Last Monday we took a little break from our mission to act as tourists and visit Kenya’s most popular location – the Maasai Mara. Needless to say, we were very excited and the prospect of having to wake up at 5:00am didn’t bother us one bit.
There are several entry points into the Mara so we chose the one closest to Lolgorien and arrived there at about 6:15am. Why so early? Certain animals, like the elusive Black Rhino, only emerge from the bush early on, so it had to be like that.
It is an absolute sight to behold, arriving there with the sun still on the horizon glistening an amazing orange/yellow(-ish) hue on everything in sight. There are no gates or barriers restricting the animals from roaming about – they just don’t. The Mara is home to a huge number of wild beasts and no barrier is needed for them to stay there; it’s their home, simple as that.
A local ranger, armed with an assault rifle, accompanied us both for safety reasons and as a guide (we would have been hopelessly lost otherwise).
As Westerners, we are constantly influenced by what the media tells us and, growing up watching my childhood-favourite Disney movie The Lion King, I was always under the impression that the lion was, in fact, the king of the jungle. This couldn’t be further from the truth! The lion is a lazy, oversized cat would couldn’t be remotely bothered by our presence because all it wanted to do was sleep.
For the Africans, the buffalo is the King, and rightfully so! There was not one animal that made me feel more uneasy and threatened than the buffalo. It is a massive animal, for starters, and its horns and skull look stronger than a brick wall. Moreover, they (the herd) don’t like visitors and were constantly on the lookout, ready to ram into our truck had we stalled any longer next to them.
Other herbivores, like the zebras, giraffes and elephants couldn’t give a damn about our presence, continuing with their normal routine as if there weren’t these humans, packed in the noisy metal contraption on wheels, ogling them.
Except for this elephant calf, who was very shy and was constantly trying to keep up with its mum and their herd. Too cute.
We saw barely a fraction of what the Mara has to offer – that would have taken days – but we went back home that evening fully satisfied. This was no zoo experience. We where the ones in a metal cage, not the animals, and it was another kind of beauty altogether, as it should be.
Androo & Alan
PLEASE NOTE: The Maasai Mara is half the actual reserve – the Kenyan half. The other part, called the Serengeti, is Tanzanian land. Lately, the Tanzanian government is proposing to kick 40,000 indigenous Maasais off their land in the Serengeti so that rich bastards can go there to hunt big cats. You see, the animals in the Mara and the Serengeti are one and the same. They spend some time in one place and they migrate to the other during dry seasons. Letting these egotistical and narcissistically minded people hunt these ever-decreasing species would be a crime against life, just because they can flex their financial muscle.