Maasai Mara: Day 1 of Safari

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Maasai Mara Day 1 is part of the South America & Africa Points Heist Trip Report.


Safaris are expensive. Beyond the cost of the hotel and the cost of the driver, there is a cost to enter the parks. Mara is $70 a day per person. That’s quite a bit to spend with no guarantees of seeing any animals. Fortunately, our lodge, Keekorok, was located within the park so we were able to see some animals on the way in.

The same day we arrived, we went on an evening game drive. Night drives are not allowed in Mara, and everyone must be out of the park or back at their hotels before 6:30PM or face a fine.

At 4PM, in a light rain, we headed out in search of the Big 5 which is the lion, buffalo, leopard, elephant, and rhinoceros. So long as I saw a lion, I would be happy. The problem with our first drive is that our van did not have the capabilities of maneuvering through muddy trails like a proper SUV. As such, we were restricted to the main roads and could not see too many animals apart from the zebras, wildebeest, and hyenas. These animals are not in short supply in Mara.

The roof pops up for the full safari experience

I enjoyed photographing the trees the most.

Randomly, we spotted a van off the path not moving. We made our approach and found three lions taking a serene nap. The male lion briefly lifted his head to see what was going on and, not interested, he went right back to sleep. 

Satisfied with day one, we headed back to the lodge.

3 COMMENTS

  1. The lions were not the difficult part of my safari — although I did spot a lion with one eye:

    http://thegate.boardingarea.com/the-lion-with-one-eye-and-his-pride-and-joy-a-photographic-chronology/

    The only one of the Big 5 which I did not see was a leopard. I almost had the opportunity; but some idiot took his guests off-road to see it — which is forbidden in Maasai Mara — and fortunately, the police were there to discipline the driver. I understand that driver and his vehicle were ordered to immediately leave the park…

    …but not before the leopard was scared off prior to our arrival, unfortunately…

  2. Vehicles go off road in the Mara. We did several times drive miles off road – once to watch the 5 musketeers devour a wildebeest and another to watch a cheetah sun himself on a termite mound (helps if your guide is the one who trained the majority of the park rangers).

    Unfortunately, the Mara is open to anyone with a few bucks for entrance fees and the sitings can get ridiculously crowded. If you can afford it, stay outside the park in one of the adjacent private Conservancies where you see more game and far fewer people (as in drive for hours and only see a few other vehicles). Our favorite lodge is Virgin’s Mahali Mzuri – superb.

    Tip – do not waste your money on a balloon ride – a waste of time and money – you’re crammed in like rats and there’s not much to see.

    Sure sounded like food poisoning symptoms to me.

    • Lol it’s like when I did hot air balloon in Luxor. Why am I flying over the valley of the Kings when it’s underground.

      Keekorok was inside and was awesome.

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