Any safari is special, but this one was extraordinary. We’ve been to Africa ten times, and seen a lot, but our safari in Kenya’s Masai Mara was mind-blowing. I hope my pictures give an idea of how extraordinary our sightings were. Here are my general comments on the trip.
Our Trip Leader Felix: A very good guide, a genius with vehicle position, great company, and LUCKY. One afternoon in the Mara Triangle, he got the vibe that rhinos were about, recognized the voice of a man on the radio that he’d worked with, called him on his cell, and got the location. We arrived in time to have the best position as three black rhinos emerged from the thick bush and walked right in front of our vehicle.
And then there were times when we just saw someone driving like heck, and discreetly, but rapidly followed. Those occasions often involved a lot of vehicles, but Felix was fabulous at finding just the right position. One morning, we were “sharing” a leopard embedded in thick shrubs, but Felix managed to put us in a spot (first try) where we could see her through windows between the tree trunks; more to the point, he suggested we wait until 9:30 to see if she emerged and crossed the gully to where her kill was visible, hanging in a tree. At 9:29, she did, walked right in front of our vehicle, and posed for some of the best leopard shots we’ve ever taken. ‘Nuff said.
Sightings: WOW! What a lot of “firsts” and “bests” we racked up. Not just new animals and birds, but also new behaviors to observe, including a warthog eating meat (a first even for Felix) and a lion attacking a hippo.
Lions digging out a warthog from a burrow.
A family of cheetah hunting and catching a warthog.
Lions mating. Two warthogs drinking from the pool at our tented camp with us about four feet away. And more.
We had three river crossings, all in the same day. Two relatively small crossings by wildebeest, with no casualties, and one by Thomson’s gazelles, which showed nature at its most savage: three killed by crocs, and one by a hippo (another first for Felix).
Bottom line: probably our best safari ever.
– Photos and text by 6-time WT adventurer John Sommerer, Masai Mara Safari