This blog is brought to you by our current Leaders of the Week, Amaya and Grace. We are currently packing up our safari trucks, and heading to the Napenda solar project! This blog describes our time in Masai Mara, which has served as the perfect “half-way point” through our semester.
The melting sun was casting a pink and purple glow to contrast the emerald hills. Was it a simulation? No! It was just the beautiful Masai Mara. We had only been rolling through the reserve a short while to get to our campsite and it already made a lasting impression. Lions, zebras, cheetahs and elephants were among the animals we saw on our drive in and it was only day one!!!
Out two overland trucks took us sliding through mud-puddles in the rain for another magical adventure. With the roofs popped open we poked our heads out to watch a rare leopard stride through the bush. She was moving steady in and out of cover, and with her 5-10 vans of tourists. For many of us it was hard to hear that this beautiful creature would be stalked by tourists for the rest of the day until sundown, but leopards are one of the ‘big five’ so it wasn’t much of a surprise either. We were still grateful, however, as our guides informed us that we were very lucky because leopards are hard to come by. Moving on, some giraffes munching on fresh vegetation from the rainy season were observed by us as well. So majestic! Lunch was then had under a tree and was followed by sightings of more zebras, elephants, ostriches and even more zebras.
The sun was rising… hot air balloons were floating in the distance… a heard of wildabeasts stood grazing… and most importantly… a family of cheetahs had their eyes locked on their prey. It wasn’t time to book it just yet though; they had a strategy. The wildabeeasts found themselves surrounded by the spotted felines. Tensions were high. It was like we were watching a movie, only better! Eventually the cheetahs made their move and the entire herd took off running with them. First left, then right, and then… Omaha! Just behind them a baby gazelle had been separated from its’ mother. It wasn’t as filling as a wildebeest but it sure was a great snack. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing through our binoculars; a cheetah family chowing down on their fresh kill. “You are lucky” our guide said again, “that too is rare to see.”
There was no better way to end our safari than a sunset ride. We hopped in our trucks for the last time and set out to see more animal friends. It was the perfect way to close off our time here as the sky turned a beautiful pink just like when we had arrived. Being that we saw 4 out of the big five, and our safari was filled with multiple exclamations “BAM (beauty appreciation moments)”, most of us would describe our time here at Masai Mara a success and are even sad to leave. It was truly an experience we will never forget.