The Masai Mara Reserve


It is almost impossible to take anything more than a partial vision of its enormous splendor. 1672 km2 are the extension in the Masai land of an immense Serengeti national park that collects this exceptional fauna at another time of the year. Lions, rhinos, hippos, cheetahs, giraffes, hyenas and, of course, the true inhabitants of the park, millions of wildebeest. He Masai Mara It is a natural spectacle without limits, and why not? What better way to see it than from the air ...

Today was one of those special days, of those days that you keep in your little bottle of great memories And we can never forget. In the retina follows this spectacular habitat of life and fuana, so extremely large, that despite its fame, it allows you to enjoy only unforgettable moments (thanks to Leshan and Wiliam, our new Masai friend of the Cheetath Mara Camp, that Jorge and Mariola they wanted to join us).

We don't get up too early. Getting up early, although many people do so, is an absurd thing, since the big cats hunt at night, starting at 19'00, when they have the advantage of their great night vision. Day and night are two very different habitats. The tension of the night is something that we will explain in another story. Now we have breakfast on the banks of the Mara, alone, with the exclusivity of a place as authentic as magical.

If we went into David Livigston Park yesterday, on the outskirts of the Mara reserve, today we will do it in the heart of the Masai Mara. Masai Mara is divided into several zones and several doors, and today we will do it in the main one at this time of year, where life has come. The roads are tortuous and take about 40 minutes to arrive.

The Masai Mara Reserve was inaugurated in 1961, and its territory is savanna dotted with the distinctive acacias. Still famous for her lion population and for being home to threatened species such as the black rhino, hippo, he Cheetah, ... Another carnivore that can be found in large numbers is the spotted hyena. However, it is the natural continuation of the Serengeti plains in Tanzania, but the animals they live outside the borders drawn on paper, that is why between July and August is the best time to see the biggest wildlife show in the world in this area.

!! It is amazing !! Hundreds, thousands or even maybe even more than 1 million Wildebeest They fill the green meadows of the park. It is the largest migration of animals in the world, almost 2 million wildebeest, accompanied by a few hundred thousand zebras and some other antilopes to a lesser extent.

The Wildebeest are a theoretical animal. It has a skull head that scares even though they are absolutely medical to everything around them. They have a tired, almost unwilling walk, and form huge queues in their great migrations from the Serengenti (Masai Mara is still an extension of it in Kenya).

At this time of the morning they cram up to the roads and you have to move them apart to be able to drive. His name does not know where it comes from, but it could be perfectly from the scratching sound they emit ... "ñuuu" "ñuuuu" "ñuuuu". !! Shut up yaaaa !! Hahaha. Or also of that face of permanent anger that seems to carry ... hence the expression "being wildebeest"

Wildebeest, zebras and other antilopes, are the engine of life in Masai. Around her, even following them in migration, all kinds of animals coexist with the cruelest intentions, from predators to scavengers, and others with less (birds that eat the remains of grass that ruminate).

On one side we leave a group of vultures, with very bad fleas, sticking a good feast. They are selfish animals, who fight to get a piece of meat. The hyenas, which we can also observe, are perhaps more organized. They have a somewhat absurd walk, and a more harmless face than they really are. But the true kings, there is no doubt, they are the Lions. The park is full. We have just seen in the distance one who wanted "breakfast wildebeest"

Others, a herd of elephants as a family, watch the "wildebeest", in this case, a young, with some curiosity or even "repelús" because they are accompanied by another curious traveling companion, some "bloodsucking" flies that are sticking to the rest of animals and even ourselves ... also called during the day of today !! BUCKET FLY !!

The "Pumbas" (Warthogs) They have a much funnier face ... although we are going to fool you, with a little apple in your mouth and in a good wood oven, they would have a pint

What do you see in the distance Paula? Is it what we believe? !!!!!! Siiiiiiiiiiiiiii !! The last big cat we still had to meet ... the elegant cheetah.

Hunting a cheetah's snapshot is often a difficult task. It's funny, it's the only feline that doesn't roar, emits a bird-like sound. In addition, he is accustomed to other scavengers stealing the pieces he hunts (mainly gazelles since he is the fastest animal in the world reaching between 95 and 115 km / h and has an excellent view), both hyenas, as lions, as leopards and others . It is difficult to see them, because it flees from tourists (suffers stress, if yes) and hunts in the hottest time of day (when the rest of predators sleep). Here we have a female accompanied by her little offspring of no more than 4 months.

In both Samburu and Masai Mara there is a "ghost". That is why the illusion of seeing him the other day becomes double when William and Leshan, although they try, tell us their story again. Seeing a leopard is almost impossible. It is one of the most complicated animals of the "Big Fives" next to the Rhinoceros that we already saw in Lake Nakuru. Will we be able to see any Black Rhinoceros on the whole trip (Nakuru's was white)? What we can observe are the remains left by the leopards in their small seasonal shelters, the branches of the trees where they rest

!!! Altooooooooo !! William and Leshan have observed a wildebeest group in an attitude of trying to cross the river. The crossing of the wildebeest is one of the most spectacular phenomena that occurs in this reserve and also complicated to attend. We are far from the main crossings, covered by tourist cars that induce wildebeest to look for alternative steps

Although they see an intention, Joseba, Margari, Paula and Isaac the only thing we observe is a group of wildebeest stops. Where is the intention? Further. there are no cars many meters away, but someone else would have detected it. We wait patiently. The sun starts to hit hard. !! Suddenly happens !! A brave wildebeest has dared. Every pack usually has a wildebeest that deals with the pack, fights with the "crazy wildebeest" and puts order and meaning to everything. It is called kumbe. Here we go

What initially is a small row becomes in almost a stampede. What reason were Leshan and William. We feel fortunate and privileged, because while many cars wait patiently at traditional crossings, we manage to see an impromptu crossing that seems designed for us.

Wildebeest crowds in the central part of the river, which here is not too deep and there are no crocodiles waiting for them, but they almost step on each other

Meanwhile, others have chosen the path wrong and are not able to overcome the steep slope falling on the others. But wildebeest have a great jump and finally, although in a disorderly way they manage to climb the obstacle

They are several minutes where hundreds of wildebeest leave us a priceless show.

We continue the path, we will enter another somewhat drier area of ​​the park. The North zone is green, although not as much as other times in these dates and the wildebeest are somewhat disoriented. The area we are going to is semi-dry or even starting to dry out.

!! PINCHAZOOOOOO !! The first of the adventure. It was already taking with these roads. We carry 2 spare wheels, no problem. 10 minutes with Leshan, William and Mugane in front, and changed

Hunger begins to tighten. We have brought a picnic that Jorge and Mariola have kindly prepared for us, they even left us some chairs and a table. Leshan and William look for a good place next to a meadow where several antelopes rest peacefully. There are no bushes where possible predators could hide. The shadow of a lonely tree seems a safe place. !!! TO COMEEEER !!

There relaxed we think how hard it can be the life of a blacksmith. If we have a certain tension, which our masses William and Leshan do not seem to share, nor our kinkuyu Mugane, how will these animals feel?

We follow our route, and check one of the consequences. The night is really hard, and a lioness is still hanging on a feast that started last night. It seems that the wildebeest that is being eaten was a simple sorbet for them

Not satisfied with such a delicacy, the lioness seems to detect something. They are zebras that have dangerously approached their area of ​​shelter from the sun. With The cruelest look we've seen in all these days is moving slowly and does not change his look. It is a very hard scene

Finally it seems that zebras notice their presence and run up the meadow. The heat is strong and the lioness prefers to keep her strength for the night and accompany her young, who has started her own deserving while her mother, satisfied, begins her particular hygiene.

We keep moving forward. The baboons or "thief monkeys" are not missing here in packs of many members. They seem to fear nothing ...

Another antelope, the topis that we saw days ago, graze calmly as if history were not with them. It looks like mountain goats, as some of them climb on the small hills to see the horizon and take advantage of the heat that the sun brings at this time ...

Another sign of leopard a little later. A dead sloth gazelle while a jackal, another predator, Take advantage of the triumph. As they tell us, it seems that it is the attitude of a leopard with young that kills for pleasure but has had to breastfeed the young again. They say it with such assurance that it sounds convincing. What animal would leave his trophy in the savannah?

But the Masai Mara park is full of many more species of animals. From that curious giraffe masai who observes us as if we were his zoo, even a kind of graffiti different to the sights in Samburu, the helmet painted

And what happens in the traditional wildebeest crosses of the park? Times have changed, and we are facing a year of very hard drought, which has nothing to do with what is lived in the North and in the African Horn, where they have been more than 3 years. The wildebeest are confusing and the man and the agglomeration of cars don't help either. What is there Paula? !! Your friends we hippopotamus, that you have not missed the appointment

Marabus, scavengers par excellence, continue to take advantage of the last fabric of the last crosses of a week ago, while others watch them from afar with that face of "scythe men" that appear in those areas where death is breathed. Also they Nile crocodiles They seem calm, today they don't have to go down to "dinner"

In the meadow there are also remains of what seems to be a hard crossing, with which we will abandon a long day

It is said that Africa keeps for itself the best sunsets in the world. Days like today show us. That reddish sun that has left us an incredible day, is hidden by the horizon to leave "the other life". The blacksmiths begin their tense moment. Since "Lorenzo" hides, the night wraps a gloomy picture, where these animals are especially nervous. Will it be their turn? Lions, hyenas, jackals, leopards are unstoppable. Their night vision, their group hunting systems (lions, hyenas) or their power alone (leopards) will leave them with a new prey.

While we return to the Cheetath Mara Camp, there Jorge and Mariola are waiting for us to have dinner with a peaceful fire and tell us stories and adventures of "his africa". They are lovely people, the best guests we could have.

The night also takes us to bed, possibly with less tension than others out there, but surrounded by the sound of that hyena that has sneaked into the camp, and that Palomo and Margarita, the dogs, will keep at bay, or that hippopotamus that grazes through the northern part of the farm and those others that wake up at 5 in the morning to those who now have to eat. Elephants also uproot trees across the river.

Family, friends, readers, we are great and today has been one of those days that we can never count or put enough photos and be able to convey what is really felt. More tomorrow

Paula and Isaac, from Masai Mara (Kenya)