It is now the end of our first week, and what a week it has been! We left the Maasai Mara this morning after an exhausting but unforgettable 5 days. We went for a game drive every morning early, leaving before dawn to catch that ‘golden light’ photographers are so fond of. We ate a picnic breakfast in a clearing where our guides assured us there were no lions lurking. The goal was to get back to camp by 11am but we were always late, held up by yet another photo op and got back just in time for lunch, a very short siesta and to head out on another game drive mid afternoon until there was no more light. The roads (if you can call them that) are terrible, and we were glad of our expert driver/guides! But as we bounced and rattled over the savannah with our eyes peeled for wildlife we were very aware of what a privilege it is to be in this place. Every day there were new and exciting sightings and hundreds of photos to sort (and cull!).
Today we had a leisurely start – breakfast at 7.15. What a luxury! We were up early and packed ready to leave the Mara and head for our next location. But there was a big treat in store first. While our luggage was driven to Sleeping Warrior Camp at Lake Elementaita, we were left at the tiny Olkiombo Airstrip in the Mara, where two 6-seater Cessnas were waiting for us. These planes were specially customised for us – two of the seats and one door were removed, and we were flown two at a time over the Maasai Mara to photograph from above. Flying with the doors off was a little nerve-wracking, especially when we banked steeply to that side, but it was also incredibly exciting and the views were amazing. I wish I could post some photos but our internet is not up to it – be assured I will share some as soon as I get back to Doha. We also got some amazing video footage, as Keith bravely clamped his Go-Pro to the tail of the plane and recorded the whole flight.Seeing the enormous herds of Wildebeest from above gave a greater understanding of the sheer numbers of beasts, and you could see their formations as they gathered en masse, followed in single file, or gathered near the river crossing. Our flights lasted about 30 minutes, and then the doors & seats were reinstalled and we flew to Sleeping Warrior Camp. This time I got to sit in the co-pilot seat which was fun and something I’ve never done before.
The above was written several days ago. My intention to blog daily, or even frequently, has been impeded by slow or absent internet and falling in to bed exhausted at the end of every day! I will post this now, while I can, and will try to catch up very soon!