"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." (Mark Twain : The Innocents Abroad, 1869)

Monday, 12 July 2010

Meeting the Massai Mara Residents

After yesterday's adventures, we didn't make a particularly early start and then we had to go through the formalities at the gate - with both the guy from KAPS - in a very natty blue & yellow uniform - and the Conservancy's own Rangers.  After some confusion about what we had paid and what we still needed to pay we trundled through the gates into the Mara Triangle : at last !

Almost immediately we saw a kill !  No, not a big cat slinking through the tall grass leaping to take a killer grip on a throat.  It was much less dramatic - a Maribu Stork taking a large cat fish from a small pool in a dried river bed right at the side of the road.  Maribu Storks look like old traditional undertakers wearing a black morning coat & white shirt, hunched shoulders who walks with a slight stoop on spindly legs.  It made numerous efforts to swallow the fish whole but it was too big.  So it would drop it on the ground and peck bits off and try again.  All was going well for it until another two of his colleagues arrived and made it clear that they wanted to share his prize.  With this encouragement, he soon managed to force the fish down and claim it all for himself.

On the way through the NR, we stopped off at the massive Serena Lodge so that I could meet and thank William Deed from the Conservancy who had speedly answered, via the Conservancy's website, my queries about the campsite and paying fees etc.  After our adventures the previous day, the others also took the opportunity to ask which was the best way back to Nairobi after they had left me behind.  The answer was basically, back the way you came : not necessarily the answer they really wanted.

After tea and cakes in the relative luxury of Serena's terrace, we headed South to find our home for the next five days.  I knew where it was located - roughly : between the 'main' road and the Mara River about 19 Ks South of Serena.  We drove down to that general area and although there were several tracks in the area, there was no sign as to which was the right one. 

We carried on without any luck down to the South Mara Bridge where the Rangers based there agreed to show us the way.  We trundled North again following their little Jeep until they stopped and pointed to a small indestinct track into the bush.  They continued on their way and we bumped off down the track, across the open bush and into the trees.  Snaking through the trees, the track took us to a shaded open area on the banks of the river.

We set up the tents so that they created to sides of a rectangle, with the other two sides being made by the river and the Landy - the hope was that this laager would protect us from what ever we needed to be protected from.  At no time during our stay did we feel threatened whilst in the camp but see the blog entry for 31st July for a different perspective.

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