It is 7.15 in the morning, the sun is about to come out and Rob and I are finishing our breakfast at our lodge in Masai Mara National Game Reserve.
“So what do you think we’re gonna see?”
“I don’t know, animals I guess? Nature?”
“time to meet our guide – wash down that coffe and let’s go”
As we exit our lodge and pull out onto the main road, we see a huge herd of buffalos. We stand up in the car immediately and start taking pictures. Our guide smiles and tells us most people don’t get exited unless there are lions involved. We like all animals, we answer and take some more photos.
After a little while our guide tells us he has gotten a call on the radio about a rhino a few minutes drive away. We rush over to check it out, and indeed see a beautiful black Rhino standing under a tree not too far from the road.Unlike the peaceful and social White Rhino, the Black one is both shy and very aggressive – it is also the most endangered out of the two types.
Happy that we got to see this very rare animal, we keep on going, looking for more animals. After a little while we see a rather large group of Elephants. Having been to the shelter in Nairobi, the fully grown Elephants seem incredibly large, and we feel an overwhelming sense of respect for them. (some of them really are larger than the safari van we are in)
as we move on, we drive around for a while without spotting any animals at all, but the park is beautiful in its own right and we enjoy the scenery. We decide to make a stop at the Mara River, to look for hippos and crocodiles. As we exit the van and get closer to the river, we hear sounds coming from the water. We quickly realize that these sounds are hippos blowing water out of their noses as they stick their heads up from the river. The group of hippos is rather big and there are even quite a few baby hippos in the mix!
As I try to get closer in order to get better photos, I am told by our guide to keep my distance – as hippos are known to kill humans for fun. It is hard to belive that these adorable animals are cold-blooded killers, but looking at their size I realize that they are probably more than capable of hurting me if they decide that they want to do so. Some other tourists tell us that they saw crocodiles further down the river, so Rob and I decide to go look as well. Sadly we can’t see anything and decide to go back to the van.
Our guide tells us somebody spotted a group of lions, but that they are pretty far away. We begin our drive to the other end of the park, enjoying the hills, the yellow grass and the occasional group of zebras, gazelles or buffalos. As we get closer to where the lions have been spotted, our guide stops the car all of a sudden, telling us to look ahead. After a few minutes we see it too – there is a lioness walking straight towards us. She crosses the road and keeps on walking right past the van. We keep on driving, and finally reach the rest of the lions – a group of lionesses and cubs resting under a tree.
For me this is, easily, the highlight of the whole day. I love all of the big cats, and seeing so many small cubs just melt my heart. After we have taken at least a hundred photos, we finally let the guide drive away from the lions. It is time for lunch, and as we wanted more time out looking for animals, we have agreed to eat out in the park. Our guide finds us a quiet spot, where we have a picnic out in the bush – awesome 🙂
The rest of the day is, sadly, rather quitet in terms of animals. The truth is, you do generally spend a lot of time just searching while on game drives. It is, after all, not a trip to the zoo but a visit to the animals own habitat – and you can’t control nature. After a few hours of not finding much we head back to the lodge. We really enjoyed seeing so many animals in their natural environment, and the park itself is beautiful as well. I am pretty sure I will remember some of these moments for the rest of my life! 🙂