After three of my girlfriends asked me separately if we had any trips going to Maasai Mara they could join, it only made sense to make a group trip for all of them. What fun – a girly weekend safari! And miracle of miracles, we found a weekend that everyone was free!
Marion flew in from Kigali for the safari, the rest of us are expats in Nairobi. Michelle took an extra day off work for a truly decadent holiday and flew to the Maasai Mara on Thursday while the rest of us slummed it on the road on Friday. Unfortunately that road doesn’t improve, but an emergency chocolate biscuit stop in Narok saw us through to Sekanani Gate.
It’s been several months since I did a game drive in Maasai Mara and I always get the feeling that Francis only sees the good stuff when I’m not with him. But the afternoon game drive around to our camp was incredible! We saw a cheetah, elephants, giraffes, and two lion couples on a double date. Of course there were also topis, impalas and gazelles galore.
On Saturday morning we headed out with picnic breakfast for an early morning game drive. One highlight was a couple of lionesses prowling through the bushes with their eyes on a herd of wildebeest. But we probably spent more time watching a group of young hyenas playing in a river with a stick. Just like domestic puppies, they gambolled in and out of the water fighting for the all-important branch.
We headed up to the airstrip at Keekorok for breakfast and on our way spotted a group of four Ground Hornbills. Michelle had told us that she had an all female crew on her flight to Maasai Mara and just as we were expressing our delight at this leap forward for Kenya, a flight landed which again had two female pilots, different to Thursday’s crew, indicating Air Kenya’s great support for females in a male-dominated industry. Way to go Air Kenya!
We returned to the camp for lunch by the river and a short period to relax before heading out again for the afternoon. Zebras bathing in a dust bowl and Celia’s quest for the perfect baby zebra photo marked this game drive. As did the rain! But first we spotted a cheetah munching on a recently-hunted gazelle and then a very large group of ostriches. We could see the rain ahead of us and realised we were heading straight for it, but there was no avoiding that – the camp was there! And down it came. Marion relished the fresh air, the strong wind and the first drops for as long as possible, but eventually was driven down and the roof closed. Living in a city like Nairobi really makes a person appreciate the fresh air of the bush and we were all left revitalised after this weekend away.
On Sunday we had to head back however. Marion and Celia again drove with us, while Michelle took an afternoon flight. Not surprisingly, we didn’t see Michelle in the morning before we left. As we drove over the bridge into the park we saw just how much rain had fallen the day before. The almost-dry river had become a raging torrent. If there had been much more rain, the bridge could have been washed away! We had a final game drive before exiting the park and commencing the long drive back to Nairobi. Meanwhile Michelle relaxed for the morning, had a late breakfast, and then got to enjoy a cocktail at one of the very fancy camps from where she was taking her plane back home. We arrived home at the same time, but I don’t think I need to say whose travelling day I would prefer next time!