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Alicia & Rich's Roads to Everywhere London to Australia on the route less traveled

Second Game Drive in the Masai Mara

KENYA | Saturday, 1 November 2008 | Views [628]

The lights come on and wake us up. It's 6am and generators have just been turned on again. Also the hot water is turned on, so we have quick showers and head off to breakfast.

It's cool this morning and I'm glad I have on my long sleeve tee shirt. Today is a full day game drive and we're joined by an Australian couple, making us a group of six. We leave the lodge at 7:30am and George, our driver/guide, says early starts are best for seeing the animals in action. It's also a great time to take pictures, before the bright sun white washes the scenes.

As we entered the Mara we come across a few giraffes, eating from the trees. We drive along and see elephants walking in a herd, wildebeest, zebras and gazelles playing and eating. Sometimes we have to drive for 20 min. before seeing another animal.

We come across a herd of black buffalo. There must be about 100 of them milling around. Each buffalo has at least one small bird standing on its head or back. George says these birds remove ticks and other bugs from the buffalo and usually each bird stays with its buffalo for life.

After driving for another 20 min. we see 3 vans huddled in front of a tree. As we drive over someone says there's a cheetah under the tree and we all strain to see it. Cheetahs are a very rare sight in the Mara. As we get upclose, cameras at the ready, we see that it's munching on a new kill. It is breakfast time. After taking hundreds of pictures, we move onto the Mara river.

George stops the van and this is the first time we're allowed to get out. We walk to the river to get a better view and we're hit with an overwhelming stench of rotting corpses. River kill. This river is part of the route of the annual wildebeest migration to the Serengeti in Tanzania. Twice a year thousands of animals migrate between the Mara and Serengti. Having just missed the migration, all that is left are the corpses of the fallen wildebeest, ones that have either been trampled or drowned during the crossing.

A security guard, with a machine gun, took us for a walk along the bank of the river, which wasn't very pleasant because of the aweful smell. And now that we're all disgusted from looking at dead animals, George says this is a good time to have our lunch. We eat our boxed lunches upwind from the river and watch as monkeys try to steal everyones food.

After lunch we come across another rare animal, a leopard. It's sitting high in a tree, almost hidden by branches and leaves. It's sleeping and its kill for the day is a few branches below it. George says the leopard went hunting this morning and will now sleep for the rest of the day and eat whenever it wants. 

We drive along and see more elephants, zebras, impalas and warthogs. We end our game drive around 5pm and head back to the lodge. Another fantastic day in the Mara! 

 

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