Hazey’s Things are different in Africa: Massai Mara
By Hazel Vint
Click the link bellow to read straight from Hazel’s blog
Hazey’s Things are different in Africa: Massai Mara: After 9 months living in Kenya I decided it was time to visit the Maassi Mara. A group of friends were renting a car, so I jumped in at the last minute in true Hazel fashion.
The 9am pick up was obviously somewhat delayed and as I was waiting I was sent to Integri tours to pick up the tents that had been organised. In a mix up there were in fact no tents to hire, but the boys said, “it’s not a problem, if worse comes to worst we can sleep in the car.” Five people in a Rav 4, that was going to be a comfortable evening!
We decided to take the turn off way before Nakuru and enter the park that way. It was certainly a funny experience, driving through bushland with no idea where we were headed, no specific track to follow and the terrain was definitely too much for our supposed 4 x 4 to handle. After about 2 hours the bar on the bottom of the car was bent so badly it was now touching the back wheel. So we were stuck, no tools, couldn’t bend it back… hmmm what were we going to do?
Luckily a safari vehicle came past and offered us some tools to remove this bar and we managed to fit it in the boot of the car, covering the end of the bar with someone’s shoe so it didn’t break the window. Off we headed again. We were trying to get into the park before it closed at 6.30pm, but got distracted when a safari guide told us to follow his car. We arrived about 5 meters away from a young cheetah. It was just relaxing in the sun, we couldn’t believe our luck, we weren’t even anywhere near the park gates. And to think 10 minutes previous I had been hiding behind a bush going to the toilet!!
It was a race against time to get to the gate. We managed to get 5 km from the entrance as the sun was setting and we stopped a park guard to ask about options for sleeping inside. Even if we did get there in time the cheapest option was about $80 per person! So we followed to guard back to the small settlement we had just passed, where we spent the night in very reasonably priced and quite pleasant guesthouse. (Don’t ask the name or where it was as it was dark when we arrived and dark when we left in the morning!)
The next morning we headed off early to be the first to get into the park. Once past the gate we drove straight into a group of elephants. We were all sat taking photos and enjoying the beautiful giants, when Mario said, “Hey guys take a photo of me.” Before we understood what he meant he was out the car and the huge bull trumpeted aggressively and very loudly. Mario ran back to the car as the bull started charging us….. The bull was only about 4 meters away from the car, all of us were screaming, “drive drive drive!!!!!” Thankfully we all got away and our car didn’t suffer any more damage. Only from looking at the pictures later did I realise that this bull had secretions down its cheeks, which essentially means he was in the mating season with his females. Mario you were competition to him!
After that we had to give Mario a stern talking to… “You never get out of the car in the game park!” Mario’s response… “I thought elephants we gentle animals.” Pffhhh!
We headed to a group of cars in the distance thinking it was another animal to view. It turned out to be the hot air ballooning group that were setting up the breakfast for the clients. They had bottles of champagne, so naturally Fiona asked if we could have one of the bottles. As it turned out they said yes and gave us a whole unopened bottle. So 7am and already drinking champers! Hahahaha.
We found another group of cars and asked them what they were looking at, they said lions and we kept looking way into the distance only to realise we were less than 10 meters away from them. They were in the long grass in front of us. One male and his female. Behind us came a small migration of wildebeest and zebras, naturally this got the lions’ attention, they stood up had a parousal and then the male decided the sight of all the food had made him horny. So we watched lion sex, which was short to say the least!
Now only 9.30am we bumped into another hot air ballooning group who were packing up. I could see a whole unopened bottle of champagne, so Fiona and I decided to talk to the pilot. It turned out he was a Yorkshire man and was very happy to give the bottle to us. The boys were back in the car and looking agitated so we were forced to get back in the car and keep moving, however Fiona and I believe if we had kept talking for long enough we may have even blagged a free ballooning ride from him. We will never know.
So 2 bottles of free champagne blagged and drunk before 10am. Not a bad morning really.
In the afternoon we also saw hyenas, hippos, baboons, monkeys warthogs, tons of giraffes, more elephants, (but this time we kept our distance,) ostriches, gazelle and maybe even a rhino in the distance, although the latter I doubt!
We left the game park around 4pm and headed back to Kisumu. Gugi, Fiona and I acted like the little children in the back, drawing on each other and generally annoying the boys in the front. The owner of the car called us and demanded the car back that night, or he was going to charge more money. So that meant we had to fix the car on the route home. By now the bar at the back of the car was also so bent we couldn’t even open the boot! So as we found a mechanic to put the side bar back on, the boys fixed the back bar and the girls went on the beer run.
I started to drive back in the dark and it was actually pretty scary. Certainly after Kerricho my eyes started to get tired. There were no lines marking the side of the road and drivers not understanding the rule about no full beams in oncoming traffic proved to make the journey less than enjoyable. The road from Kerricho was on tarmac, off tarmac, with only large coaches and lorries as oncoming traffic. I didn’t even recognise arriving at Ahero, the first thing I recognised was Mega City in Kisumu!!! I was happy we got back in one piece!
Maassi Mara 2 days, one night! You may think we were crazy but a damn good road trip! 🙂 Thanks Gugi, Mario, Ivan and Fiona!