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Kenya trip report - 4th segment, first 3 days of Masai Mara

Kenya trip report - 4th segment, first 3 days of Masai Mara

Aug 14th, 2007, 07:24 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 267
Kenya trip report - 4th segment, first 3 days of Masai Mara

Day 7 – Masai Mara – Mara Serena
Left Lake Nakuru at 7am toward Nairobi, turned South about 50km outside of Nairobi at 9:30am. With a couple of toilet stops arrived at Mara Sarova at 2pm in time for lunch. Left Sarova at 3pm to go to Mara Serena, did a game drive on the way. This was a killer drive in terms of length and bumpiness. Not for the faint of kidney. We saw thousands of Wildebeests, quite of few giraffes, zebras. Saw a hippo grazing on the river bank, and saw another coming down the bank into the river just around the corner. Saw a couple of trucks in the middle of the field, the ranger waved us in, and there in the middle of the grass were seven cheetahs, they were napping, but sometimes they raised their heads to look at us. Saw hyena and jackals too. All along the way there were thousands of wildebeests, what a sight. Finally arrived in Mara Serena at 6:30pm.

Mara Serena is beautiful, sad that our reservations got screwed up and we only had one night instead of the original three nights there.

We are leaving for Little Governors tomorrow, and George will be leaving us after dropping us off after breakfast.

Day 8 – Masai Mara – Little Governors
Rick and I went on the morning game drive at 6:30, Nikki stay in to sleep. We went to the crossing sight and checked it out. There were thousands of wildebeests by the river, it was a sight. To watch for the crossing is really a waiting game. A couple of times it looked like the wildebeests were ready to plunge in, but changed their minds. We stayed for an hour and half but didn’t see the crossing. We are going to have an early breakfast tomorrow, ask the lodge to pack picnic lunches, leave the lodge around 8am, go to the crossing spot and wait it out. If we don’t see it tomorrow, we will do it again the next day.

George dropped us off at the Little Governors, it was very sad to see him leave, he took such good care of us the last six days, felt sort of lost.

The grounds of LG is beautiful, we saw elephants right next to the camp, warthogs and baboons in the camp. The tent was roomy and adequate but we missed Mara Serena.

We had lunch, settled in, and went on the 4pm game drive. Our guide there was Joash, and we have two other campers on the drive with us. Joseph, the father from England (Originally from California) and his 7-year old son Nathaniel. They will be with us for two days, then they are flying back to Nairobi then to London. Joseph and Nathaniel are very nice, we had a very good time. We saw leopards, the leopards in Mara are prettier (darker and richer color fur and larger in size than in Samburu), must be the weather and the abundant of food in Mara. Of all the animals we saw, I think the leopards are the prettiest. Saw many mongooses, some standing up on watch and some mating. Nathaniel kept asking whether they are mating, quite funny really.

Day 9 – Masai Mara – Little Governors
After breakfast we left for our game drive at 8:20am with the sole purpose of seeing the crossing, Everyone was committed to staying however long it took to see it. The lodge packed picnic lunches for us, and we are all set for the waiting game.

At the 1st potential crossing site (Main Crossing) we saw a few hundred wildebeests - not nearly the quantity that we saw the day before. We described the site we were at yesterday and asked Joash to go there. We were told that it is not possible to get to the same position as we were on the side of Mara Serena and there is no way to cross the river from where we were without driving for hours. We then proceed to the 2nd potential crossing site, but there were nothing there. Around 11am we struck gold with the 3rd site (Lookout Crossing), which as the exact place where we were yesterday except we were across the river on the side of the wildebeests, there were literally thousands of them, I think even more than yesterday.

It was quiet for around 10 minutes, then three zebra jumped into the river to swim across. A crocodile tried to attack one, but the zebra got away, all three got to the other side safely. Then a mother wildebeest and the baby jumped in. The croc got the mother, the baby arrived the other side successfully. Is it a sacrifice act?

Many small crossings from either directions, the crocs got 4 wildebeest in the span of 15 minutes.

At around 11:20am hundreds of wildebeests crossed over, it was a sight! We had photos for their landing but not so much of diving in as we were on the wildebeest side of the river. Still, it is a well worthwhile experience.

We had our picnic lunch in the car, not much going on after the mass crossing except one lone crosser was gotten by the croc. It started drizzling around 1:30pm, the wildebeests started to move backwards away from the river, so we left.

On the way back to camp we saw another leopard, this one was hiding in the bush feasting on a recent kill, many Marabou storks stood near by for the leftovers.

Saw three herds/piles of hippos on the river bank sun bathing and napping. The largest pile had about 40 hippos.

A very successful day.

Robert, a fellow traveler from the camp arrived at the crossing site too late and missed the crossing. It was really too bad, it is his 40th birthday today.

We arranged with the camp to celebrate Robert’s birthday at dinner. After the main course, a dozen Masai tribal members in full costume came into the dinner room, singing and dancing, the first one carried a cake. They dance around all the tables and finally gathering around Robert and placed the cake in front of him. Robert was totally surprised, turned beet red, we are very pleased of the presentation.

Pat_Rick is offline  
Aug 15th, 2007, 05:49 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
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I'm just curious. How did your daughter enjoy the trip? I noticed you mentioned you had been to Thailand before. Was that with her as well? Is she well travelled?

julimbo is offline  
Aug 15th, 2007, 06:23 AM
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Nikki is our granddaughter, she has been traveling with us since she was 3. She is very well traveled, we take her with us on vacation at least once a year. She has been in all the islands in Hawaii, China, Thailand, Italy, Holland, France, Belgium, England, Canada, Mexico, and now Kenya.

The best thing we did for her on this trip was that we purchased a 160GB Archos 504 with two extra battery packs and loaded up with about 100 movies/TV shows/music videos on it. It kept her busy when we were in the lodge/camp and game drives, not to mention the long flights.

Pat_Rick is offline  
Aug 15th, 2007, 07:45 PM
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Poor Mother Wildebeest, yes it looks like she made the ultimate sacrifice.
waynehazle is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 05:59 PM
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Without its mother, I wonder what the fate of the baby wildebeest will be.

You certainly had drama on the river.
atravelynn is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 07:38 PM
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We were at LG just over a year ago. Your report brings back wonderful memories.

Kevin from California
stakerk is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 08:56 PM
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I don't see a date for your days in camp. When exactly was it?
regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 12:36 AM
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atravelynn: Without its mother, I wonder what the fate of the baby wildebeest will be.

Actually, the youngster's future prospects are good. It is very common for children to be separated from their mothers during a crossing, due to the chaotic scenes and numbers of animals going from one side to the other. Members of wildebeest herds will 'adopt' youngsters whose mothers have been lost (either perished or separated).

Just one of many ways in which the wildebeest are amazing creatures.
DonTopaz is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 04:25 AM
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That's hopeful news for the wilde baby then.
atravelynn is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 08:05 PM
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We arrived in Nairobi on August 2, in Little Governors on August 9 and left LG on August 13.

The saddest episode for this whole trip was on the last day. We saw a baby wildebeest fall off the cliff at the crossing right in front of our broken truck. He must've broken his legs, and half of his face was submerge in the water. He fought hard, kicking and raising his head periodically, finally died after 20 to 30 minutes. I did not put that in the journal because Nikki was so upset, she kept asking Joash to do something, but what could he do? We couldn't even move away, that was really really sad.

Pat_Rick is offline  
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