Monday, February 20, 2012
Gretchen’s Kenya Trip Report: Part 8

We rested well after the excitement of the previous evening’s kill.  In the morning one of our guides (Ben) lead us on a walk with several of the Masai from the camp.  We came across a tremendous amount of lion spoor as we walked.  We learned about trees, herbs, insects (what do you know about cocktail ants?), spoor and enjoyed vistas of the surrounding area.  I don’t know how long I could stay alive on wild carrots in the bush, but at least I know I could find one now!  The walk was appropriate for all fitness levels and we spent a bit over an hour in total walking through the bush.

We headed back to the camp for breakfast then headed out to drive into the Masai Mara National Park to do site inspections and to see whatever animals we might.  We came across jackal, topi, eland, impala and giraffe on our way to our first site inspection at Mara Explorer Camp.

The camp has just 10 luxury tents and is set at the confluence of the Masai Mara’s four main game-viewing areas.  The migration can usually be seen from camp between July – September.  All tents face the Talek river and is fitted with either a king size bed or 2 twin beds. They are furnished in a classic style of the grand African safaris, with fine hand-carved mahogany furniture, antique chests and historic prints.  Tents are equipped with a luxurious en-suite bathroom with twin basins and has a Victorian claw-foot bathtub offering secluded open-air bathing.

It’s sister camp Mara Intrepids is nearby.  It is larger, with 30 tents – though they still have a luxurious feel.  They are furnished with either a queen or two twin beds, and each bathroom has hot and cold running water with a flush toilet and shower.  Mara Intrepids also offers family tents.  The two bed-roomed family tents include a comfortable lounge and an outside deck looking out at the river and the plains beyond. One of the rooms is fitted with a queen size bed and the other 2 twin beds.  The camp offers a play and education center for children, a swimming pool and boasts a large organic garden.

Both camps offer game drives three times daily, as well as other excursions such as bush dinners and balloon safaris at an additional cost.

From Intrepids, we made our way to Rekero Camp.  It was an uneventful drive except for the river crossing where we encountered a few hippos.  Fortunately, we didn’t get in their way!

Rekero was ‘home’ for the filmmakers of Disney’s African Cats during much of the filming and I can see why.  The camp is situated along a stunning stretch of river and the main mess faces an area where crossings are frequently witnessed.  The camp is seasonal (June – March) and caters for up to twenty guests in nine tents of which two are suited for families.  Tents are comfortable with stylish touches, but also basic.  There are flush toilets, but no running water and showers are ‘safari’ style.  The camp itself is quite eco-friendly because it is seasonal and basic.

Our final stop of the day was Naibor Camp.  We’ll leave that for a bit later, as I had the opportunity to stay there the following evening.

On the way to our camp for the evening (Porini Lion Camp in the Olare Orok Conservancy), we saw topi (with lots of babies!), impala, kingfishers, hippos, warthogs, giraffes, eland and dung beetles.  We were tired from the long day, but after getting settled in camp we did manage to muster enough energy to head out to the nearest hill for a sundowner cocktail.  We enjoyed great sundowner stories and a stunning sunset over the Mara.  A lovely dinner with other camp guests was followed by a restful and quiet night’s rest.

Next:  More lions!

All photos © Gretchen Healey, except Mara Intrepids tent – courtesy Heritage Hotels LTD.

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