The Masai Mara

Keekorok Travel Blog

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Nervous impalas
 

The Masai Mara Game Reserve had no fences. Its boundary was marked by a hand-painted sign-board and a long pole balanced horizontally across the dirt track. While Ed went to pay the park fees, three Masai girls approached us bearing tribal scars across their forehead, cheeks, and nose. One appeared old and wrinkled but as she neared we saw that she was young - maybe eight or ten years old - and her markings fresh. It looked like strips of black skin had been peeled away with a Spam can opener to expose pink flesh, recently dried. She proudly stood before us, oblivious to the flies buzzing around her face.

 

The region we camped for the first four nights was near the Tanzania border along the Sand River.

Though an adequate supply of water flowed the streambed, its main banks were rather wide apart, filling only in the rainy season.

Stirring hyena
Approaching the area, we sighted a pair of Thompson Gazelles chasing each other at top speed as though being chased by a predator until one or the other sharply broke away to mock freedom or defeat. Two males bucked horns - probably to impress the nearby females. A gathering of impalas stared nervously  as two black-backed jackals wandered past. We paused long enough to see if they would attack one of the calves but the mangy scavengers meandered on, searching for an easier meal - the remains of a larger predator's kill. Two spotted hyenas yawned as the orange glow of the setting sun stirred them to begin their nightly prowl. An assortment of egrets, marabou storks, and crested cranes mulled around a blue pond bordered by deep grass and green brush. It was twilight when we pitched our tents, built a fire, and prepared supper. We were all pretty ecstatic by what we had already seen and it was only our first night out of Nairobi.
Camping in Kenya

 

Those first nights at Sand River induced an air of excitement since we realized that there were no fences. The extent of latent intruders remained as vast and vicious as the variety of predators and scavengers prowling the open savannah. Pitch black nights were lit only by a brilliant band of stars arcing across the sky and the flickering coals of a depleted campfire. We were sometimes startled awake by screams, roars, the crunching of leaves, or splashing of water. Morning light often revealed tracks, asserting that hyena, cape buffalo, lion, and elephant had all browsed our vulnerable camp.

 

 

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Nervous impalas
Nervous impalas
Stirring hyena
Stirring hyena
Camping in Kenya
Camping in Kenya
Elephants passing camp
Elephants passing camp
A jackal
A jackal
Male Thompsons gazelle
Male Thompson's gazelle
Keekorok
photo by: wipr