Over thousands of wildebeests and zebras sprawl across the vast grasslands, peppering the landscape that runs for miles into the horizon. We’ve seen them before – but now to see them in such big numbers is just impressive. As we drive further along the rolling hills and surprisingly green fields, the sheer sight of the thousands of animals before us leaves us silent in awe.
We are game driving in Kenya’s world famous Masai Mara National Reserve, well known as one of the best reserves in East Africa. This is also where the annual migration takes place. Each year, impressive herds of over one million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle cross over the plains from the Serengeti in search of new pastures. Even though we are here towards the end of the season, we have the great fortune of witnessing a small fraction of the migration. Over tens of thousands of wildebeests are grazing on the grasslands, some lounging around as though it were a Sunday afternoon, while others trample over one another in search of food.
But it’s not just the annual migration that I’m here for. During our game drives in the Masai Mara, I’ve been rewarded with plenty of impressive wildlife sightings: from cheeky little jackals scrambling around the bush, to an elephant family of eight feasting together, a pool filled with lazy hippos, and a handsome cheetah just sitting under a tree a few feet from us. The highlight is definitely seeing a group of 11 young lions feasting on a freshly captured zebra, its black-and-white-striped skin and blood-red flesh clearly visible as the lions gnawed and devoured it up.
Thanks to my 300mm lens, I managed to capture some pretty good shots of the action. I hope these photos will give you an idea of how amazing wildlife watching in the Masai Mara can be – enjoy!
Wildebeests grazing on the grasslands of Masai Mara – this is just a small fraction of the annual migration.
A group of young lions are feasting on a freshly caught zebra whose skin, teeth and flesh are clearly visible.
Lions on the prowl.
This pair of young lions take the opportunity to enjoy the shade right by our overland truck.
Later on, we find even more lions taking an afternoon nap in the shade. These are older lions as you can see from their mane.
Halfway through our drive, we see a handsome cheetah resting under a tree, just a few feet away from the path.
A close-up shot of its face – look at the beautiful tear stains beneath its eyes and the immaculate spots on its body.
Our last stop brought us to the Keekorok Lodge, a luxury safari lodge with a beautiful waterhole that’s home to plenty of hippos, maribou storks, and herons.
At the Mara River, a pod of hippos float lazily in the water – seemingly unfazed by the horrible stench from the antelope carcasses.
After crossing a series of streams, we come across an elephant family of eight all hanging out together.
Take a closer look at the elephant’s wrinkles, trunk and tusks.
The cape buffalo is considered one of the Big Five.
This pair of jackals are seen lingering near the lions as they feast on the zebra- obviously trying to steal a bite.
At the Keekorok Lodge, I stumble upon these adorable two vervet monkeys.
A safari jeep trundles along the path that winds its way through the Masai Mara.
Besides the acacia trees, the grasslands of Masai Mara are dry and barren.
I traveled with Africa Travel Co on the 24-day Gorillas, Game Parks and Zanzibar trip, and the trip included two days of game driving in the Masai Mara National Reserve. The reserve is approximately six hours by car from Nairobi. Game drives can be arranged through the national park center or a tour operator.
Disclaimer: This experience was made possible by Africa Travel Co but all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.