Masai Mara

Masai Mara Safari Jeep

Game drives are early in the morning and late in the afternoon. You may only be on safari for a few days, so make the most of it: take every opportunity to get out there, and don't let your guide bring you back! Try to get three or four hours every time if you can.

We saw two or three different types of vehicle, but by far the best is the four wheel drive jeep with between four and six passengers. When you select your safari company do pay attention to the type of vehicle: you want to have a window seat and you want to be able get into some very rough terrains.

We saw minibuses on safari, and whilst we're sure that the safari experience is good, you want it to be excellent. Imagine being in a jeep with only four passengers so you can move quickly from one side to the other, stand up, sit down, look out the back, put your head through the roof - this vehicle is perfect with good all-round views, and an open roof.

Mara Simba Lodge

Mara Simba Lodge

Now, there are really two types of accommodation available on safari: solid built timber lodges that tend to be on the outskirts of the parks, or canvas lodges - much more than tents - that are often further inside and come with the promise of wildlife literally outside your window. It is of course your choice but we found the solid Mara Simba to have a good standard of facilities for the in-between-safari times. A good bathroom, proper beds, nice restaurant and bar. We were still in the thick of it, with a balcony view for the very pleasant evenings.

Camera

We saw all sorts - from monster lenses as long as your arm, to tiny compact digital. Try to get one with a good zoom (10 x optical as a minimum) but most importantly make sure you have lots of batteries and storage. You'll be able to charge up at the lodge where you will find British style sockets and voltage of 220-240AC.

Top tip: if you are not an expert photographer, work out in advance how to deal with some very common situations: poor light in the early morning, poor light at sundown, close-ups and zooming. We were fortunate to catch the hyena in the very early morning before sun-up, but we had to select some special settings to do that and you won't have time to figure it out when you're there.

Mara Simba Cheetah

Safari!

It doesn't get any more exciting than this. Wake at 4am, quick shower and down to meet up with your driver and fellow guests. You won't see any breakfast at this time of day - that comes later - but you will need to get some coffee and perhaps a biscuit. Important: take a bathroom break. You will be out for four hours, in a jeep, in the wilds of Kenya surrounded by wild animals: you absolutely won't be able to pop behind a bush!.

You drive out before sun-up. It's dark and this is your chance to look out for the early risers like the hyena.The Masai Mara game reserve is 1,500 sq kms (580 sq miles) and one of the most celebrated in Africa. It is home to the lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, buffalo and rhino amongst many others. You will see zebra and giraffe and impala, and hundreds of birds. Take a good guide book with lots of pictures if you can so you will be able to recognize and read about these magnificent animals.

At any one time there will be a dozen or so tourist vehicles in the reserve. Although they are from different safari companies, all of the guides have radios and talk to each other constantly so that they can tell each other where the best sightings are.

So, here's how it works. Drive out and you will see giraffe, buffalo, zebra, impala and many others very easily. They are just everywhere - try not to take it for granted too soon! However, lions, cheetah, rhino and to a lesser extent elephants are hard to find. You will quickly fall into a routine of driving around just trying to spot them. Some guides are simply brilliant at this and will astonish you when they see them with apparently no clues. Then, once spotted, get your vehicle as close as you can as soon as you can because the guides will all be on the radio to each other and within minutes there will be a dozen vehicles crowding in. This becomes a little bit of a fun competition: see who can get there first.


White Rhino on Masai Mara Bull Elephant Masai Mara Lion Pride Of Lions View From Mara Simba Lodge Masai Mara Lion in Tree Masai Mara Night Masai Mara Impala Masai Mara Hyena

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