Now I have been lucky enough to work in, visit and photograph some truly amazing African destinations but I still get childishly excited each time I head up to Kenya. There is something special, almost timeless, about the landscapes and safari experience in Kenya.
Here are five of the reasons I am looking forward to getting back to the Mara Triangle later this year.
1. Mara River Crossings
Yes, the great wildebeest migration is without a doubt one of the big attractions when you had up to the Masai Mara between August and October.
The visual intensity is incredible and the river crossings in the Mara make for spectacular wildlife photography. If you consider the size of the Masai Mara, when compared to the size of the Serengeti, the concentration of wildebeest is remarkable and this can be seen in the amount and energy of the river crossings. It is in a word – spectacular!
That being said there is a whole lot more to the Masai Mara than wildbeest thundering through a river.
The entire Mara ecosystem plays it’s part is creating an amazing African experience.
2. Cheetah on the Tanzanian Border
Apart from the massive herds of wildbeest and zebra few other animals define the open plains of East Africa like cheetah.
Over the last four years we have been very lucky with our Cheetah sightings in the Mara Triangle where we base ourselves during our Great Migration photo safaris. The open plains on the Tanzanian border is stunning and the grasslands and sparsely scattered trees make for incredible photo opportunities.
On every single photo safari I have hosted to the Mara Triangle we have witnessed a successful cheetah hunt! Almost all of them happened close to the border and there were never more than 3 vehicles in any of these sightings.
The Mara Triangle is great if you are looking for a more exclusive Mara experience and I am looking forward to see if I can keep my cheetah kill track record in place later this year.
3. The Tree Climbing Girls from the Oloololo Pride
The Oloololo pride is active around the northern areas of the Mara Triangle which is also where we do a bush breakfast during each safari and during our 2013 Big Cats & Tuskers Photo Safari we had an incredible sightings of one of these lionesses up a tree.
The large cat in the tree made for amazing images and many of the people said that they will probably not see anything like that again.
Well, apparently we might…
The Mara Triangle Facebook page is very regularly updated with news and images from the field and in the last few weeks I have seen a number of images being posted of these tree climbing girls!
Exciting stuff and yes, I am very much looking forward to heading north when we get to the Triangle in September to see if we can find them again.
4. Real People: Dickson, Francis and James
It might sound like a cliché but one of the reasons I am looking forward to getting back to Kenya is for the people.
I have managed many 5 star lodges in the past and I know what it takes to create wonderful guest experiences and I can say with certainty that the Wild Eye East Africa staff is unique.
None of them come from a trained hospitality background which is amazing as the experience they created is real. There are no fake smiles, rehearsed routines or preconceived ideas as to what they need to do to keep guests happy. They are real, honest people that will go out of their way to assist as they enjoy what they are doing.
Since meeting the guys a few years ago we have grown very, very close.
To me, they are family. They are Kenya!
5. African Magic
One of the first things I noticed when I got to Kenya for the first time was how big the skies were. It was amazing!
When I was growing up I had a vision of Africa in my mind, a vision that was made up of images and video clips I have seen mixed with a nostalgia of days gone by.
Every time I head back to Kenya I see a little bit more of this vision.
A vision of Africa as it used to be.
As it should be.
In less han three months I will be back in the Mara. Care to join me?
Until next time.
Gerry van der Walt
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