Friday, 20 February 2009

More of our safari experiences!

Mark visited the Masai Mara in April.
“I was lucky enough to go on safari earlier this year, and loved every minute of it! I’ve been to Kenya several times in the past, but as with many of the trips I do, most of the time is spent visiting the hotels Escape Worldwide features - this time, though, I spent more time on safari, really getting to experience Kenya’s amazing diversity. It’s great visiting different hotels around the world, but sometimes it’s more fun to do what holidaymakers actually do while away!
One morning on the Masai Mara we did a game drive for a few hours, setting off as the sun was coming up. We were staying at the Mara Serena Lodge, an impressive property with spectacular views across the sweeping plains of the Mara from its position on top of a ridge, and the area around the property was rich with wildlife. It was so quiet, and the scenery was stunning. The highlight of the game drive (if not my whole trip to Kenya!) was when we came across a cheetah and her two cubs. She was just as interested in us as we were in her, but she had a purpose in her interest – she wanted to use our vehicle as a lookout point, so jumped on the back of the van, and then on to the roof! It was totally amazing - although quite scary at the time as even the driver admitted this hadn’t happened to him before! After a minute or two scanning the horizon from her new-found lookout post, she hopped back down and returned to her cubs, losing interest in us as quickly as she’d found it.
A few minutes later we were overlooking the Mara River, where a group of hippos were in residence. To us, their loud calls sounded a little like laughter, and as they swam and bounced through the water it seemed like they were thoroughly enjoying themselves – realistically, they were more likely to be defending themselves, as we then came across a baby hippo that had lost it’s battle the night before, and a group of hyenas were taking advantage.
A trip to the Masai Mara, to my mind, is the kind of thing that everyone should do once in a lifetime – I’ve been privileged to visit twice now, and I’m really hoping to return one day too.”
Links:
Check out Mark’s Safari photo gallery at http://www.escapeworldwide.co.uk/saf/destin/safken.shtml
For more details of holidays to Kenya visit http://www.farawayescapes.co.uk/gallery/Escape%20Worldwide%20Safari%2008%20photo%20gallery/

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Elephants on the move in Kenya

On a trip to the Masai Mara, Darren found himself in the middle of a family of elephants – quite literally.
“One of the best things about a safari is that every day is different, and you never know what you’re likely to encounter. I spent one night at the Governors Camp on the Masai Mara, and did two game drives in to the local area. This area of the western Masai Mara is really rich in wildlife, and is particularly well know for its cats – so much so that the BBC film the ‘Big Cat Diaries’ in this area. However, on this particular trip it was the local elephant population that caught my attention.
On the first afternoon of my stay our driver had spotted a herd of elephants in the distance – I still don’t know how he’d seen them as they were well out of my view, and even when they were pointed out to me they still looked like dots on the horizon! As we drew closer, the driver stopped our vehicle and turned the engine off, right in the path of these amazing creatures. They continued with their walk across the plains, barely pausing to pay us any attention, yet they were so close to us – some were merely metres away. I counted 25 animals in the herd – a family unit, our driver told us. There were a few younger animals in the group, including one that the driver estimated to be just a few weeks old, trying hard to keep up with everyone else by holding on to his mother’s tail with his trunk! One elephant paused by our vehicle and checked us out with his trunk, passing over the bonnet to investigate what we were – presumably we were neither food nor threat, so the herd passed us by, heading for a wooded area on the horizon.
Next morning we had a typically early start, and headed off from the camp to a similar area we’d been in during the previous afternoon. Again, our driver spotted something in the distance – and it turned out to be the same family of elephants that we’d been mesmerised by yesterday! Our driver explained that they would have headed to the wooded area to spend the night, and were now heading back to the open plains for feeding. There was one notable difference though – today, there were around 30 animals in the herd, more than the previous day! Clearly, the family unit had met up with others, perhaps more from the same unit that had gone their separate way beforehand, or perhaps they’d adopted other animals that may have been abandoned by their own family group - I’ll never know!”

View our elephant photo gallery: http://www.farawayescapes.co.uk/gallery/Escape%20Worldwide%20Elephants%20Photo%20Gallery/ For holidays to Kenya visit http://www.safariescapes.co.uk/