Wishing all our friends and followers a Happy New Year 2013!
We are starting the new year with a special series of posts on our trip to Masai Mara. These posts will feature every Wednesday and Sunday, starting today.
We landed at the Mara Serena airstrip in Masai Mara, Kenya on an afternoon in October and found two jeeps waiting for us. One took our luggage to the hotel and the other took us directly onto our maiden safari into Masai Mara. As we headed off the airstrip, Emmanuel our driver cum guide, gave us a quick brief about the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, Africa.
Looking at our camera gear, which on this trip included our trusted three bodies and lens combination, Emmanuel curiously asked us as to what we would like to see. We replied we will take everything that comes our way since this was our first trip to Masai Mara. In fact, ‘be happy with whatever comes your way and soak in all the experience’ has been our motto during every single safari that we have done anywhere in the world.
As we headed into the evening safari, we saw a few Zebras drinking water from a waterhole and a little further up we could see the massive herds of the Wildebeest. We were told that these Wildebeest had crossed back onto this side of the Mara river and were now leaving Masai Mara and heading towards Northern Serengeti. We realized that on this first safari, Emmanuel had taken us to that part of the Serengeti plains where the Kenya -Tanzania border splits the Serengeti plains into the Masai Mara and the Serengeti national park.
It was an astonishing sight to watch the entire horizon filled by the huge herds. As we slowly headed towards these herds, we noticed a tourist vehicle parked on the safari route. When we reached it, we saw this huge African Lion that was sleeping in the high grass less that 15 feet from the safari track.
We thanked our lucky stars and positioned ourselves to get some good pictures of the huge fellow in the evening light. However, after taking a few initial pictures of this sleeping African Lion, Emmanuel politely pointed out that we could be in for a long wait since Lions are known to sleep for close to twenty hours a day. Fortunately for us, after about fifteen minutes of waiting, the Lion woke up for a few seconds, gave us a stare, yawned once and went back to his sleep. We lapped up all the photo opportunities that he gave us!
We left this handsome African Lion to enjoy his siesta and proceeded on our safari knowing very well that we will need to come back on this same route to go towards Mara Serena. After checking on the milestone that marks the Kenya-Tanzania border within the park and driving through a herd of Wildebeest, we backtracked our route to check on the Lion. Unfortunately for us he was still sleeping. After waiting for a few minutes we continued on our safari, happy and thankful for the opportunity to see and photograph the massive Lion. Just round the corner we saw a herd of Cape Buffaloes (check the last image) that were grazing and at the same time slowly but steadily moving in the direction of the sleeping Lion. Emmanuel pointed out that the Lion would catch their scent and soon move away from their path. Little did we know that we had a pleasant surprise waiting for us further ahead on this safari route.