he little plane taking us to this magnificent part of Kenya goes up into the sky and down again four times en route. Just like a taxi. It bumps along the airstrip preparing for take-off, weaves into the sky for a short while and then dips for another bumpy landing. Finally, we disembark into the stillness of the Mara plains, the heat rising from the ground, the breeze almost non-existent. The Masai Mara is like a full treasure chest spilling out all sorts of wild animals, sometimes all grazing together (zebra, giraffe, different buck) or sleeping peacefully in the sun (two lions with huge bellies full of wildebeest, a leopard up in a tree with his catch, his breath rising and falling and shaking the leaves). Karen Blixen Camp emerges, a surprise, an oasis we weren’t expecting. Our home for the next two nights is an eco-friendly luxury camp with a magnificent waterhole where a variety of animals come to drink. Our spacious tented accommodation (verandah with chairs, bedroom with huge double bed, a dressing room with loo and an outside shower-cum-dressing room) is comfortable and cosy. We find hot water bottles tucked into our beds at night and after a fourcourse meal (starters, soup, mains and dessert), we sleep like babies. There’s a river running in front of the tents and on the other side is the abundance of wildlife we’ve been watching at the waterhole. My neighbours for the first night are crocodiles, a noisy hippo disturbs my afternoon shower and the camp’s enormous but friendly eland is always on call. He belongs to Benjamin, the security guard, who calls him with a clucking sound to accompany him on his watch.
MASAI WARRIORS Being welcomed into the Masai village is a noisy, colourful, boisterous affair. Tall men in vibrant Masai blankets dance around us, singing, and then show their prowess by jumping higher than a giraffe. Masai men, they tell us, have many wives. The first is chosen by his family, the second by the first wife, the third by the first and second wife, and so on. It’s a man’s world in the Mara. The men guard the property and their wives do the work.
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The September – November 2017 Issue