Safari at Maasai Mara
|Seeing lions this close was AMAZING!!|
We were able to stay at a luxury tent camp, Governors Camp, which is one of the few in the Mara triangle. They have several lodging options, and since they have their own fleet of aircraft, you get to fly right to the airstrip in the Mara from Nairobi. The price for three of us was less than $1500 and included round trip flight from Nairobi, lodging, and all meals. There was also a park fee of $80 for adults and $45 per child per day. The pass is good for 24 hours. We had several game drives every day for no additional cost.
During our stay in Kenya we had visited Nairobi National Park and Nakuru National Park. Both charge an entry fee and we barely saw anything other than a few animals in very dusty conditions. The roads were bumpy making the ride torture for hours. If you have the option, I'd say save your money and just go to Maasai Mara. You will see so much more.
|The migration we saw from the airplane window. Those are zebra down there and there were MILES of them.|
|The Governors Camp has aircraft with 12 passenger seats|
|Inside our tent that had electricity, hot showers, and real beds.|
My husband had never been camping...and I don't think you can base a camping experience on this one. It was total luxury! The beds were very comfortable. You could open the tent flaps to allow a nice breeze to get in. At night before you got into bed, they'd put a hot water bottle under your blankets to warm the bed. Pure bliss! Most people believe Africa is very hot, but during the African winter months, it can be quite cool at night. It was generally 50F at night and in the 70s during the day. As you slept, you heard hippos outside the tent, but armed rangers keep them away from doing any damage. If you want to leave the tent, you use a flashlight to flag down a ranger who escorts you. In the morning, they wake you up by delivering hot drinks and lemon cookies to your tent before the first game drive of the day.
The game drives are the highlight of the trip. We shared a vehicle with another family of 3. They are really good at finding a match. Several serious photographers shared a vehicle. We also saw young couples together. I wasn't so nervous about our Omar making too much noise because the other child was there doing the same. The drives are as long as three hours, so it can be a long time to sit, and they offer three per day. Sometimes the kids napped. Omar got out his iPad with headphones for most of them. You spend a lot of time looking for wildlife and the drivers talk to each other by radio, often all coming to the same spot if there is something spectacular going down, like the lions eating a zebra I've shown below. I was worried about leaning out to take photos, but the guides said as long as you don't leave the vehicle you are fine. There were open windows and an open roof as well. We wore jackets and the vehicle had additional blankets for the early morning drive.
We always saw something worthy of about 100 photos! If you're a photographer, I'd just mention that you can recharge a battery at this camp, and you should bring double the memory cards you think you will need. The guides will stop and shut off the vehicle so you can get really good photos. Our guide, Moses, had taken professional photographers out often enough that he even gave me photography tips and would move to the best vantage point if possible. I'll just close with some of the beautiful animals we saw. Enjoy!