Friday, March 30, 2012

African Massage

Fifteen hours of African massages and you may feel a bit tired, but what fun I’ve had the last three days zipping around the Masai Mara visiting the various camps and resorts.  Are you wondering what an African massage is? The bouncing around in the safari vehicles, on the dusty dirt road is what makes one call it so.  It's a great adventure to say the least!

My first visit was to Serena Lodge which is about a two hour ride across the park.  We took a bit longer as we stopped quite a few times to capture some great Kodak moments and to watch the animals as they grazed in the open Savannah.  My favourite viewing was seeing the hippos for the first time, and the crocs too! Serena Lodge is located at the top of a hill, overlooking the park and very close to the Mara River.  I enjoyed watching the sunset while the hippos splashed around at the hippo pool, there were at least 50 enjoying the cool water.  Once the sun goes down the hippos make their way out and head for dinner munching on the Savannah grasses. We spent two nights at Serena visiting with friends before making our way back to Fig Tree for our next flight.

The balloons were both full; sixteen passengers in each, twenty one were Canadian! I was there to welcome them with the rest of the crew at 6:15am.  I had the pleasure of being part of the crew for Tuesdays’ flight, this was the first time I had ever followed along on the ground. I was able to capture a lot of great pictures as I watched the two balloons lift off and began the chase with the crew.

Ten minutes into our drive we saw two lions. As I sat just fifteen feet away from the male with our eyes locked on each other. I was wondering what was going through his mind. He was not far from his lady friend who was peacefully still asleep.  We pulled closer to her which did not spook her at all; she continued sleeping but peeked her head up to check us out. After a few minutes of watching her we carried along on our way to follow the balloons.  Moses was a few hundred feet ahead of Kim's balloon and we were chasing to pick up the passengers from Moses's balloon.  We dropped off the crew under the Acacia tree to set up and prepare for the bush breakfast and quickly continued with our African massage to the landing site.  We arrived to sixteen smiling faces, so happy for their experience, one they will never forget.

Later that day, after a quick nap we hopped on the dirt bike, out for another massage, headed to G.G’s restaurant in Talek, a small town just outside the park grounds. Talek is a dusty Maasai town full of business, you can purchase anything you need in this quaint town.  We were driving through on market day. We met up with the owners of Camp Eden, a lovely camp with six tents located along the Talek River.  During lunch Jay and Munir, the owners of the camp were telling us about the excitement they had at camp the day prior. Twelve lions were on their property stalking the buffalo that had been walking around for days.  They made their attack and moved in for the kill, which left Jay and Munir house bound for most of the day.  As I toured their property I saw the remains of the kill; the head, the spine and a few ribs were all that remained, the lions and hyenas had a feast! After a lovely visit we headed back home to Fig Tree Camp. Biking through the small villages along the way the children waved as we passed by. Their way of life is very simple but I noticed how happy they were playing with big smiles on their faces as we rode by.

Wednesday it was off for our next adventure across the park to visit more friends.  Isaac, our driver was great at spotting the animals hiding in the trees. The Marshall Eagle, sitting on the right was a beautiful site to see. There were a ton of Zebras, Giraffe, Antelope and Ostriches as well on the hour and a half drive.  We arrived at Sarova Mara Game Camp; nestled in the jungle you will find a beautiful camp with 75 tents scattered around the natural fresh water ponds.  After a nice visit and a tour of the grounds we headed back to make it for sunset at Sundowner hill, just outside Fig Tree Camp.  I was delighted to find waiting for us some cold beverages and a lovely meal of Kimchee, a Korean delicacy.

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