My sleep is broken by the soft call of the camp Askari. ‘Jambo’ he whispers, I leap out of bed to undo the zip of the tent, and he hands me a tray with hot, fresh Kenyan coffee – it is the start of another beautiful day in Kenya!
I spent over a week exploring the private conservancies bordering the Masai Mara National Reserve as well as a couple of nights in the reserve. There are no boundaries between the conservancies and reserve and the animals move freely.
I absolutely loved being in the Mara at this time of year, the plains were teeming with wildlife and it was so heart-warming to see a new generation of animals: baby zebra’s suckling from their mothers; diminutive Thompson’s Gazelle barely visible in the grass; new-born Topi’s taking their first shaky steps. The cats did not disappoint either; a mother cheetah hunting whilst her cubs waited patiently in eager suspense of their next meal; three magnificent male lions (brothers) who, with their strength and agility, had easy pickings of prey each evening. A particularly exciting day began with a sighting of the most nonchalant leopard walking past our vehicle. She lithely jumped up onto a small tree and posed in the glorious morning sunlight as if she was on a photo shoot! The afternoon’s game-drive was equally productive and we came across a lioness with cubs who had a rather fortuitous moment when she stumbled across an injured buffalo – the cubs were well satisfied with their bush banquet!
There is no need to go into the reserve at this time of year as the wildebeest herds are not resident. There is an abundance of resident animals in the surrounding conservancies and the diversity of species was prominent.
Another advantage of travelling to the Masai Mara at this time of year is the lack of tourists! This was especially true on the conservancies – particularly Olare Motorogi and Naboisho Conservancies. On countless game-drives I hardly saw another vehicle and some of my best sightings were had on my own.