Shortly after arriving in Nairobi, I remember telling a friend that I was all “safaried-out” with about the same amount of arrogance a Parisian would talk about the Eiffel Tower or a New Yorker would the Empire State building. Having grown up in Uganda, whenever someone talked about going to visit a national park I had to fight to urge to yawn. I thought that after seeing Queen Elizabeth in Uganda and Kruger in South Africa, I had seen enough. But when I came across a ridiculously cheap package deal to visit the Maasai Mara, I ate humble pie and asked said friend to join me. I went with my sister and the funniest group of people I’ve ever met. I’ll never forget that trip.
This is not safari-lite. Don’t go the park expecting to find animals with manicured nails fed on half-cooked meat. I could smell this glorious lioness from yards away. And yes, those are flies on her lower back. We happened to go during the wildebeest migration so when I say these beasts were everywhere, I mean exactly that. They’re not the most beautiful creatures I’ve seen but they are quite organised and often move in a straight line.
I have to say that after looking at videos and photos of Masaai men jumping higher than the average person’s height, I was slightly disappointed with these men’s dancing. Even though the media might be selling dreams, it would’ve been nice to leave the place in owe at how high they can jump and how low they bend to get into their tiny houses.
I’ll close this post with one reason why you should visit the Mara. It’s size! It’s big enough to have almost every animal you’ve ever dreamed of but not too large for you to actually see any of them. I remember nearly driving to Mozambique before seeing anything at Kruger National Park. It was well worth it, but my experience in the Mara far exceeded it. I also love how ‘well-mannered’ the animals are! Notice how they all stopped and posed for my camera?
Never say never. I’d probably do it again.