On the morning of November 4, our eclipse group took a short flight from Nairobi to the Masai Mara — a vast expanse on Kenya’s southern border famous for its rich variety of wildlife. Located just north of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, the Masai Mara features the same abundance of wildlife as its better-known southern neighbor. The 30 or so members of our MWT Associates, Inc. tour took three long game rides on Monday and Tuesday and saw sights none of us would soon forget.
Vast herds of wildebeest mingle with zebras on the plains of the Masai Mara. // photo by Evelyn Talcott
Thousands upon thousands of wildebeest grazed the grasslands, with smaller numbers of buffaloes, elephants, gazelles, giraffes, impalas, zebras, and other four-legged critters. Every visit to the Mara River brought sightings of hippos and crocodiles patrolling the warm waters. And the birdlife was no less abundant. The most impressive species were the Marabou Stork, several varieties of vultures and eagles, and the flightless ostrich.
At night, hippos and elephants wandered through Governors’ Camp, where we spent our two nights in large, luxurious tents. No one was allowed to walk through the camp after dark without a guide. The dark skies beckoned us to view the wonders of the starry canopy above, which, from our location near the equator, stretched nearly from the north to south celestial pole. Guides kept an eye out for any unwanted visitors.
An adult male lion surveys his domain as he wakes from a long nap. // photo by Evelyn Talcott
But the most exciting sights we witnessed had to be the predators of the plains. We saw hyenas, cheetahs, and lions. One lioness nursed a trio of two-week-old cubs. Although we didn’t observe any “kills,” we did see some lions feeding on fresh meat.
On our final morning in the Masai Mara (November 6), we took a hot-air balloon ride to view the animals from above. The unique perspective brought sightings of a baby giraffe and a leopard — our only sighting of the elusive big cat. Once we returned to the camp after the balloon ride, it was time to pack up again for our next destination: the island of Zanzibar.
Sand, Sun, and storms — but no totality