Immediately we entered the Maasai Mara National Reserve, which is about 10 minutes from the hotel, the wild life extravaganza begun. We were welcomed by a tower of giraffes and a dazzle of zebras. They playfully walked near our vehicle and would periodically stop, as if to allow us to take great pictures of them.
Soon after, it seemed like word had gone round to the animals that we were visiting, and they all decided to show off. I felt like we had attended a “wildlife fashion runway” as we saw several lions, buffalos, wildebeest, gazelle, topi, elephants, cheetah among others. They were all gracious enough to allow us to take as many pictures as we wanted.
We thereafter headed to the Mara Conservancy where we got to see the majestic Mara river crocodiles. The area is littered with basks of crocodiles, all which seemed to be having an afternoon siesta. Beside them were a herd of really huge hippopotamus who showcased their large, sharp looking teeth and wide mouths. It was however cute and a great contrast to the “scary image” we had witnessed, as we saw a cow, motherly guiding her two calves along the river. I couldn’t believe that these small, tiny and actually cute calves, though on a vegetarian diet, would eventually grow to be as huge as their elders and equally as scary.
We thereafter drove to what seemed like a look out point along the Mara River. Below, I could see a zeal of zebras and a herd of wildebeest, all standing on the banks of the river. The dare devil ones would take two steps in the river and retreat, as all the other animals watched them from a distance. We could feel the tension in the air and the fear in their eyes was almost tangible. Finally, a brave wildebeest decided to make a break and ran across the river non-stop, running for its life. This was all the encouragement the others needed and soon, in large numbers, the animals all jumped into the water and all ran across the river. They seemed to form a line of sorts, all following where the “leader” had passed through. Even those that were a slight distance away, seemed to walk back towards the same path it had passed, perhaps all believing, if he had made it, they would to.
This was shortlived however, as soon, we saw a few Mara river crocodiles slowly snaking their way towards the animals crossing. I could hardly breathe, let alone blink as I didn’t want to miss even a mili second of what was before my eyes. We were watching the famous Wildebeest Migration, and now it seemed like we would see an actual hunt, right before our eyes. Words can’t explain the emotions I went through as I silently cheered them on, hoping that they would all get across successfully, yet knowing in the wild, some have to die, for others to live. As the crocodiles got closer, they submerged below the surface for a few seconds and then Bam!, we saw the mouth of a crocodile appear from beneath the water, landing smack on the neck of an unlucky wildebeeste. It tried to fight off the crocodile, it tried to continue running and it grunted loudly as if asking for help from its peers. This only made the others jump higher, run faster and the crocodile drag it slowly towards the deep waters as we watched solemnly.
Soon, the river went silent apart from the splashing of the waters caused by the others crossing, confirming that indeed it had been drowned. Breath Wangechi breathe! This is the 7th Wonder of the World and I have officially become one of the few humans to actually watch it Live..Scream!
Maasai Village Visit:
We thereafter visited a Maasai community that lives on the outskirts of the Reserve. The Maasai are a pastoralist community that have managed to maintain its culture even as modernity creeps in. They stay in communities referred to as “bomas” and their semi-permanent homes are known as manyattas. A boma is made up of several homes in one compound, with all the members being related to each other by blood or marriage. Their culture was evident from their homes, dressing, lighting fire as well as music and dance
I am still over the moon, elated, excited and still in shock, that I now fall into the minority of humans who have actually had a firsthand experience of seeing the 7th Wonder of the World, The Wildebeest Migration. I also got to see a wide array of animals that ranged from some of the big five like the lions, elephants, buffalos, to crocodiles, hippos, wildebeests, zebras, cheetahs among others while at it. Thank You Maasai Mara National Reserve for being an amazing host and giving me the once in a life time experience. A big thank you to Magical Kenya for the invitation to be a Brand Ambassador via being a part of this experience, the Tembea Mara crew for being a great team, Muraguri and Jamila for allowing me to use some of their pictures and Angama Mara, for the safari and being my host. . For my experience there, check out http://wangechigitahi.co.ke/angama-mara-floating-in-luxury/.Everyone should plan to visit the Mara at least once in their lifetime, the animals will definitely put a show for you.