© Penny Robartes - Mara 2013

Different Times. Different Perspectives.

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Penny Leave a Comment

Hearing the words ‘Kenya’ and ‘Masai Mara’ gets my heart pumping with excitement and anticipation. No matter what time of the year, what the photographic goals and objectives are of the particular safari that is taking me back there, I cannot wait until the time comes when my feet rest on the Kenyan soil.

My first experience of the Wild Eye Great Migration Photo Safari product was not as a photographic guide and host. In order to get to know the Wild Eye team further and our offering, Jono and I joined the last few days of the 2013 Extended Great Migration Photo Safari that Gerry was hosting.

From the moment I saw the Mara from the seat of the charter plane as we made our way to the airstrip, I felt a change in my heart and I knew that the wanderer, the traveller, the passionate, the wildlife and nature lover elements that make up who I am, had found one of many places in the world that it was drawn to on a very deep level.

© Penny Robartes - Mara 2013

Heading to the camp to meet the team, I could not believe that I was actually witnessing scenes like this.

It was just too beautiful.

I think when I finally arrived in camp, I was speechless and wide-eyed. With my senses so full with the sights, sounds, and smells of this destination, surely I couldn’t possibly be affected even further as I was already so overwhelmed?

Over there, standing by the tree was the team. Welcomed by such warmth, embraced like a long-lost family member, guests sitting around the fire overlooking the magnificent Mara River, their laughter mingling with the grunts of the hippos and the birds settling down for the evening… I felt as if I had taken flight.

© Penny Robartes - Mara 2013

In a blink of an eye it was now February 2014 and I was back in Kenya co-hosting the Big Cats and Tuskers Photo Safari with Gerry. Having been to the Mara a few months prior, it was absolutely amazing to be back there and to share the experience and my knowledge of this inspiring destination with our guests!

Seeing the familiar lay of the land, albeit there was a deciding lack of tens of thousands of wildebeest and zebra, I couldn’t wait to see how the Mara and the other Kenyan destinations would dazzle our guests as we looked forward to spending the next 8 days capturing its many moments.

© Penny Robartes - Mara 2014

© Penny Robartes - Mara 2014

Starting in the Mara and making our way to Amboseli via Lake Nakuru and Lake Navaisha, my love for Kenya had planted it’s roots deep into my heart

August 2014. Great Migration Photo Safari with Andrew. Back to the Mara and back to the rolling plains now covered with varying ages of wildebeest and zebra as they make their annual migration from the Masai Mara towards Tanzania.

This is not just a simple process of crossing the Mara River once off per migratory route and high-5’s all around when it has been accomplished. Not at all. Depending on the rains and which ‘side’ of the River it falls, the wildebeest and zebra will sure to follow.

And they will cross the river. And then back again. No wait… now they are crossing again…hold on, are they going to? There’s build-up happening! Let’s just stay put and see what happens.

© Penny Robartes - Mara 2014

© Penny Robartes - Mara 2014

Big Cats and Tuskers 2015 herald the beginning of a new year for me in the Mara. A new perspective. A new experience and journey.

Back to the team that have an enormous impact on creating an unforgettable experience for each and every guest.

Mara 10

© Penny Robartes - Mara 2014

When people say the Mara is a magical experience and an unforgettable place, there is a reason behind those words. I have had the privilege of being able to spend a good couple of weeks there over the last two years, and my initial feeling that I felt when I first landed in the Mara hasn’t changed. Not one bit.

How could it? The stories and romanticism that the rolling plains, thickets of forest, the curves of the River tell and hold…they continuously work on and develop the foundation that was laid on that evening a few years back.

This place… it is the magical Mara.


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About the Author

Gerry van der Walt

I am a private and specialist photographic safari guide, public speaker, co founder of Wild Eye and wildlife photographer. Visit my website at www.gerryvanderwalt.com or follow my journey on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter a look forward to changing the way you see the world.  I also host a Wildlife Photography Podcast and I Vlog!

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