When I wrote this post I was sitting on the banks of the Mara River, on a site where a little more than 3 hours earlier there was nothing but natural vegetation. Being behind the scenes of what go’s into setting up and moving the Wild Eye Mara camp is an incredible experience and I am privileged to work with our team of staff in making sure that our guests have an incredible experience during their stay at the Wild Eye Mara camp.
The day before our 12 guests departed camp for their flight out of the Masai Mara, work had already begun on tearing down:
- 7 guest tents (complete with mahogany beds, mattresses, clothing shelves, gazebo and bedside table)
- the dining tent (a 10m x 5 m behemoth of a tent)
- the 5 shower and toilet stations as well as the bar tent.
By the time the sun had set the truck was packed and the ENTIRE guest section of the camp was ready to be moved to the next site. After breakfast the team moved a mere 4km’s from Olaro to Kiboko and once again, the team of Maasai staff, guides and camp staff got stuck in to setting up the camp. Here is a short time-lapse of the entire process…
The location of these campsites is possibly the most important and differentiating factor in the Wild Eye Migration safaris as they are not only located on the banks of the Mara River, but very close to some of the most regularly used crossing points for the wildebeest and zebra. Being able to sit and wait for a potential crossing is made that much easier when you know you are only 10-15 minute drive from camp – a major bonus for photographers as well as we get to make the most of the best late afternoon light!
The other major feature of the Wild Eye Mara camp is that it allows an exclusive group of 12 guests to really experience the Masai Mara. By this I mean sitting around the fire at night hearing nothing but the soothing sound of the Mara river as it flows towards Lake Victoria, hippo’s grunting as they head out on their evening foraging sessions, lions roaring as they establish territorial boundaries and locate their prides of females, and hyenas whooping as they co-ordinate their search for carcasses and prey at night.
Some of our Austrian guests had the experience of a lifetime as a small herd of elephants fed in the marshy area behind on of our campsites. An experience they will never forget…
The other aspect of the camp which I love so much is that we take great pride in working with what nature provides us and ensure that we leave NOTHING behind when we pack up and move on. This season we had a prime example where one of our favourite feature trees at Kiboko campsite was toppled during a massive storm. No problem, we incorporated the tree into the camp layout and it made an amazing feature and entrance into the main dining tent – especially when it was illuminated at night!
This season alone we have had many guests who have commented on how they were prepared to “rough it” for the Masai Mara experience but were surprised at the comfort and luxury of the Wild Eye Mara camp. One guest even asked about the mattresses we use in the handmade mahogany beds, saying that they are better than the one she has back home! Personally, I believe that the mattresses we use are no better than the one that she has back home, but that the setting that we are immersed in is what makes all the difference…
Without getting too emotional, my first two weeks in the Masai Mara were unbelievable. Not only have I experienced some phenomenal sightings but I have become a lot closer with our Wild Eye Kenyan family. I am incredibly proud of what Jono, Gerry, Isaac, myself, and the entire Wild Eye Team have put together and cannot wait to share this experience with more guests in 2014!
Isn’t it time you joined us in the Masai Mara and changed the way you see the world?