East Africa Day 9 – Masai Mara

Our day started with an early morning game drive before breakfast. Early on we came across a couple of lionesses resting in the tall grass. We stopped and photographed them for a few minutes before starting to drive off. Moments later, we’d only travelled 200 metres at best, we saw some antelopes bolting across the savannah in the direction of the lionesses. We knew they were done for, but our driver didn’t seem to realise what was happening. We urged him to reverse back, but in the blink of an eye one of the antelopes was gone, followed by its feet up sticking up in the air.

Lions eating an antelope

By the time we got back there the lionesses were already feasting on their kill with some ferocity. This was short lived though as three hyenas approached and challenged them for the meal. The hyenas dug straight in, fighting for the meat and soon after the hyenas had seen the lionesses off – with them slowly skulking back into the tall grasses. This left the hyenas to happily feast on their prize, and with each passing minute more hyenas arrived, followed by silver-backed Jackals and a lone vulture.

Challenged for the kill

At this point the noise from the hyenas was incredible – I’ve never heard anything like it. One of the jackals managed to get hold of some of the organs and dragged them off up the road and buried them for later whilst the others tried to sneak away with more meat. Some of gorged hyenas, bellies swollen from too much food, wandered off having satisfied their hunger.

Jackal

As the time went on the hyenas started to fight between themselves for the remaining meat and bones. Before we knew it there was nothing left, not bone or skin – they had eaten it all.

Hyenas feeding

The rest of the game drive was quiet and ended with a bush breakfast overlooking a hippo pool. As we arrived they gave us champagne, and the rest of the breakfast was buffet style. It’s quite surreal to sit having our breakfast in the middle of the Masai Mara surrounded by nothing but savannah, and watching hippopotami bathing in the Mara river.

Vulture

With the late breakfast and the heat I barely bothered with lunch, and spent the next few hours doing very little. Eventually 15:30 came and it was time for a pre-game drive drink. The drive itself was very unsuccessful as we didn’t really see anything.

It was so quiet that when we got to a high point of the Mara we were actually allowed to get out the vehicle for once and wander around. From this viewpoint we could see the savannah that made up the Masai Mara in Kenya, and the Serengeti in Tanzania. We saw some smoke billowing from the direction of the Serengeti and we were told it was the people of Tanzania trying to stop the wildebeest migrating back into Kenya. I suspect this wasn’t true though.

Me in the Masai Mara

When we got back the electricity wasn’t yet working which meant sitting in the dark for a few minutes until they turned the generators on. For the evening meal the whole group sat around a fire followed by having food together for one last time.

Our trip through Kenya was at an end and we’d soon be moving on to Tanzania.

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