Flying into the Masai Mara I was amazed how green it is for late October. It’s supposed to be brown and barren, but some of the “short” rains came early. Even better, tens of thousands of wildebeest are still here, having delayed their southward trek to Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.
In addition to the wildebeest, the Masai Mara boasts the most animals of any park in Kenya, both in terms of variety and sheer numbers. It remains the must-see park in Kenya, despite some issues with overbuilding and land conservation.
This morning, for instance, we saw a lion pride, tens of thousands of wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, topi, elephant, bat eared fox, eland, hippos, huge crocodiles, and a mother cheetah and cub. We were hoping to witness a river crossing, but the herds did not cooperate as is often the case. There is plenty of evidence of past crossings though, in the form of carcasses and skeletons.
On this trip I stayed at Mara Plains Camp, just outside the main reserve on the Olare Orok Conservcancy. In short, this is Masai-owned land where they have agreed to leave it for the wildlife in return for concession fees from the three safari camps located here. The camps get a great area to conduct safaris and the communities get much needed funding, employment, and assistance with cattle feed during the lean months.
The rooms are very good – call it casual luxury. The food is delicious – just try the butternut soup recipe we’ll post in our next blog to see for yourself. The hosts are friendly and accomodating. And it’s within an hour’s drive of the Mara River to view river crossings if they are happening. All in all a good place.
Photos courtesy Kent Redding