I often find it fascinating that people are hesitant in visiting the same destination twice.
Every single Safari and experience is different and unique, no matter how many times you've visited the particular destination.
The Masai Mara is a destination that we are privileged enough to visit every year, sometimes even 3 or 4 times a year and every single trip is different.
The recent 2 weeks that I had in the Masai Mara, has to go down as the best two weeks I have experienced in this incredible wildlife haven, and here's why:
Big Herds of Wildebeest in the Mara Triangle
As we made our approach into Serena airstrip, one of the most obvious signs were the sheer amount of Wildebeest that were present in the northern section of the Mara Triangle stretching all the way to the Olololo escarpment. As the weeks progressed, the herds started moving further south until the plains outside the Wild Eye Mara Camp were covered with hundreds of thousands of Wildebeest.
We were blessed with some incredible river crossing, most of which was very close to Camp. This not only gave our guests fantastic viewing opportunities, but also offered the opportunity to try out various creative techniques such as slow shutter speeds, shooting wide and also going in tight.
Lions all over the place
During the two weeks we were truly blessed with some incredible Lion sightings, often not too far from Camp. In fact within a 5km radius we counted up to 22 different Lions, all within a 10 minute drive from Camp. One particular Pride consisting of 11 individuals entertained us royally as the young Lion Cubs who seemed to have an endless supply of energy played around during the early morning and evening hours
There were two other memorable highlights from the two weeks. One of which was witnessing two Male Lions fighting...
One morning we came across a Male Lion, peacefully resting next to the road as they usually do. What we didn't realise was that there was a Lioness who was just coming into oestrus and another Male Lion who clearly had his eyes set on this Female. Before we knew it, these two males went into battle. The sound simply sent shivers down your spine and the power associated with that was simply mind blowing to experience.
The second memorable moment was seeing a Lioness move her Cubs (not older than a week or two). It is believed that we were the first vehicles to see these beautiful cubs as not even the park rangers had known where the cubs were. This was without a doubt an experience that one could never forget!
Memorable Cheetah and Leopard sightings
The Mara is usually a very good place to see Cheetahs, and over the past few years we have had some memorable sightings of two brother who often hang around the border area. On one particular afternoon we followed these two brothers as they were patrolling the vast open plains, clearly looking for their next available meal. The sun was just starting to set and we literally called 2 mins before we had to make our way back to camp, when a small group of Wildebeest approached the two males. Before we knew it both the Males took off and brought down a big adult Wildebeest. Being a little pushed for time, we captured a few images and unfortunately had to leave shortly after they had brought it to ground.
Leopard sightings in the Mara are always special, but never guaranteed.
As you can gather by now, our luck during the two weeks was simply incredible and we knew it was only a matter of time before a Leopard sighting popped up somewhere.
After another successful morning we decided to go on the road less travelled as we started making our way back to camp, when Jackson spotted a Male Leopard peacefully resting in the most perfect Fig Tree. After looking through binoculars, we slowly approached the tree, only our four Wild Eye vehicles present.
Totally comfortable with our presence, he occasionally opened his eyes to scan the surroundings, before eventually coming down exactly where we predicted he would.
Every trip to the Mara is special and no two weeks are ever the same, but these two weeks I will certainly remember for a very long time to come!