Golden grasslands stretching in front of us as far as you can see till the horizon. The roof of clear blue sky speckled with white clouds. A lone tree marks some sign of life and creates a picturesque scene. Suddenly from the corner of our eyes we notice a giant Masai Giraffe entering the frame. As the Giraffe casually and leisurely walks across grasslands, the view seems perfectly complete. We try to furiously capture the moment in our cameras but nothing could capture this amazing feeling.
That is just a lone example from a vivid bouquet of experiences we had on our safari trip to Masai Maara National reserve in Kenya. We always hear that safari in Africa is one of a kind. And after our trip we certainly agree that nothing could beat the wildlife experience of the African safari.
We choose Kenya for our African safari adventure as it fit our budget and the time of year (September first week). Abundance and variety of wildlife is obvious. In addition, the open terrain and relatively lesser vehicles during this time of year could make for better sightings.
And the rest is just luck.
We were lucky enough to see some great wildlife activities and sighted most animals including 4 of the Big-5.
We timed our trip such that we could catch the Wildebeest migration. And we saw them in hundreds or thousands as far as we could see. Though the major crossings seemed to over (as informed by our guide) we were hopeful. After waiting for a long time our patience paid off and we caught the river crossing live (though it was cut short but a stupid van on the other side which crossed the paths with the animals stopping them on their tracks).
The big cats are always intriguing. African Lion being the king and all is the highlight of any safari. On our safari we saw a whole bunch of them, male and female alike. Yes, they were as majestic as we imagined. But being cats after all they seemed to be resting all the time. We saw them lazing in the sun even on the tracks made for the vehicles. Completely nonchalant. Actually acting like they own the place.
We did see a lioness stalking her prey. We waited as the lioness crept closer. The tensions rose. But, a sudden change of wind and the prey sprinted away almost as if they got a smell of the predator.
The African Elephants turned out to be more elusive than we thought. They were either too far in the restricted area or always hidden behind the shrubs and snacking on the tree leaves. Finally we caught them in action at a small waterhole. A female was drinking calmly with the complete family in the tow. We love it when she sprayed herself trying to cool off her massive frame.
The Cape buffalo though bigger and with huge horns, seems like the water buffalo back home. Then we realized there is a reason they are part of the Big-5. In addition to being strong and travelling in packs, they are very aggressive in nature. The Cape buffalo is probably more dangerous than the others as they could attack without provocation.
We found the Giraffes to be the most amazing animals we saw (among the herbivores at least if not all). They were instantly our favorites. Irrespective of the number of times we sighted them, they looked so cool.
Among other animals apart from scores of antelopes, we saw the cheetah, zebra and the ostrich.
We did catch the African rhino but at Lake Nakuru. The lone qualm we had was missing out on sighting the reclusive leopard. But as they say somethings should be left for the next time.
Do you have a story to tell about your Safari experience? Drop in a comment or send us a mail. We will definitely reply. All the interesting tales will be published in a special feature.