Imagine sitting down for lunch and having a family of hippos swim past your table, well that’s exactly the sight we had at the Mara Simba Lodge in Masai Mara. Every one jumped off their seats with cameras at the ready, and lunch (and our hunger) was soon forgotten about. There is plenty of wildlife to be seen, like elephants, gazelles, zebras and wildebeests to name but a few, and many more to encounter when you enter the Masai Mara National Park itself. To see such amazing creatures at this close proximity is altogether a breathtaking experience. Then finding cheeky monkeys playing on your cabin balcony makes you realise (if you hadn’t already) how close to nature you really are.
After lunch and some rest, it was time to go see some more of the wildlife. We had just passed the hotel check point when we caught sight of playful baboons causing mischief. A little bit further along the track I glimpsed my first giraffe standing tall, just yards from our jeep. Every marking on a giraffe is unique – it’s like a finger print where no two are alike.
Having been in the water all day, the hippos come out at night to sleep on land. We were lucky enough to have a dry patch of river bed right across from our hotel bar, so we had the perfect view. Unfortunately my camera was not good enough to take photos at night but I was content to just watch and admire. Did you know there’s only one male in a hippo pod? We saw a small family with only two adult females, two babies and the adult male, but there are pods as big as 68 adult hippos.
It’s lights out at 11pm but with a 6am game drive the following morning, that’s a good thing (I get cranky without my beauty sleep!). Tea and coffee was served at the bar where we could help ourselves before our drive, and at 6am sharp the driver/guide came to collected us, and we set off to explore the lush plains of the Masai Mara, and to perhaps catch sight of a pride of lion after a night out hunting their pray. It’s not just the wildlife that is so captivating about the Masai Mara, but its also the sheer vastness of the place that’s just as breathtaking. Unfortunately we weren’t lucky enough to see an actual kill but we did spot a lion cub trying to finish off the left over’s of a zebra.
After the early morning game drive, we returned just in time for breakfast and kicked-back until our afternoon drive. I spent my time in the hotel bar watching the hippos and crocodiles and the occasional elephant munching away in the bushes across the river. I did wonder how I would manage to spend the whole day in the confines of the lodge, but I can honestly say I don’t know where the time went. At every turn, I saw something that amazed me: a hippo unexpectedly popping its heads out from the water; watching to see how long a pair of crocodile can sit still without moving a muscle, waiting to pounce on lunch; an iguana nonchalantly wandering around the grounds of the lodge or just counting the number of vibrant and different bird species flying around us. I was hooked!
I just can’t wait for my next Masai Mara holiday.
This blog article was written by Poorvi Mehta from Rainbow Tours’ sister company, Western & Oriental.