The Ultimate ‘Lion King’ Moment!!
I think I was running on a total of 6 hours of sleep for two days, but I’ve never been so AWAKE! Nope, it wasn’t caffeine or sugar, it was the adrenaline rush of seeing such beautiful living beings! Driving in the Masai Mara National Reserve (also known as Maasai Mara) is a unique opportunity to see several animal species – lions, giraffes, elephants, cheetahs, gazelles, wildebeests, zebras and so many more – in their natural habitat. We got an experienced driver (car provided) to drive us around for the 2-days we were there. I’m not sure what the rules are for self-driving in the park (I think it’s allowed with some contingencies), but I strongly recommend against it for two mains reasons:
- There are no ‘roads’ or ‘loops’ that you can follow in the park. Sure, there are old tire tracks that you can follow, but those are not necessarily a legit path. It’s like walking in the desert.
- The drivers have a unique network of communication and understanding. When an unusual animal or sight is spotted it is immediately announced to all drivers in the vicinity. Without this network, it can get pretty hard to spot animals in this ~1500 sq km park. This is also how we saw the cheetah and her cub in the pictures below, something that is pretty rare to come by because of how protective cheetahs get of their cubs.
Park fees is around $80 for adults and $30 for children. The 2-days I spent at the park were some of the most unforgettable moments of my life. I honestly would not have minded hanging around for a few more days. It’s hard to get tired of seeing wildlife in such an organic manner.
On the second morning we did the hot air balloon tour at the break of dawn. Floating over the park and watching it wake up for the day made me feel truly connected to nature! I have a separate post describing the whole experience here!
We also visited a Masai Village on the second day, on the recommendation of our amazing driver. The visit was a brief insight into the lives of the Masai people and was a fun experience. The villagers were extremely friendly and welcoming. It was pretty obvious that the village was used to hosting tourists looking for an insight into the lives of the Masai. They explained some traditions and lifestyle of the tribe to us. A bunch of the villagers were fluent in English and answered our questions in detail. They even had little stalls of hand-made Masai trinkets, almost like a souvenir shop.
We stayed in one of the lodges around Masai Mara. Our ‘room’ was pretty much a tent with a functioning bathroom built in. It sounds weird, but it’s extremely comfortable! Think of it as a regular hotel room with canvas for walls. Aka GLAMPING! Each tent is about 20 meters away from the next, assuring enough privacy. This is usually the standard layout for most of the lodges around the reserve.
Next up, posts on Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha!
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!