My friend, Caroline, recently went on a volunteer trip to Kenya. During her visit she had the opportunity to participate in a wildlife safari. I asked her to share with us some of her photos and experiences:
Going on safari in the Masai Mara Game Reserve in southern Kenya felt like stepping back in time 100 years. Granted, we were aiming cameras at the wildlife instead of guns, but the feeling was still definitely there.
To start with, instead of the hotel having rooms, there were instead “luxury tents.” Each room was actually a large canvas tent on a platform. To add to the exotic feeling, the beds were decked out with huge, drape-y mosquito nets. My roommate even found a hot water bottle between her sheets one night. Even the furniture looked old fashioned and as if it might have been carried in on the backs of mules. I half expected Teddy Roosevelt to jump out in a safari hat at any minute. Thankfully, each tent had a present day bathroom attached.
The normal schedule for a safari is to go out for a drive early in the morning for a few hours, hang around the hotel during the heat of the day while the animals are sleeping, and then go back out again in the late afternoon until dusk. I figured we would see a few cool animals from relatively far away but, instead, I could not believe how many animals we saw and also just how close we were to them.
There are five “big game” to see on a safari in Masai Mara: elephants, leopards, lions, buffalo, and rhinoceroses. The most rare animal we saw was the leopard. There were a few people in my group who had been on safari multiple times before and none of them had ever seen one so I was pretty excited we got the chance. We actually managed to see four in one day.
The first leopard we saw was hanging out in a tree. He had brought a little snack up there with him—and by little snack I mean half an antelope. If you look closely at the picture you can see the upside down antelope head in the bottom left corner.
The second leopard we saw was going kind of slowly because he had a giant dead bird hanging out of his mouth.
The third and fourth leopards were a mother and a baby that our amazing guide Peter spotted out of the corner of his eye and then got us within a few feet of them after an exciting chase with the van.
My favorite thing we saw though was the lions. They did not care about our vans being near them AT ALL. This meant we were super close to them. We even saw an entire pride of 14 or so “teenage” lions sleeping in the shade of a tree one day.
The only one of the five big game to see on safari that we did not see was the rhino. Not sure where they could have been hiding their enormous selves but guess that just means I’ll have to go back.
Thanks Caroline for sharing!
If you are interested in submitting a guest post, please contact me.