I have lived in the Mara all my life. My late father was an enormous influence on me. After being imprisoned for hunting, he ended up becoming a head ranger. We had many adventures together. One time we were chased by a matriarch elephant, and escaped with our lives by hiding in a dip in the forest – my father’s wisdom saved us.
From a young age, I knew I wanted to work around animals. The big cats, naturally, are my favourite, particularly the leopard. With its rippling muscles, soft coat and slick walk, it’s a natural work of art. I also find its secretiveness fascinating. It can get in and out of our villages taking goats, sheep and sometimes dogs without anyone noticing. However, the small creatures of the Mara – the spiders, termites and beetles – really excite me too. You could say I treasure them as a vital part of the region’s ecosystem.
While the Mara offers amazing opportunities for spotting wildlife throughout the year, the best time is from late June to the end of September – the migration season for the wildebeest and zebra. What amazes me about the migration is not only the scale of the spectacle, but also how individual animals behave – for example, how a mother can be willing to die for her calf.
In terms of the future of the Masai Mara, the one thing above all else I want visitors to know is that the park is fragile, and for that reason, it’s not a good idea to encourage guides to go off road. But my biggest concern is the deforestation of the Mau Forest. It acts like Kenya’s water tower, and feeds the Mara River. If this river dries up, we will lose a lot of our species.
Jackson is a co-owner of the Rekero Camp and Nomadic Encounters private bush houses – both bookable through Rainbow Tours. He is also heavily involved in the Koiyaki Guiding School (www.koiyaki.com), a community project that trains young Maasai to be safari guides.
Alex and Will loved “Kenya’s stunning landscapes, wildlife and luxurious lodges, combined with Zanzibar’s beaches.” They flew to Nairobi and after a short stop over flew to Joy’s Camp in northern Kenya “with its luxurious tents, pool and outdoor restaurant.” From there they stayed at Elephant Watch in Samburu and enjoyed the “indoor/outdoor feel with open-air tents, outdoor bathrooms and huge terraces… The food was amazing and the vibe was totally chilled out.” From there they toom a “short flight to the Masai Mara – the largest reserve in Kenya” here they spent “an hour watching a cheetah and her cubs playing and fighting.
In Zanzibar they spent two days at “the lovely Zanzibar Palace Hotel in Stone Town before moving on to Matemwe, a little lodge with thatched bungalows on the beach.”
Take us there
Rainbow Tours (020 7226 1004; rainbowtours.co.uk) offers a 12-day honeymoon to Kenya and Zanzibar from £3,170 per person. This includes flights, taxes, transfers and inclusive accommodation: two nights each at Joy’s Camp, Elephant Watch and Saruni, one night at Zanzibar Palace in Stone Town and three nights at Matemwe Bungalows, with meals and guided walks.