The Maasai Mara at Times a Quiet Savannah

By: Magdalene Ngina

A lone giraffe towers beside the dirt road silhouetted against the dusk sky and Dickens the driver, moves the van as close as he can and comes to a halt. Soon, five other vans close in on the scene, we all gaze in silence awed by the site. Camera's Click softly.
In the distance, the rays of the sun are quickly fading as the night slowly covers the Maasai mara plains. As i take in the sight i can't help thinking how my first game drive in the Maasai Mara has lived up to most of what i imagined it would be like. It is about 6.30pm and the drive has taken us around a section of the park, criss-crossing it's well-worn paths in about three hours. We found the lone giraffe near the Sarova Mara Camp where we were staying for two-nights. With Dickens experience, William and my two guests have interrupted a cheetah and cubs late afternoon siesta.

After some skillful maneuvering, a large herd of buffalo grazing silently in the thickets was a welcome surprise. Back at the hotel, my guests look at a chart indicating the animals found at the park and they realize that they have already seen a large number of them on the first day. What a place we remarked.

The following morning's trip takes us to the Mara River. On the way we find an elephant herd on the move, we rush to get a closer look. The sight is unforgettable. No matter how many times i come across the same species of animals each is unique. A larger tusker turns to face the van- wondering at the interruption and for a moment we are all scared, and wonder what would happen if it charged, thankfully it rejoins the herd. The drive back to the river and back to hotel takes almost as long as it took to drive from Nairobi.
We come to the section of the border between the Mara and the Serengeti, were Justin a uniformed ranger with the Kenya Wildlife Services takes us along the bushy riverbeds. Hippopotamus tracks are visible in the soft soil. "A hippo is a dangerous animal" he informs us "it can run much faster than a human being. If you come across it at night your chance of escape is small". A glance at his AK 47 rifle is reassuring. The deeper sections of the river are full of crocodiles and hippos, which live peacefully by respecting each other's territorial boundaries.

We get back to the city the following day. What a contrast it is from the wilderness of Africa. I see my guests off they are saddened to live but happy they came to Africa.

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