Our journey to the Mara began with us travelling from HYDERABAD to Nairobi. We had a short layover in Dubai, so I got to scout the shops, that I could come back and shop later on during the trip. We stayed back in Nairobi for the night, in the picturesque Nairobi Serena Hotel. The place was really nice, the ambience and the food too!
Early Wednesday morning, we left for Maasai Mara, after a very sumptuous breakfast at the hotel. We had a few visitors on the table beside us; cute and friendly bulbuls. We left around 8 in the morning, to the Mara, we went by a longer and more bumpy road. The driver or guide we had hired called Joseph, called it ubiquitously free African massage road. We stayed at the Tipilkwani resort in Nakuru county, very close to the Mara. Pictured below is a giraffe that was across the river named Talek.
On one side of the river, was the resort and the other side was the Maasai Mara! We reached post lunch around 3 in the afternoon. We were offered some fruits and cake along with tea or coffee. December isn’t really a good time to travel here, but that said, we did really have a great time, we saw 3 out of the 5 Big 5.
The morning started with yummy breakfast, I had a masala omelette with lots of fruits and got to try some of the local fruits! Apart from this we had toasts with butter and jam. We were given French pressed coffee, the coffee tasted really nice and fruity. The previous night it had rained a lot, so the roads were slushy. We spent a few good hours inside the Maasai Mara. First we saw Topi’s then we saw some Thomson Gazelle’s.
Those of you who know me, would know that I am a little paranoid when it comes to my camera and camera equipment and it was also drizzling, I had read online to be a little cautious, to not let the electronic parts, specifically the LCD screen wet. I prevented it as much as I could!
Putting that aside, our guide Joseph got news from his friends, through the radio, that a group of Male Cheetah’s have been spotted. So we went and waited patiently for them, they came out into the open, and we were pretty close to where they were, they posed for so many photos! Some of the best photos of this trip are the Cheetah’s! I am definitely showcasing these in my exhibition.
After this, we saw a group of elephants! Boy were they huge in size, their ears alone were 3 feet long! There was a smaller one without tusks. Definitely a new born or younger one? After which we saw some male giraffes they were munching their lunch! Notice how short all the trees are? They are being mowed down by them! All of them are of a uniform height.
We decided to return to the resort for lunch. Little did we know that the rains would have affected the road. We crossed a bridge, that connects the Mara with our resort. We managed to get back a short distance, when we observed that the rains had inundated the road, which had to taken to go back to our resort.
Our guide decided that we can go to a Maasai village, we got off down near a village and we interacted and observed their culture. They did a welcome dance for us and asked the men in our group to jump as high as they can, this shows the strength or vitality of men, so we have been told. After which, we entered their camp and they showed us a typical Maasai hut, that it is made out of a mixture of clay and cow dung. The hut has 2 rooms and a hall area so to speak, the hall serves as a kitchen as well. The room for the grown-ups was covered with cow’s skin as the bed cover. They explained their polygamous culture, where 1 husband has 10 wives and each wife along with their children stay in a hut each.
After this, they showed us Maasai women dance, which was a welcome dance for all of the women in the group. Their was a cute puppy entertaining all of us as well. The Maasai Men, then showed us how the kindle fire, by using 2 pieces of wood. All of us were getting really hungry at this point, so we were about to leave, when a small shop was setup; selling Maasai handicraft. I picked up two beaded bangles, which are very nice!
We started to go back and the water hadn’t receded as of yet, so a family rescued us, in their 4 wheel drive Toyota vehicle. They dropped us off at our resort and we stayed there, till early morning the next day. We sort of came back in time for lunch, so I chose the Tree Tomato Pasta for lunch. Another interesting dish was a Baby Marrow soup, fellow vegetarians do not get scared, it is Baby Zucchini, along with some fruits, juice and water. We went back to our tent, got a little rest for a while, before going on a walk to see what other attractions were present in the resort. That is when we discovered there is a bridge connecting our resort to the Maasai Mara reserve. Ideally we would have crossed and seen the other side, but we were advised not to, as there was flooding on the other side.
Later on during the evening we were served coffee, some baked goods and fruits. I loaded some of the photos that were taken during the trip. I was eagerly waiting to see how the other photos turned out! We spent some time in the dining area, observing the beautiful sunset. We stayed back there till dinner time. Dinner was a little strange again, being a vegetarian traveller is always difficult. The sound of the river gushing through was calming later on in the night. We all ate as much as we could and got a good nights sleep!
Next day morning, we all woke up pretty early as our flight was leaving for Dubai at 4:50PM. We went through the Maasai Mara this time, the road was a whole lot better than it was when were coming to the place and we made it in good time. Since we didn’t have a chance to see Lions the previous day, we were anyway going through the camp, Joesph took us to a group of Lionesses. They look and behave just like cats, sleepy and drowsy as soon as they wakeup.
The road was extremely picturesque, with a few towns, every few kilometres. Just before we joined the main highway, we stopped at a souvenir shop, picked up some fridge magnets here. After about an hour and 15 minutes we stopped for stretching our legs and a washroom break. We were able to see Mount Kenya again. This section of the road reminds me of both Ooty and Coorg, the hairpin bends, the twisting and turning roads.
We reached the airport well in time, we were at terminal 1C. We entered the airport and went to a security check of sorts, our luggage was X-ray scanned. We got our boarding pass and went to clear customs. Meanwhile we looked for a place to have lunch, we had vegetarian biryani, yogurt and water of course for lunch. Before we went to our gate, I decided to stop at a shop and pickup coffee powder. As I said earlier the coffee was very fruity and nice, wanted my parents to try it too! Around 3 O’clock we went through a proper security check, we had to deposit our footwear and bags and only carry our boarding passes. After this we were waiting in a lounge for boarding to begin.
Our flight in Emirates was good, I watched the new Downton Abbey movie, it was really nice, wondering why it didn’t come to theatres here! We reached Dubai at around 11, we finished customs and immigration pretty quick, waited a little while for our luggage. We reached our hotel JW Marriot Marquis, at around midnight, got our room only at 1 in the morning, due to some confusion.
More on Dubai, in the next post!