Maasai Mara National Reserve

Am I the only one that looks at this photo and thinks of this?

The Maasai Mara National Reserve is home to some of the world’s largest and deadliest creatures, as well as some of it’s most rare and beautiful.

The Mara was probably my favourite game drive in Kenya in terms of the sheer number and variance of animals in one area.

Mara translates as “spotted” land.

The land is absolutely saturated with sparse trees, scrub, shadows from clouds and hundreds of thousands of wild animals speckling the arid savannah.

With it being the first stop on my safari tour I was a bit erratic upon my first sightings, but I eventually settled down to take it all in.

As the sun began to set on the first night, a wild savannah storm started to creep along the horizon. It arrived quietly, but soon rumbled across the plains and slapped us with a cold wind that churned up everything around us, including a few skittish gazelles.

There was a good twenty minutes where the sun lit up the sweeping grasses like a glowing fire against the dark menacing sky behind it, and for a brief moment, produced the most incredible sunset I have ever seen.

Here are some of my favourite wildlife encounters from the three days that I spent in Maasai Mara National Reserve.

We actually got to get out of the safari van and crawl down the side of the river to watch an enormous pod of hippopotamuses (yes, that’s the REAL plural) playing in the water. Knowing that hippos are notoriously dangerous animals, and much faster than humans, I was cautious as I found a spot to perch on the bank.

It literally took my guide telling me that we had to leave to get home in time to get me to leave that spot. I didn’t want to go and probably could have stayed there all night. Perhaps I got half my wish, as I was kept awake by different hippos all that night back at my tent :p

You know that common documentary scene of thousands of wildebeest building up on the side of a river until the breaking point when they all dash across at once, while dozens are pulled down into the depths by patient crocodiles? This is that river, the Mara River.

The Mara River runs through both Maasai Mara National Reserve and Serengeti National Park, and works as a barrier during the Great Migration.

The river was busy with crocs, hippos and geese when we stopped for a look, but the Great Migration will not happen until Autumn.

We witnessed a near-hunt on our last morning on the Mara, but this cheetah didn’t manage to catch her breakfast. We ended up driving in the direction of her prey and herding them back toward her as we left. You’re welcome, cheetah.

Topi are called the “Antelope wearing blue jeans”

Golden Hour on the Maasai Mara

Black Spitting Cobra

I’d like to mention that I wish I had seen more snakes while on safari. While I’m admittedly terrified of spiders and other creepy-crawlies, I’ve always had a big fascination with snakes.

I often found myself ignoring the animals in plain sight and training my eyes on the tree branches and scrub around us. I was desperate to see a black mamba, puff adder or rock python. I also wish this little guy hadn’t slithered away so quickly.

Oh hey, Tanzania!

Cheetah on the hunt

Thanks to My Adventure Store & G Adventures for making this trip possible.
All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

What’s your favourite animal on the Maasai Mara?

 

Tour: Kenya Safari Experience
G Adventures Africa Tours

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13 Responses to “Maasai Mara National Reserve”

  1. Turtle
    February 18, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    Wow! Such incredible photos. It looks like you saw so much!
    I think the hippos are my favourites too 🙂
    Turtle recently posted..Discovering the secret Burmese capital

    • Seattle
      February 18, 2013 at 10:49 am #

      Thanks! Yeah, there were soooo many animals. Love those hippos :]

  2. Alouise
    February 19, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

    As soon as I saw the first photo The Circle Of Life song popped into my head.

    Love all these photos. I think the photo of the baby elephant is my favourite, so cute. And the color of the golden hour photo is amazing.

  3. Amanda
    February 20, 2013 at 11:57 pm #

    GUH. Incredible shots.

    (And yes, that first one DOES indeed make me start humming “Circle of Life”!)
    Amanda recently posted..Forget Chichen Itza – Go to Tikal Instead

    • Seattle
      February 22, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

      Thanks! Hehe glad I’m not the only one 😀

  4. Nicole
    February 24, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    Wow, LOVE the snake shot and the lone truck with the dark clouds. Great pictures.

  5. Ryan
    March 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    Seattle…I just can’t help but be blown away by your photos. They are just so damn stunning and powerful. Like that photo of the long grass…holy crap. I definitely need to pick up some pointers on our road trip! Also, that Hippopotamuses musing…totally reminds me of the movie Big Daddy when Rob Schneider is trying to pronounce it, “Hip…Hip hop…Hip hop anonymouses?” Haha.

    Again…gnarly photos xD

    • Seattle
      March 10, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

      Hahaaaaa I literally started singing hip hop anonymous every time I saw one!! And, thanks 😀

  6. iamwanderlass
    April 22, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    hi, may i ask, did you go on a whole day safari?

    • Seattle
      April 23, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

      I went on an 8 day safari tour with Gadventures, including two days in Maasai Mara.

  7. john fabian
    November 25, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    beautiful pictures, and you too are

  8. john fabian
    November 25, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    beautiful pictures,and you too are beautiful

  9. Marion Pelligrini
    March 29, 2015 at 9:52 am #

    I want to learn {more|even

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