I have just returned from my very first trip to the Mara and what a trip it was. Alistair and I headed up to the Mara to host a Photo Academy for the men and woman of the Mara Conservancy.
Alistair and I will be posting a blog later on in the week which will serve as a highlights package of our time in Kenya and what we got up to while we were there.
For the purpose of this blog, I am going to talk about my first impressions of the Mara and our Wild Eye Mara camp.
As I mentioned in the blog before heading up to the Mara (A few thoughts before my first ever trip to the Masai Mara), I had an idea of what it would be like and feel like to be in the Mara, but looking back now… I had no idea just how special it would be.
I want to start out by asking YOU a question – What makes a safari so special? What is it that keeps you going back for more? and what stands out for you went you think of safari? Ok so that was more than one question, but being my first time to the Masai Mara, I was able to look at this trip through a completely new and fresh set of eyes.
For the last 6 months, I have heard so much about the Mara, what its like, what to expect and what it looks like, but nothing can truly describe the Mara and just how incredible it really is. Even though I have only been once, it already holds a very special place in my heart. It is like nothing I have ever experienced before. The mass of wildebeest have not even arrived yet and I’m sure the spectacle of all the wildebeest and the crossings is something that is just simply mind blowing, but the Mara is a Reserve that offers so much in terms of diversity.
On arrival into the Mara, Alistair and myself were like two little kids, just so happy to have the opportunity to be in the Mara and to experience what this place had to offer. For both Alistair and myself, it was our very first time to Kenya and the Masai Mara and a long time dream for us both.
It was such a surreal feeling, standing at the airstrip in the middle of the Mara and having a 360 degree view of the vast expanse of land. I felt like I kept having to slap myself, just to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming and that I was actually experiencing a long time dream of mine.
Driving to the camp, we came across a variety of different animals, topi’s, impala, gazelle, giraffe, elephants, buffalo and lions, this was all during our 30 minute drive to camp! It was at this point that I really realized how special this place is. With the wildebeest not arriving yet, the grass was relatively long, but that didn’t stop the animals from showing off.
I was amazed at how many photographic opportunities there were, no matter where you look and what you are looking at, there is always a photograph to take.
Arriving at the new Wild Eye Camp, one is filled with a sense of ”coming home”. Yes, we had never been before, but the staff, from the very beginning are extremely friendly and welcoming. They really make you feel like you have known them for a long time and in all honesty, feels like you are meeting up with old friends.
We were greeted by every single one of our staff and every single one of them had a smile from ear to ear. To me, staff will either make or break your trip and this incredible group of individuals will DEFINITELY make your trip.
We were taken to our tents and shown around the camp. I must say, it is an incredible feeling to know that this camp… Is OUR camp. I had seen pictures of our previous camps, but nothing can truly prepare you for being there in the flesh. Yes, the rooms are tents, but they have everything you need, a place to hang up clothes, masai blankets, cupboards, lights, beds, toilets… So pretty much everything you need!
The tents are very nicely spaced out and very private, each tent has a view over the Mara River. The camp is layed out almost in a half circle formation (shapes with the banks of the river) and really feels like you are in the middle of nowhere.
We had quite a busy schedule during our time in the Mara, running the photo academy, we had drive every morning and every afternoon with lectures and practicals around camp during the middle of the day. Between Alistair and myself we managed to gather a large amount of content and over the coming weeks we will be sharing different parts of the trip from the camp, the people, the academy and of course the reserve.
With the above said, here are just a few of the highlights from our trip:
There is still plenty more to come, we are just getting started…
I am going to be heading back up to the Mara on the 20th July 2018, which is just around the corner. I cannot wait to get back to this beautiful part of Africa. The wildebeest may have arrived by then, but only time will tell…
Until next time,
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