Sunday, August 7, 2011

East Africa Day 75 (July 27): Maasai Mara Day 3

I had a bit of a stomach ache last night and woke up a little sore, but ready for our early AM game drive! We met in the dining hall before breakfast and were on our way into the park at 7:34am, just as the sun was rising behind the village next to our campsite. I tried to get a photo of the plastic debris scattered alongside the dirt road, woven into the Mara grasses, and some of the sun rising behind the village. It was so silent and quiet, given the early hour.

The park was so beautiful. This AM game drive was my favorite of all of our game drives. We didn't see as many animals, but it was so peaceful in the park as we drove through, watching the sun rise.

We saw antelope, wildebeest, ostrich, elephants, lions, buffalo with birds riding on their noses and backs ...

... giraffe, more of my likely favorite - zebra. But one of my favorite things - if not my most favorite - was watching the antelope swish their tails! Got some video!!

Jacque took off for the local airport while we were on the game drive, because he had an afternoon flight out of the main Nairobi airport, heading to Madagascar to see family before returning to the USA. The Italians weren't with us, either - they had headed onto another park. So there were less of us in the van, which made it easier to move around and maybe a little quieter, but it also made it feel like the whole safari was really coming to a close. That being said, I thought three days in the Mara might not be enough, but I think it turned out to be a good amount of time to spend in the park.

We drove around until maybe 10am, and then had to head back to the campsite where we picked up our bags, and then headed out on the road back to Nairobi. We stopped at a roadside curio shop (tourist trap central!!!) on our way back, to use the bathroom, and passed Maasi villages. I got some photos of the corrals that I loved so much, made out of branches, and perhaps one of my favorite photos of the summer - a combo hotel and butchery - still can't believe these exist.

We stopped for lunch at the same roadside hotel/restaurant, where we'd stopped on our way to the Mara. We then stopped at another hotel further up the road on the way to Nairobi, where we dropped the Belgians off with another van who would be taking them to Lake Nakuru (their next adventure) and we picked up some other travelers from another tourist van, who were heading to Nairobi. It was just the Nepalese couple and myself left, with our driver, John. By this point I really wasn't feeling great, and was happy to get back to Nairobi and to sleep in my bed. John dropped everyone off at their hotels in the CBD. I was last. The traffic was so terrible that I just got out and walked, and I'm sure that I made it home faster than if John had driven me. He was headed back to the Mara with another tourist group the very next day. This is the high season!

So glad that I went on safari to the Mara!

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