October 6, we arrived in Masai Mara Reserve mid afternoon and stayed 3 nights at the wildly unique Mara Simba Lodge Mara Simba Lodge on the banks of the Talek River. Hippos, crocodiles, and water birds, frequented the shoreline below the restaurant and bar. 

Baboon, monkeys, and mongoose constantly meandered around the lodge grounds making it necessary not to leave an open door or window unsupervised.

Masai Mara is a portion of the Serengeti that extends into Kenya and is about 580 square miles in size.

For the most part the reserve is made up of rolling hills covered with grasslands and dotted with small trees. The migration of many of the grazing animals goes back and forth between Masai Mara (Kenya) and the Serengeti (Tanzania) seasonally. Therefore the number of animals you see will depend on where the migration is located.

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Cape buffalo
Thompson's gazelle
This time of the year the rain and green grass have brought hordes of grazing animals. The number of zebra and wildebeest that we saw each day in the Mara numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Additionally the topi, hartebeest, cape buffalo, Thompson’s gazelle, Grant’s gazelle, and impala were also plentiful. The Thompson’s gazelle, a.k.a. Tommys, are cute little critters whose little tails were constantly waging like a happy little puppy. The wildebeest made a constant grunting sound and the zebras made a very odd donkey-like sound.
The quantity of wildlife is mind boggling. The more noteworthy animals we saw included a single African hare, kingfisher, a couple of cheetah, jackal, ostrich, several baboon, black faced vervet monkey, elephant, giraffe, hippopotamus, lions, marabou storks, mongoose, monkeys, secretary birds, topi, vultures, warthogs, waterbuck, and LOTS of cape buffalo, Grant’s gazelle, hartebeest, impala, Thompson’s Gazelle, wildebeest, and zebra.
Masai giraffe
With the change of each rainy season the wildebeest face a life and death struggle to cross the Mara River. Most cross the river successfully but each year thousands don’t make it. Many of them drown and wash up on shore here. The stench is probably the vilest smell I’ve ever experienced.  
hippopotamus hippopotamus Thousands of dead wildebeest
A mother cheetah and her cub provided one of the most memorable moments on the entire trip.
We saw two different prides of lion and two lion couples on honeymoon. All total we counted 25 but we are quite certain there were several more hidden by the bushes.
We never saw any leopard in Masai Mara but the remains of this impala in a tree is proof that they are here.
We visited this Masai boma and found it to be a very enjoyable experience. It was $20 US per person and well worth it and we wound up buying our favorite souvenirs here as well.
On our way to the airstrip to fly back to Nairobi we came across a pride of lions with what turned out to be 5 very fresh wildebeest kills. We believe that one of the kills was made while we were there but we were distracted taking photos of other members of the pride chowing-down on a wildebeest killed just a few minutes earlier.
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WildTrek Safaris

This ended the 6 day safari with WildTrek Safaris. For the most part their services were good. The vehicle and accommodations provided by Wildtrek safaris was good and most of the people we dealt with were very good and delivered helpful, quality service, however, the most glaring negative was our driver, William. Would I recommend WildTrek Safaris? Yes, but make sure you do not get William.

We had a wonderful time in Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara but not because of our driver William but rather in spite of William. While on game drives we would ask him to stop and he’d keep going. We’d ask him to move on and he’d stay stopped. In between parks he drove with glacier like speed. When we came to an interesting animal on numerous occasions William would wave other cars in front of us. We were all ready to scream with frustration.

We were also disappointed with the short amount of game drive times provided to us each day and the lack of communication. We usually had a 2 ½ hour game drive in the morning and 2 ½ hours in the afternoon (5 hours total). We were never given the opportunity to select the start times we wanted or given any opportunity for additional drive time. We saw lots of animals but were frustrated by the fact that we were left sitting at the lodge for 6 hours in the middle of the day. By comparison our safari driver in Tanzania averaged more than 10 hours per day on game drives.

TIP: When making your safari plans make sure your safari company guarantees a certain number of hours while on game drives. Do NOT leave it up to the whim of your driver.

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Africa 2007
Nairobi | Lake Nakuru | Masai Mara | Ngorongoro | Serengeti | Tarangire

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Revised December 15, 2007