Maasai Mara, My First African Wild Life Experience
Knowing that I had lived in Africa for a while, not once friends and relatives asked me the same questions.
“So, you’re living in Africa, huh? Do you live in the jungle?”
“Yes. I am living in the jungle”. In fact, I am living in concrete jungle, in an apartment building on 22nd floor”
“Is there wild animals in your area?”
“Of course”. Apparently the only animals I met in my first months were mice and cockroaches.
“Where did you see them?”
“In my neighborhood. I go to the office by ridding elephants, swim with hippos, and play with the lions on the weekend”. The reality, these animals could not run freely in the city without possibility to be caught by the police. The only chance to see them lively is to do safari, seeing them in their habitat.
Therefore, I booked a return ticket to Kenya to see the wildlife in Maasai Mara National Park.
“You can’t do safari on your own if you don’t want to be on breakfast menu for the lions” Nithin, my Indian colleague told me when I declared my idea to have safari in Kenya. Since he just came back from his remarkable safari experience, Nithin gave me a contact number of Safari travel agent that brought him safari to Maasai Mara. I found that the travel company gave a reasonable price for three days safari in Maasai Mara which just coasted 300 USD per person, including accommodation and foods during safari.
On Tuesday morning, Tom, our safari guide picked me at my friend’s house, a place where I stayed during my visit in Nairobi, and brought me to have one of most incredible experiences in life.
I was not alone. There were another 7 passengers on board. We came from different kind of nationalities, such as Indonesia (it was me), India, Denmark, Kenya and Germany. Most of them were couples and siblings. I and Lu (another passenger from Denmark, but originally from China, living in UK. Yeah, he’s so international) were the only single travelers in the group. After getting the last passenger from the airport, we’re leaving Nairobi to Maasai Mara.
It took 6 hours journey to bring us to Maasai Mara. The road was good (African standard) for the first three hours, until we reached Narok city, the last city before entering the nomad life in Maasai. In this city, Maasai tribes do selling and buying activities. We spent an hour in Narok to have our lunch before continuing our journey to Maasai. Tom didn’t like to spend times too long since the next road would be really bad and bumpy everywhere. Moreover, the sky was getting dark and rain could come anytime.
We arrived in Maasai at 4 pm and still had some times before sunset. After putting our belongings in the camps where we would stay for the next two days, Tom took us immediately to see Maasai Mara National Park to see how the wild life was. The park, it was amazing. It was like watching National Geographic program lively. For two hours, Tom brought us to see gazelle, topi, deer, antelope and lion.
Our accommodations consist of some tents. Every tent was equipped by simple bathroom. Each tent has two beds inside. There are some tents at other part of compound that has only one bed purposed for solo traveler like me. Generator was available up to 10 pm. Afterwards, we must satisfy with the moonlight as our natural lighting. I could hear the sound of animal from far away places. That night, I couldn’t sleep well.
The next morning, we started our morning safari, where we could see sun rose up, brightened up the wide savanna with its golden color. Lu was so happy to see those golden savannas. Yesterday, he kept asking why all those savannas look green instead of yellow as he saw from the movie. We also met some Masasai’s warriors on their way to hunt some animals. Maasai Mara also has small airport if you’re not willing to take a long journey by car from Nairobi.
That day, we found more kinds of animals. The other gazelles that have some variety such as Thomson Gazelle, etc (Tom explained all kinds of these animals. But I couldn’t remember all), variety of birds, zebras, cheetahs, giraffes, hippos, crocodiles, monkeys (I was not fan of them), elephants, buffalo, toppi, another male lion (He was lazy all the time), baboons and many more.
Tom also took us to the border of Tanzania and Kenya. When we saw hippos, two rangers accompanied us to prevent unexpected animals came suddenly. Imagining that Lions could come anytime and we could be their brunch menu, I was happy to have these rangers around. We ended the morning safari by having lunch together next to Masai River while mesmerizing some monkeys playing around the trees. I was not happy with these monkeys after one of them took my lunch box and I must spend the whole day just by eating two bananas from Lu that was really kind to share his food with me.