Welcome to the Maasai Mara!
On a trip to Nairobi, I had the deep privilege of visiting a world-famous wildlife park in southern Kenya. I had never been to Africa before, so you can imagine my reaction when I stepped off the little plane to be greeted by a herd of zebras! They grazed unconcernedly right up to the edge of the camp. What was that weird sound? Hippos in the Mara River! Warthogs on their knees! Gazelle! Giraffes! Wildebeest!
It was almost too much.
The next morning, my guide and I set out to find as many of the Big Five wildlife as possible during my brief stay. We quickly spotted a herd of buffalo in marshy country north of camp, followed quickly by another sighting – lions! Four females lay peacefully under a cluster of acacia trees. Later, we followed a solitary black rhino as he strode purposefully across the grasslands as if he were late for an important meeting. Three down!
Elephants weren’t hard to find. Incredibly, during lunch a family of elephants cracked tree branches across the river from where I sat. For a moment, I thought the camp had hired them to entertain the guests. But what truly astonished me was seeing elephants work the grasslands. Back home, I’m used to seeing cattle on grass – not elephants!
The massive herd of wildebeest I saw everywhere was also amazing.
On the second day, we came across the last and most elusive of the Big Five – a leopard. She sat on the edge of a ravine nonchalantly grooming herself like a house cat. I couldn’t take enough photographs! The guide said I was lucky.
The world is a big beautiful place. We’re lucky to have it!
Photo © Courtney White / http://www.jcourtneywhite.com