Saturday, September 9, 2017

Maasai Mara Safari

To reach our lodging for the night, we passed through the eastern part of Maasai Mara. By the time we exited the park gates, we had seen so much beauty we wondered if the next day would favor us.

Our safari guide, Sammy, told us this is the famous tree
used in most of the Africa photos commonly seen.
Indeed, I can see why.

Look closely to see the lion couple resting in the shade under the bush.
This would not be our only peek at the pair.

Leslie (left), Rebecca (center), and Jennifer (right)

Lots of other beautiful acacias graced our path.
As it turns out these are some of my favorite photos.

Fewer than 20 minutes earlier, these four cubs and their mama
took down a wildebeest.

Sammy explained how rare it is to find four surviving cubs.
Given that the wildebeest migration is on, food is in plenty.

Ostrich in the distance but no road to reach them.

Ilkeliani Tent Camp is HIGHLY recommended for your Maasai Mara safari experience.

A path through the woods led by three Maasai warriors carrying our luggage.
Honestly, there were so many paths and no signs. We got lost a few times.
Our first stop was the reception tent
where fresh juice and several key staff members waited.

Refills were free. (The other ladies had tea.)
Our tent was clean and comfortable.
Hot showers, flush toilet, and no bugs.
Best camping trip ever!

Our tent overlooked a small ravine and the sunset.

Eventually we found the mess tent, the place where our table was reserved
and we received special attention from the chef.

Our breakfast/dinner table overlooked the winding ravine
where the baboon were tempting the Maasai keepers to use their big sticks.
Yes, that is Heinz. Happy me, despite having never needed it.

Relaxing on the upper veranda following our second safari day.

The staff always found us just in time to offer appetizers and drinks.

Our second day safari was long but beautiful. The 1.5 thousand-acre preserve was filled with animals of all kinds.

The size of one Maasai herd of cattle. Wealth beyond measure.

Surprised and thrilled to found the mama and her four cubs again the second day.

Can you really ever see enough?

Our lion couple lounging once again. Later in the day we saw a lone male
loping along the wrong side of the bush for us to get a good look.

These two female ostriches were being chased by a single male.
Flapping their wings and doing some dancing, our intrusion cooled them all.

Behind Rebecca and I is the Serengeti plains where the wildebeest migrated from.

The crocks were tired from all their work (see next photo).

The many gorgeous hippo wading in the Talek River
were unconcerned with their close neighbors.
The dead wildebeest, thanks to the crocks, were piled up
and saved for later.

We enjoyed our lunch from this vantage point. The wildebeest were charging
their way to the edge of this sandy cliff with the intent to cross over.
The steep drop, and perhaps seeing their cousins collected at the bottom,
forced their retreat. We hoped to watch them cross the river
but they refused...for now.

Probably the same lion couple selecting just the right tree.

We were always enthralled by the vast number of animals living in harmony.

Zeebra hugs.

The number of wildebeest were too immeasurable to count.

Time to return to real life following an evening of relaxation and great food. On our way out we returned through the eastern part of the preserve, but before we entered we found yet another giant herd.

The thrill of safari and seeing all the animals in their natural habitat was indeed a blessing. Something more remained, though. Our hearts were full of awe in what God had created both in animals, nature, and people and culture. Simply in awe.