Masai Mara National Reserve Journals

The Great Wildebeest Migration - Masai Mara National Reserve

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A September 2008 trip to Masai Mara National Reserve by actonsteve

The herds would join up to form bigger herds Photo, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya More Photos
Quote: Rolling grasslands tremble to the sound of the great wildebeest migration. Two million animals sally forth and coat the terrain in a sea of black coated animals. Where there are wildebeest there are predators feasting on this glut of animals. It must be the greatest wildlife show on earth.
A lions banquet Photo, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Within minutes of entering this vast reserve I encountered so much game my mouth dropped open in astonishment.Armies of wildebeest stretching to the horizon, elephants getting stressed with each other and bellowing their concern with high decibels, lions sleeping off a kill at a muddy waterhole, spooked Impala bounding into the bush, a lone vulture sihouetted against the sunset and Maasai striding across the plains with their spears and red cloaks billowing behind them. The Masai Mara is the greatest wildlife show on earth. I had to pinch myself that I was there. I’d seen the reserve on the television so many times. It is a staple of Sunday afternoon documentaries on the...Read More

Riverside Camp

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Hotel | "My First Ever Experience Camping in Africa"

Riverside Camp Photo, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
One morning as I saw a seriously big male baboon.He emerged out of the bushes – saw me come out of the toilet block – then sped back into cover again.The thing was huge. I felt a shiver of fear when viewing him; he looked like a troop leader. I walked over to the blockhouse where the boys were cooking breakfast and pointed out what I had seen. They were dismissive "Oh they come for the rubbish" – but I was still in shock. He was the biggest baboon I had ever seen. I made doubly sure that my tent was zipped up when we went out on safari.The ‘Riverside’ campsite gets lots of visitors both human and animal. Its rather small containing only about twelve tents but ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 15, 2009

Riverside Camp
Talek Gate
Masai Mara, Kenya

The sheer size of the migration Photo, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
In 2008 the migration number for wildebeest in the Masai Mara reached two million.That’s the biggest movement of animals on the globe. A number so huge that they turn the horizon black with their numbers.The herds are so big that they cover the grassy plains like a moving sea – forever moving in search of fresh pasture. The sound of their hooves thundering past and the lowing sound they make is unforgettable. To be standing in a safari vehicle as the mass of creatures move past you is a heart-in-mouth moment. The greatest movement of herd animals on the planet.They come up from Tanzania’s Serengeti Plains in a circular migration that takes a year. They arrive in the Ma...Read More
A cheetah watches the herds Photo, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The cheetah lay in the long grass panting.Not because of his recent exertions to bring down a teenage wildebeest but because he was getting his breath back from eating his fill. With a swollen belly it was time to let the food settle a little and gaze at the nine safari vans parked a few yards away. I was one of those; I was looking at close range through a pair of binoculars and noted how androgynously pretty a cheetah is. It’s a magnificent looking cat from up close – the sandy coloured feline head, the tufted ears, the black tear marks under the eyes and that devil-may-care attitude. It knew who its audience was and it wasn’t letting it distract him from enjoying the feeling...Read More
The terror of the campsites Photo, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
There is something infinitely creepy about hyenas.I don’t know whether it is their sloping walk or the way their mouths drop open but there is something of the childs nightmare about them. They may not be looking for trouble but they look as if they are.In the Mara there are huge clans of these beasts and they are at their most active when we were there – while the herds of the migration were in the area. Individuals travel for miles in search for food – they spread out from clan burrows communicating with each other with that otherworldly yowl they have."WWWwwwwwhhoooooppppppp!!" To hear that in the black of night when you are in a small tent is c...Read More

Crocs at the Ready - the Mara River

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A zebra crossing? Photo, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
I’m pretty bored by television these days.The diet of predictable programmes means I’m pretty picky what I watch. While still having favourites I tend to lean towards history, travel and wildlife programmes. Over the years wildlife programmes, particularly by the BBC, have been an absolute pleasure. I’m not sure why it is? Whether after a hard day at the office I’d rather watch wild animals snapping at each other than human beings doing the same.But a staple ingredient of these programmes is the crossing of the Mara River by the wildebeest migration. It adds that little edge of danger and drama as the gigantic Nile crocodiles come out of their stupor ready for a glut of ...Read More
The full carnage at the Talek river Photo, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
A colleague before I went to East Africa heard I was going and said "I love the Masai Mara – you get such a sense of natural life and death there.."I wasn’t sure what he meant until I experienced it for myself. This is where every animal lives with one eye over its shoulder for predators or where one miscalculated leap ends in failure and it can’t feed its cubs. It is the animal kingdom at its rawest and while that is very exciting I think it is fair to warn you that it is also very gruesome. The blood and guts of animal death are freely experienced in the Masai Mara.On our last day we travelled to the Talek River where we were hoping to catch a sight of the elusive leopard. Th...Read More
Willy the Warthog Photo, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
It’s easy to be blasé when not eyeing one of the big five and easy to see why everything else merges into the background when not viewing these ‘stars’ of the Mara.But if you look around the place is infested with less prominent animals which if they weren’t in the company of the ‘big beasts’ would be attractions in their own right. For every African animal is squeezed into the Mara – often sharing their territory with the ‘Big Five’. It can be no less rewarding to watch a fish eagle dissect its catch from a nearby acacia tree or a secretary bird strut along the grass or vervet monkeys pick up seeds from the track in front of you. The smaller animals are part of the ecolo...Read More