After our morning with Mama Margaret, we packed up our bags and headed out of Nairobi on a long journey to the Masai Mara. The drive would take about six hours in total, and we had two planned stops along the way to shop for souvenirs and enjoy the scenery.
The first stop we made was about two hours in to our drive. We pulled over at a lookout spot above the Rift Valley and got out of our vans to check out the hut with homemade Kenyan goods. The men and women who made the products were happy to have us there and excitedly led us around their store hoping for us to make purchases. Lucky for us, our guide David warned us to barter with them and not pay too much for what we were getting. Almost an hour later, we left with plenty of native Kenyan goods to take home… Including a drum for Sally, hand-carved wood statue for Catt, a variety of colored bracelets, magnets, necklaces, and many other beautifully crafted pieces.
Next up, we drove down through the Rift Valley for another two hours and stopped for lunch at another shop area. This time, knowing more what to expect for bartering and shopping, we made some smarter choices and left with fewer purchases than the first time. After another two hours, one rain storm, and a bumpy road, we finally pulled up to the gates of the Mara where our guide David jumped out to check us in. Almost immediately the van we were in was swarmed by Masai women who were desperately trying to get us to buy their goods so they could support their families and children. We were all a little taken aback by the persistence of these women and how forward they were being. Ten minutes later, David jumped back in to the van and exclaimed “I told you they would mob the van if you engaged with them!” Of course he was right, but we had to find out on our own!
Later that night we were scheduled for an evening game chase of all the animals, but with the rain we decided to call it a night and rest up for the next morning. Dinner and a traditional dance from the Masai warriors closed our our night, and we were headed to bed to be refreshed for our morning safari ride.
6:30am came quick the next morning and we were up, eating, and headed back on to the van for a morning of finding the Masai Mara’s most famed animals. First up was a cheetah: David had been driving us around on a mission to see the gorgeous feline and when we caught sight of it about eight other vans pulled in too, studying it’s every move as it looked out on some gazelle deciding whether to pounce after them or not. After the cheetah, we got an amazing view of a giraffe, warthogs, wildebeest, zebra, and were in pursuit of hippos and elephants. We pulled up to a river a ways away from where we initially started our journey and looked over the bank to see about fifteen hippos. On top of that, there was a baby hippo feeding from its mom, and more zebras waiting to cross the river.
At this point we started to head back to the reserve where we were staying, and still hadn’t seen any elephants. Tired from the long day, we pulled around the corner and suddenly saw five elephants giving themselves a mud bath. No one was expecting to see them and it made for the perfect way to end our first day on the reserve. Tomorrow we would be heading to omalaika to meet some teenage girls and give out the donations we had brought for them.
As the Kenyans say, “asante sana” for following us on this journey and letting us recap our days for you! Many more details to come. Tweet us at @womenlikeusfou if you have any questions you’d like answered! You might just see them here!