The Wonderful Spirit Of The Mara | Lifestyle | KenyaBuzz
Lifestyle

The Wonderful Spirit Of The Mara

28 Sep 2016 | By Lisa Mugera

The Maasai Mara Experience
Courtesy: Cedi Mungai

We were greeted with the sight of a buffalo. It then hit me that this was it– we were right at the heart of the Mara and there was no going back.

I am part of a 4-member #TwendeMara team chosen by the Kenya Tourism Board to take over their social media pages during this Great Wildebeest Migration period. The aim is to showcase Kenya as the ultimate tourist destination anywhere in the world. Our job is to get people packing and travelling to places, more than they ever did before.

Now my other team members are complete travel gurus. I, on the other hand, am a travel newbie. So I have to admit, I was a little terrified of sleeping at the Siana Conservancy– especially with the continuous grunts and gargles of buffaloes just a stone throw away!

Check In – Day 1
We arrive at the Spirit of the Masai Mara

The Maasai Mara Experience
Courtesy: Cedi Mungai

At about 3.30p.m. we are karibishwa (welcomed) by the lovely couple who run the Spirit of the Masai Mara lodge– Nadja and Justin. The place is quite exquisite to say the least, almost close to a tiny little heaven right at the heart of the Maasai Mara.

Our rooms are equally gorgeous, a modern makuti hut with out-of-this-world décor. An overly lavish stay.

Game Drive – Day 2
The main reason we are at the Mara

The Maasai Mara Experience
Courtesy: Cedi Mungai

We are up by 5.15am, getting ready for an early morning game drive at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. Sunrise finds us on the road, in a comfy safari tour van with 6 excited tourists ready and geared up to sight some wildlife!

One of the most memorable moments is when a herd of stone-hued African elephants plods right in front of our van. Our dedicated guides, Dominic and Kios, advise us to hush every time we come close to the animals. I find it intriguing how they never consider vehicles a threat. Maybe they think of them as lost strangers trying to find their way home.

Our tour proceeds. We get to meet many more animals roaming about looking for their breakfast; tall Maasai giraffes, graceful impalas running together in fleets, the beautifully striped zebras and of course, the very shy warthogs.

Then in come the cats. Our first sighting is of two leopards that have just gotten a fresh kill. The mother, as Dominic informs us, is standing by teaching her cub how to hunt and kill its prey. As usual, we hush and join the other travelers around us to watch this spectacular phenomenon.

The Maasai Mara Experience
Courtesy: Cedi Mungai

Right afterwards, we have a beautiful bush breakfast under a large acacia tree at the reserve. But since we’ll now be out in the open rather than inside the van, our guides take us to an area that the predators don’t usually stray into.

Remember: Animals don’t view vehicles as a threat. However, if you’re on your two feet, then they view you as a fellow animal and may then pounce on you if they sense that you are a threat to them.

After the delectable meal, we are on our way to find ourselves some lions. I mean, half the experience of coming to the Maasai Mara is spotting the undisputed king of the Savannah, right? Our search is successful and we come across a pride of lionesses, some on their siesta and others looking at us menacingly, probably wondering why we are interrupting!

Then, luck be on our side, we get to see a young lion. It is seated magnificently in the middle of a shrub, watching us invade his space. At this point we are the quietest that we have been the entire day, perhaps realizing that we are at his majesty’s presence.

The Maasai Mara Experience
The Maasai Mara Experience

Courtesy: Cedi Mungai

Afterwards is a trip to the Mara River, the most recognizable hotspot of one of the Seven New Wonders of the World– the Great Wildebeest Migration. We see the wildebeest create a formation to cross the river, with the brave leader right at the front. Moments later, as though they have had a change of heart, they decide not to go ahead with the treacherous undertaking, much to our chagrin.

Nonetheless, we get to see hippos and crocodiles by the river bed and capture live shots of a hippo getting up and effortlessly dipping into the coffee-brown river water while we watched!

1:00 p.m.
Lunch is served by the river

The Maasai Mara Experience
Courtesy: Cedi Mungai

We have some sumptuous delicacies then it is time to pack up and leave to head back to the reserve. On our long drive back, as luck would have it, we see a lioness target its prey, catch it, kill it and feast on it all in a span of 3 minutes!

6:00 p.m.
The sunset meal

The Maasai Mara Experience
Courtesy: MEAACT Photo/Stuart Price

This experience comes as a complete surprise courtesy of our hosts. One of the team members is celebrating their birthday and we are treated to a traditional ‘Maasai Ambush’ dance. Traditionally what happens with the dance (normally targeted at the ladies) is that the Maasai men jump as line up to jump as high as they can; the winner gets to lady of his choosing and goes ahead to marry her.

We all join in the fun and try to jump just as high as the Maasai did. Five jumps later, we were all huffing and puffing, thanks to all the city junk in us. Nevertheless, we get our kicks just from trying.

Check Out – Day 3
A farewell to Mara

The Maasai Mara Experience
Courtesy: Cedi Mungai

A somewhat somber affair since we really don’t want to face the fact that we are leaving this paradise. By this time I am completely confident cohabiting with the animals. Three days in, I’m also in sync with the beats and rhythms of this natural wonder.

But all good things must come to an end. Besides, there’s always a next time. We also have gazillion pics of our travels that will serve as memories of the incredible time we had at The Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Hopefully, these will make you want to be a part of our adventures too. Travel and enjoy magical Kenya just as much as we did!

The Maasai Mara Experience
The Maasai Mara Experience
The Maasai Mara Experience
The Maasai Mara Experience
MORE: Exploring Nairobi For Hidden Gems
MORE: Exploring Nairobi For Hidden Gems
Courtesy: Cedi Mungai

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