Literally and figuratively speaking Kenya is the ultimate Animal Kingdom. Over the weekend I had yet another chance to immerse myself in the vast immaculate Maasai Mara located South West Kenya. Some people have asked me if I don’t get bored going one too many times to the same place and my answer is always the same. “It’s never a dull day in the Animal Kingdom”The entry to the reserve has a rather special welcome of the African Massage which I have to say leaves you rather tired than relaxed. However when you make your 1st stop and notice there nothing but acacia shrubs, grazing zebras and wildebeest, you immediately know the rough ride was well worth it. This time I had the opportunity to stay at camp that has been voted the Leading Tented Camp in Kenya for 2 years consecutively; Encounter Mara Camp. Our guide for stay was a nice Maasai Called Dickson who was happy to set up our 1st bush meals right in the middle of the park.
After having the relaxed brunch we headed to camp as the hotter hours of the day do not allow for good game viewing and photography. The cam managers Collin and Chala were very hospitable and were happy to show us around really got out of their way to make us extremely comfortable. The tents at Encounter Mara are tastefully done without losing the bush appeal. My favorite aspect of PERFECT hotel room is view one gets from the room or the room patio. Encounter Mara has definitely aced that effect as right outside my room literally less than 5 meters was herd of 10 zebras just relaxing and grazing. It is definitely a lovely view to wake up to.
At about 4pm we had a lovely high tea set up just before heading to our 1st game drive. The thing with game drives there is never a guarantee or expectation to be filled; it’s always a surprise that you will only know once you jet off. On the 1st 6 minutes of the game drive we got to meet the ‘resident’ cheetah family of mother and 5 cubs. She seemed completely at ease and did not run away. We spend almost 30 minutes just staring at her before she went to feed her cubs. It is one of those moments that are hard to write about.
As we continued with the game drive we spotted a jackal and there is something about a jackal wail, rather than annoy you it actually seemed to amuse me. We also got to see a lioness carrying around her catch of the day. We were not so lucky as it started pouring really heavily, and the open sided vehicle that give you perfect game viewing experience were a nightmare as we got drenched in rain. This however did not stop us from having our sundowner besides the elephants. We did not get to get out of the car so we just packed the car and watched the ellies as they ate and we enjoyed our wine.
After that we headed back to the camp for a lovely steaming shower to get the cold away. Dinner was served indoors as it was still raining. The goo thing was when it rains I sleep so peacefully. We all slept like stones and even got late for our early morning game drive the following morning. I honestly think Collin and Chala are on a mission to get everyone really fat. They literally feed you every 2 hours and not just a snack but really good food that one can’t resist. So after an early morning breakfast at 0630hrs we head of for a whole day of game viewing and checking out different hotels. I always like to have a look at hotels while am traveling just to know other cool places to stay or recommend others to stay in.
The highlight on this day was seeing lions mating. It was an interesting experience; they mate for less than 20 seconds but repeat it throughout the day for a week. Our guide gave us so much information about the mating process of lions…It was such a laugh.
We also got a chance to go to a Maasai Village that is not created for touristic purposes, the people there go by their day and on request they are happy to have the women do a dance where we joined them. The ladies have special hearts, they share husbands and do not have the city life women drama. As much as I would not want to share my man, being able to live so happy and in unison with friends and family is so heart warming.
On our last night dinner was served in outside in the bush as it was clear starry night. I really did enjoy the chicken cordon bleu with creamy spinach served with mash potatoes. We sat in the bust having wine chatting the night away. Time is of no concept whilst in the bush; it is all about soaking in the beautiful landscapes and wildlife.
Much love from the bush. Until next time Happy People.
– Lea –