Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Safari trip to Kenya's Maasai Mara, Lake Nakuru and Amboseli

Images of highland savannas and wild animals roaming around were vivid in my mind as we landed in Nairobi, Kenya. Many have asked me what destinations I have not been to. And my ready answer always is, "A lot!" And one of the places I was about to tick off my bucket list was Kenya!

I was about to venture on an African safari in a fantastic country at the center of Africa's great migration. We spent the night in Nairobi, Kenya's capital, which sits 1600 meters above sea level. So despite its location near the equator, Nairobi can get really cold.

Despite getting up really early, we ended up leaving Nairobi late in the morning after having to go through the city's notorious rush hour traffic as we picked up other passengers. 

Our first stop was at one of the many viewpoints for the Great Rift Valley which stretches 6,000 kilometers from the Red Sea to Mozambique.

From there, we continued driving down the valley, passing through wilderness and occasional small towns and villages before we finally made it to Narok. It was several more kilometers through dirt road before we arrived at our tented camp, where we were to spend two nights, our jump-off for game drives at the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Tented camps are a cheap but comfortable way to experience Africa's parks. Note that we slept on beds and that each tent had its own toilet. Electricity is available only at certain hours in the evening and morning. But since it gets really cold at night, there's no need for air conditioning.

After tea at the camp, we proceeded to the park. We passed by several Maasai villages. And I like it how locals would wave at us as our van passed by.

At the gates of the park, we were greeted by Maasai ladies selling various souvenirs. The best buys would be shukas (woven blankets used as garments) and beaded necklaces and bracelets. They give the best prices, unlike the many curio shops that try to get as much money from you as they can.

The weather at Maasai Mara was pleasant as we spotted our first impalas, buffalos, zebras, giraffes, elephants, lions and hippos. The excitement that I felt seeing animals in the wild was worth all the hours spent trying to get here from Manila.

I'll talk more about Maasai Mara in my next post. But if you're interested to join safari trips to Kenya next year, e-mail me at ivanhenares@redvinta.com. Also check out my Kenya Safari album.

Part 2: Game drive at Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve

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