywhere, many to work, others to school, in the middle of the road, under the intense sun and wearing suits or the women with heels and super dressed up.
After a few hours on the road, dodging baboons haha, we made a stop to stretch our legs and appreciate the views of the Great Rift Valley which is immense and impressive.
Later we began to see people dressed a little different, with a type of cloth with, generally, the same colors and designs; we had already entered Maasai territory. The Maasai are an ethnic group inhabiting southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, of which I will speak later in more detail, as we visit one of their villages.
Our guide Noah had already warned us that at the last hour of the road we were going to have a Maasai massage, and soon we discovered what he meant: the road was not paved anymore, now it was only dirt road in a very bad shape full of bumps, so despite having a 4×4 jeep everything was moving. But finally, after all the wiggle, we arrived at the entrance of the National Park “Maasai Mara”.
Our guide went down to present his permit and I suppose to pay the tickets at the ticket office and there we were surrounded by Maasai women selling souvenirs. Noah before going down warned us about these products, as he says that they are sold as “handmade” but many are made in China.
We arrived at our hotel just at lunchtime and to rest a bit as we had to prepare for our first game drive at the Maasai Mara in which we stayed two nights.
From here, the words will be few and the images many. I’ll just write some curious facts about some animals that our spectacular guide Noah told us.
Enjoy the wonder of the Maasai Mara:
After delighting us with the cheetah family, Noah drove into a large clearing with wildebeest around and saw a single lion and lioness lying in the middle of nowhere. Noah immediately told us: “Do you know why they are alone? They are on their honeymoon! Maybe if we are lucky we will see something” And almost as soon as he said that, we saw that the male got up and began to walk to the lioness. Noah speeded up because he told us that it was almost 100% that something was going to happen, we got closer … and it happened what it had to happen. The whole act lasted about 20 seconds haha, but Noah assured us that it happens at least every 15 minutes! Noah told us that we had been very lucky, because it is not very easy to witness this, he in his more than 15 years of guide had only seen it twice, including this time.
WARNING! ANIMAL PORN AHEAD!
Those are the only photos we could take in the 20 seconds that all lasted hahaha, and with the camera at super fast shutter speed.
After the show of the honeymooners, we headed to the Maasai village. This part was not included in the tour package, and this is because the $25 that is paid per person is delivered directly to the village leader. He told us that the village’s income is from cattle and tourism.
Many say or think that the Maasai only give shows to tourists, with dances and all the dressing up, but that really is no longer their lifestyle. But unless those people have slept all the way to the Maasai Mara, you can see passing through the city many dressed like that in the bank, in the shops, buses, etcetera, where there are no tourists. It is likely that young people do not follow some traditions of the past, such as tooth extraction or scarification, but this is a very large ethnic group (covering two countries) and does not appear to be extinguishing soon.
So after we were part of their traditional dances, we were invited to their village and inside their houses which by the way, are made of cow dung. Basically everything revolves around cows, since one of their “typical dishes” is cow milk with cow blood. Fortunately we were not offered.
And so our two wonderful days at the Maasai Mara where over, in which our hotel was also fabulous. Even the mad hyena who woke us up in the middle of the night, and the guard who chased it away added flavor to the experience, because well yes, we were in the middle of the savannah.
My first Safari experience could not had been better, and it was just the beginning. We still had 4 days to see many animals!