A trip to Masai Mara is an experience that you will savour for a long long time. We were there in 2012, and had plans to stay one night at Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, three night at Mar forest and then two nights at a place called Naivasha. This is part 3 of my Masai Mara, Kenya Travelogue which begins here and you join us in our safari experience as we ride bumping on the road towards the Mara gates. Clouds have started to populate the western skies and it looked a little ominous especially being the season of the short rains. I looked like a Rainy day at Masai Mara.
Eco Camp inside Masai Mara :
The road changes from Narok onwards. The wider tarmac road that we were riding on since Nairobi, turns into a broken and bumpy stretch, and every now and then the car bounces and swerves as it hits these uneven pits you need to hold tight to the rails.. The expanse on both your side changes, the grassy slopes become more green, vegetation’s are lush and the settlements or villages become few and far in between.Animals became more frequently visible now. It was hard to freeze them in my camera as they scurried off with the sound of the vehicle. Clouds gathered in the afternoon sky, and by the time we reached the gates of Masai Mara it had already started to drizzle.November and December are the season of the short rains, the period before the Kenyan summer, similar to what we experience in March- April with our own Indian Kal-baishakhis. The rains started pouring heavily, as we waited in our vehicle in front of the Reserve Entry Gates while Lawrence got us the requisite permissions.
It was raining persistently now, and though the lush green grasslands started to look radiant but the roads were muddy. We crossed a second river through the Talek Bridge inside Masai Mara and entered the core area of the Mara Forest Wildlife Reserve. The lodge we had booked had become inaccessible because of the incessant rains by then as the Masai river had engorged to twice its size. So instead we were offered a stay at Nyumbu Camp. The camp consisted of about 15 individual tents built around a central hospitality unit which served as the reception cum guest lounge and also had an adjacent dining hall for the guests. Nyumbu Camp is an open camp which means that there is no fence to separate it from the wild open lands and is thus guarded for 24 hours by a team of Masai guards. Nyumbu Camp and many others in the Mara Reserve run on solar power.
It was late afternoon, the rains still a steady drizzle when we reached the camp and were welcomed very warmly by the manager of the camp who introduced us to the Masai staffs and explained the rules, regulations as well as the risks of staying in the camp. They pointed out that it is not infrequent that they se wildlife or animals roaming inside the camp at night. This basically meant that guests were prohibited to venture out of the camp after sun down and would need to be escorted by the guards for their dinner or wherever or whenever required. After a strong cup of coffee and a recharging of our cameras, we were all ready to go out for our first game viewing. Game viewing is the more politically correct word used for shooting animals, albeit nowadays with cameras. We were now joined by Kantaai, a Masai warrior and guide who would drive our vehicle inside the reserve. Kantaai knew a few words of English and seemed very nice. Lawrence, our Kenyan city-driver from Nairobi gave him company.