Kenya is a well-known paradise for bird and mammal watchers.There are 1116 species of birds of which seven are endemic.It hosts more than 350 species of mammals,which 21 of them are endemic.The big five ( Elephant, Rhino, Lion, Leopard and Buffalo ) can be found here in good numbers,except the Rhino, in its numerous national parks.
Masai Mara,East and West Tsavo, Amboseli, Samburu, Lake Nakuru, Mount Kenya, Aberdare and Kakamega are some of the most remarkable national parks in Kenya and around the world and they offer superb opportunities to have close encounters with lots of wildlife and take nice photographs.
While it’s not a cheap destination, i handled it to find some reasonable prices to take some safaris inside their most interesting national parks.The infrastructure is good but you have to check very carefully to find a proper tour company to arrange your safari cause they sometimes don’t accomplish the planned program or the guides are not professional and skilful enough.If you want a tailored birdwatching tour prices increase dramatically.
Kenya was my first experience of Africa and i had mixed feelings of excitement and fear prior to my departure.Once in Nairobi, it took me a while to get used to the city and its people.In my opinion,there is not much to see in Nairobi and hotel stuff recommended me to be very careful when moving around.
I booked my safari to Masai Mara with the hotel company.I paid for 2 nights and 3 days 360 dollars, including transportation, driver, guide, entrance fees, food and accommodation ( camping tent outside the park ).It was the most affordable tour i could get after comparing different companies.
It took several hours to reach the park from Nairobi, due to the distance and the rough roads that are halfway of the trip.On my first stop before the park i could see a Rock Hyrax standing on a stone.
Our group arrived in the afternoon, we had lunch and we went for our first safari inside the Masai Mara.We spotted the first of the big five, a lioness with her cubs resting just a few meters from our 4 wheels while drizzling.
Later on, we spotted a group of African Elephants feeding on grass while staring at us.
Masai Giraffes appeared moving with grace showing their elongated necks in the horizon.See these giraffes and a topi on the background on the picture below.
I was thrilled by these views,stunned to see these magnificent creatures in the middle of the savannah.
Hartebeest, see picture below, Wildebeest and Topis were grazing on the grass.While they were easily seen,there were not as many as they can be found in July,August and September,when they migrate in huge numbers.
Common Zebras were randomly scattered in the savannah, appearing in groups of one or two individuals.
Next to the dirt tracks, I could spot groups of Helmeted Guineafowls,see the first picture below, the graceful Grey Crowned Crane,see the second picture below,Grey-headed Kingfisher and the great Black-bellied Bustard,see the third picture below.Superb Starling was a pretty common but beautiful bird found inside and outside the national park.African wattled Lapwing, Bare-faced Go-away Bird and Speckled Mousebird were other nice additions to the most remarkable birds seen.
After a while,i could get a great view of a male old lion crossing in front of the car that seemed undisturbed by our presence.
Most of the times that i saw African Lions were sleeping, a quite different reality that documentaries pretend to show.Indeed, lions spend most of its time sleeping during the day and remain active at night.
Cheetahs appeared a bit far hiding among the grass ready to catch their prey.However i got a great view of one individual close to the vehicle,as you can see in the picture on top of the post.
Other predators that i saw were Silver-backed Jackals and Spotted Hyenas in groups of two. Olive baboons were in good numbers, with groups of mothers with their calves,see picture below.African Buffalos were numerous in groups of 7-15 individuals.
Great afternoon,with some of the big 5 and some of the most amazing Kenyan birds !!!
Next post i will continue explaining about the second and third day in Masai Mara, see you soon my friends !!!!