Friday, October 9, 2009

The Masai Mara: Where the Wild Things Are

Our safari adventure concluded with a grand finale - the Masai Mara. The Mara is the portion of the Serengeti which extends over the border of Tanzania into Kenya. The scenery is just unbelievable, it's like stepping out of 'real life' and into a Discovery Channel dream world for 5 days. It's just like you imagine, all the things that you see on tv: millions of wildebeest on the plain, crocs taking down zebras, lions napping under trees, cheetahs hunting gazelle.

For those of you who are a fan of "Big Cat Diary" this is where it is filmed, and on most days we saw a number of the 'main characters' stalking in the tall grass. In fact, little did we know the co-owner of Rekero camp where we stayed is the local guide featured in the show - Jackson Looseyia.

I thought that we were totally prepared for safari, but the one thing that we learned quickly that we weren't warned about was how LOUD it is at night when you are in a tent. Nature doesn't sleep just because you do, and the animals come into camp at night when the lights go off and then no longer sense people. We got used to it eventually, but our first night went like this:

Once the sun goes down you are walked to your tent by a Masai warrior wielding a machete and a spear. The first time I saw it I laughed, "what is that for?" I asked, he said simply "lions" and I said "no, really, I mean you aren't going to kill a lion with a spear" and he replied "watch me". One hour later after we were safely in the tent when the immense roaring started about 50 feet away - it's bone chilling.

Two hours later, I woke up to the sound of loud croaking and when I turned on the flashlight to investigate I found a large toad sitting inside our tent next to the wash basin. Matt was able to coax his out by using our shampoo bottle as a goad.

The rest of the noise come primarily from the grazing animals - namely the water buffalo - it just eats all night the tall grass against your tent. Munch, munch, munch - it's all you hear for hours and its about 3 feet from your head board. I was able to get used to this but when I finally drifted off to sleep I was awakened by the incredibly loud sound of clanging metal and our entire tent reverberating. One of the buffalo had run head long into our tent pole and nearly took the thing down. It scared itself so bad that it then proceeded to run in circles around our tent until it was no longer disoriented.

The moral of the story is, on safari, become nocturnal. Sleep during the hot day and read your Kindle at night, it's the only way I survived the nights!

As for the pictures, I couldn't begin to decide on what to share from the Mara. So I put together of all the best pictures Matt took during the trip. I added our favorite song in Swahili "Baba Yetu" which is just the traditional "Our Father" prayer sang in the language. For the nerds out there - yes, it is the theme song for 'Civilization'...I hope you enjoy!

Watch us full screen on YouTube:


jimdad said...

'Can't tell you how much I enjoyed the photos and commentary (and the great choice of music) - sort of puts an entirely new meaning to what we call "civilization".

Unknown said...

WOW! What an amazing experience! What a wonderful honeymoon! Loved watching it! Love, Mom