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Trip Report Saw the Big 5 in one day in the Mara last week!

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I had been seeing posts about the migration being early in the Mara this year and on 6/20 decided to book a trip leaving 7/2 (I had to time it between doing payroll at work). I emailed a camp about rates and was quoted almost June rates and then decided to email Bill Given at The Wild Source to see if he could get me in a better camp for the same rate. He came up with a great plan of staying in a 3 bedroom house with your own vehicle and full staff etc. in the OOC. All game drives were in the Mara as they are not a member of the OOC. My two daughters were able to join me and we had the best time there.

The guides were fantastic, Fred and Mpatinga. We saw 5 different leopards, 5 different cheetahs and over 60 different lions. Fred would say - today we will go look for a *whatever* and we almost always found it. That's what happened on the Big 5 day. He said we would head over towards the Sand River on the Tanzania border to see if we could see a black rhino. And we did. We were stopping under a tree to have breakfast and Fred said - There's a rhino! We were amazed! We followed him for awhile to take some pictures and then just watched as he walked across the plains. He finally walked into an area that was real brushy and full of trees where he disappeared. We had already seen elephants and buffalo and lions and finished the day with a leopard. Fred and Mpatinga had not seen the Big 5 in one day in a long time so we were all very excited.

As for the migration being early, yes it was definitely going on. Wildebeest and zebras everywhere. We saw a couple of small crossings and Fred estimated 13,000 to 15,000 at one crossing. Epic!

We were the only people at many of the sightings. Two times with gorgeous leopards (during the day, not at night), the black rhino, cheetah chase/almost kill, an altercation with lions and an injured buffalo, 4 week old cubs of the Marsh Pride, lots of lions/groups of lions, and we went out of our way to flag down another vehicle to come watch a cheetah kill.

It was a spectacular trip. But I do think the flights are longer getting home than they are going over. The last flight was 3 hours and felt like 10. But we made it and it was totally worth it. And now, it's back to the real world. :)

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