A mag­i­cal sun­rise in the Masai Mara

In August the year 2013 our dream came true. Togeth­er with good friends we went on our first safari through Kenya. For me it was actu­al­ly the first time that I left the Euro­pean con­ti­nent. We trav­elled through Kenya on an indi­vid­ual safari in our own four-wheel dri­ve vehi­cle (a mod­i­fied Toy­ota Land­Cruis­er) with an excel­lent guide who accom­pa­nied us the whole time (thank you very much for this, Eric!). From a pho­to­graph­ic point of view it was a par­adise, I took dur­ing the 17 days almost 10.000 pho­tos, from which I would like to show a selec­tion here.

Nairobi - August 11th 2013

We reached Nairo­bi ear­ly in the morn­ing on a KLM night flight. I could not sleep on the flight and was accord­ing­ly tired when we arrived. The check-in at the air­port was very impro­vised (a few days before the inter­na­tion­al ter­mi­nal had been destroyed by fire), but it was still quite uncom­pli­cat­ed (typ­i­cal­ly African: Haku­na Mata­ta). In front of the air­port we were picked up by our guide and dri­ver Eric and trans­ferred with our safari vehi­cle to our hotel in Nairobi.

After a short check-in we start­ed our first tour in Nairo­bi: A vis­it to the Karen Blix­en House (known from the movie “Out of Africa”), the ele­phant orphan­age as well as the giraffe cen­ter where you could feed a giraffe - my 12 year old daugh­ter loved that.

After­wards we enjoyed in the hotel a first African din­ner with local Tusker Beer and fell after­wards into bed like dead.

Mount Kenia - August 12th 2013

On the next morn­ing we drove very ear­ly to Mt. Kenya, with almost 5200m the high­est moun­tain in Kenya and one of the high­est moun­tains in Africa. We stayed there for one night in the Mt. Kenya Ser­e­na Lodge at an alti­tude of almost 2200m. The lodge is a com­plete­ly wood­en build­ing, which opens up to a water­hole in an arch.

Here we could now see the first wildlife. After a rich African buf­fet we slept very well in our beds and were awak­ened short­ly before sun­rise to watch the ris­ing sun above the sum­mit of Mt Kenya.

Then we went on to the Sam­bu­ru Nation­al Reserve.

Samburu - August 13th to 15th 2013

The Sam­bu­ru are a tribe liv­ing north in Kenya. The Sam­bu­ru Nation­al Reserve is a 165 km² nation­al park and is sit­u­at­ed on the Uaso Nyiro Riv­er. Char­ac­ter­is­tic ani­mals are Oryx antelopes, Gerenuks, Grant gazelles and Grevy zebras. Also typ­i­cal for the region are the retic­u­lat­ed giraffes, which dif­fer from oth­er giraffe sub­species by their par­tic­u­lar­ly con­trast­ing colour­ing. Among the preda­tors, lions, leop­ards, chee­tahs and striped hye­nas are espe­cial­ly impor­tant. Espe­cial­ly the leop­ards are less shy here than else­where, as they were lured with prey for a long time. Among the birds that can be found here are Vul­turine guineafowls and ostrich­es. In addi­tion, large herds of ele­phants and numer­ous oth­er game species, such as water­bucks and Nile croc­o­diles, can be found in the park.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy - Sweetwaters August 16th to 17th 2013

After three nights in Sam­bu­ru we went back south to the Ol Peje­ta Con­ser­van­cy, where we stayed at Sweet­wa­ters Tent­ed Camp. Sweet­wa­ters lies direct­ly on the equa­tor. For the first time we spent the night in tents - but very com­fort­able ones, each with its own bath­room and a ter­race where we could observe some of the rhi­nos in the evening. Thus we had already seen all of the Big Five: lions, leop­ards, buf­fa­lo, rhi­nos and ele­phants in the wild - in just 5 days!

Also includ­ed in the park is a chim­panzee sanc­tu­ary. Chim­panzees do not actu­al­ly live in Kenya, but here one takes care of chim­panzee orphans from West and Cen­tral Africa, where these intel­li­gent ani­mals are threat­ened by hunt­ing and wars.

Rift Valley and Thompson Falls - August 18th 2013

From Sweet­wa­ters we went on towards Lake Naku­ru, pass­ing the great African Rift Val­ley where we could vis­it the famous 74m high Thomp­son Falls.

Lake Nakuru - August 18th to 19th

Lake Naku­ru is famous for its numer­ous flamin­gos, which we unfor­tu­nate­ly only saw in the dis­tance because of the high water. But on the oth­er hand we saw a lot of white rhinos.

Lake Naivasha - August 20th

Actu­al­ly there are two lakes, the small­er one is a salt lake and here we could final­ly watch the flamin­gos from a very close dis­tance dur­ing a boat safari. Lat­er on we did a walk­ing safari on a penin­su­la in Lake Naivasha, the Cres­cent Island, where we got by feet very close to giraffes and wildebeests.

Then came the high­light of our trip, dri­ving to the Masai Mara and there to the Lit­tle Mara Bush Camp.

Masai Mara - August 21st to 25th 2015

The camp con­sist­ed of only 8 very lux­u­ri­ous tents, which each were sit­u­at­ed at a dis­tance direct­ly on an arm of the Mara River.

Our “tent” in the Masai Mara

In the riv­er you could watch the hip­pos from the tent ter­race. Dur­ing sev­er­al game dri­ves we could see many ani­mals and watch sev­er­al mag­i­cal sun­ris­es and sun­sets. We were even allowed to expe­ri­ence the famous riv­er-cross­ing of the wilde­beest twice. This was a breath­tak­ing expe­ri­ence - we will cer­tain­ly vis­it the Lit­tle Mara Bush Camp again.

On August 26th we went back to Nairo­bi, stayed there one more night and flew back with KLM in the morn­ing of August 27th. It was an extra­or­di­nary trip, we were infect­ed with the “african virus” and Africa will sure­ly see us again.