Image Credit: Unsplash | Rohan Reddy
Living in Africa is joy, but it’s incomplete until you meet the most treasured wild beauties of the continent. The more time I stay in Kenya, the more I am in love with the land and the picturesque beauty, I must say. I had planned almost a couple of times to this land of wild beauties, especially when some guest called me from India and we had a great time.
Masai Mara is one of the largest conservative areas established in 1961, covering almost 1510 square kilometers including the Mara triangle. Life hovers around the Mara River which shelters several animals both inland and aquatic. The Masai tribe who are pastoralists earns their living from grazing cows and also a few dollars from the kind-hearted tourists. Masai Mara calls people from around the world who love to watch the wildlife, and fond of photography. Sheltering more than 470 species of animals and birds, Masai Mara boasts to be one of the most visited lands for global tourists. The best time to visit Masai Mara is July to September when the great phenomenon of migration occurs, as animals move in search of fresh, sweet grass. If you are lucky enough you can see a lioness hunt a wild beast or zebra for a meal. Yes, the magnificent sunset and sunrise will mesmerize you along with a balloon ride from a height.
Travelling and boarding
A trip to Masai Mara is the most happening thing in Kenya and almost every visitor plan a trip even if he’s making a seven-day tour in a jiffy. Tour operators are conducting these trips; look for them from Nairobi, Nakuru, Naivasha, Mombasa, Eldoret, or anywhere. Depending on your budget you can book a 5 stars, 4 stars, or 3 stars hotel, or even a luxury tent. Generally a 3 day, 2-night trip is enough to explore this land. You can book Matatus (12 seaters), or maybe jungle jeeps (having an open roof) for traveling to Masai Mara. Just after you enter the conservation area after Narok, you will see Masai village and its minimalist facilities including schools. I was simply amazed to realize that life could be such simple as to just earn the daily meals.
The hotels inside the conservation area furnished with all facilities including specious rooms, 24hour running hot water, Wi-Fi, swimming pool, play area, and dining area. Hotels arrange their entertainment by hiring Masai dancers. The food served is generally continental but has a plentiful choice in Chinese and Indian too. It’s a luxurious treat inside a wild area. After 10 o’clock if you are awake, you will love the wilderness, the hyena calls, and sometimes the roar of King Lion. In a nutshell, it’s truly thrilling.
The Game Drive
If you reach the conservation area on a Friday evening, you will have enough time to explore the area and click pictures of animals. Spend 3 days and 2 nights here and you will bring home various worthwhile memories. Don’t miss the thrilling view of the baobab tree against the backdrop of the setting sun. The various animals you can find here are lions, cheetahs, elephants, zebras, hippos, wildebeest, Thompson’s gazelle, crocodile, baboon, black rhino, and giraffe among the big sized ones. The other animals that you can find here are are-silver black jackal, hyena, warthogs, vultures, leopard, secretary birds, hornbills, crowned cranes, and ostriches. If you have seen the Big Five of Masai Mara, you are considered lucky and have accomplished the tour. The Big five are- lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, and rhino. Your guide will take you amongst a pack of lions tearing their prey, or maybe a balloon ride where you can see Simba along with his family bid you good morning.
Don’t miss the herd of elephants or the strong giraffes grazing over Acacia trees. Beware of a group of buffaloes, as they are considered the most ferocious species of the jungle, and can even topple a jeep filled with tourists. Stay aware and abide by all rules of the jungle, else you might land up paying a hefty amount to the rangers. Your safety is always monitored by the rangers who keep a keen eye to protect the animals from the hand of poachers.
Meeting the Masai tribe
You will be lucky to meet one of the oldest tribes of Africa as well as the world, the Masai tribe. They are pastoralists and lion hunters. They live in groups and have huge families coming from multiple wives. They live inside thatched huts or bomas and live a simple life. Looks like, they have no clues of the civilized world and leading the same traditional life for generations. You can pay them as low as ten dollars as they would take you around their village. They are experts in jewelry making and can sell them for a living. They would lovingly invite you for a meal, nothing but roasted meat and tea. The women would entertain you with a group dance and chant some recitation. The Masai men can jump high in the sky, almost appear like rubber dolls. If you are an expert in athletics, pick a challenge and jump high. They would exhibit the oldest way of lighting a fire from rubbing stones, an interesting story. Their forefathers used to hunt lions, but today it’s against the standard of wildlife in Kenya.
There’s a lot to learn, see and explore in one of the most adventurous places of East Africa where the courageous men once came to face the carnivores, rather than kill them for a trophy hunt. Sounds weird and cowardly, right? Yes, if you love wild animals and want to preserve them for a lifetime then protect their rights by donating directly to the conservation funds and say ‘no’ to poachers.