Flying safari to Kenya’s Chyulu Hills and the Maasai Mara
Hi Mark & Staff,
Thanks for another superb trip! We had a great time. Very happy that Ol Donyo and Mara Plains (and Emakoko, too) provided our own private vehicle and guide for all of our drives. That’s the perfect touch, and makes for many happy guests, I’m sure!
Fantastic trip for cats. Saw many, many lions and leopards in the Mara. Saw cheetah in the Chyulus, and in the Mara. Even better… Saw a caracal (-I asked Konnei, our Maasai guide in particular, for a caracal as it’s been my dream to see one) in the Chyulus (as well as an African Wild Cat and two aardwolves), and saw a serval in Nairobi National Park. Can you believe it? A serval and a caracal – same trip to Kenya! I don’t believe that occurs too often. I was thrilled. What gorgeous, elegant little cats!!
The migration had mostly moved back to Tanzania, but the Conservancy maintained healthy herds in spite of that—lots and lots of topi, plenty of kongoni, and Thommies and some Grants. Also, plentiful zebra and wildebeest.
Another first for Jeff & me, even though we’ve travelled to Africa numerous times… a rock python! One afternoon, Fig (well-known leopard in the Conservancy) descended a tree and crossed over a small embankment to the other side, where she sat and then began swatting at something. Our (wonderful) guide, Daniel Kasaine, said, “Python.” “WHAT???”, I cried. I moved my binocs, and the huge body of a snake marked with bronze, copper, beige circular patterns appeared, beautiful and abhorrent at the same time. Fig moved on (thankfully) and I watched the last half of the snake (-never saw its head!) move effortlessly into the brush and rocks. Daniel estimated, based on the circumference of the awesome reptile, that it was probably about 10-11 feet long. UGH!!!! J What a sighting!
The guides at Ol Donyo were superb, but the guides at Mara Plains are phenomenal!! We loved Daniel Kasaine and will ask for him again if we travel back to Kenya in the next few years. What an intelligent, thoughtful, and kind person – a truly exceptional individual to show guests one of the most special places on this earth. He positioned us, one evening, in the perfect place so that when two lionesses ambushed a large herd of wildebeests, we were in the middle of the chaos. Dust erupted everywhere as we watched lionesses racing, and wildebeest darting and jumping in crazy directions to escape. One lioness missed, but the other smashed into a half-grown gnu, who cried out before the lioness clamped her mouth over his. I was shaking from head to toe. (Daniel and Jeff were shooting photos as if their lives depended on it.) Such intense drama brings out strong emotions. “Pole. Pole.”, Daniel said to me, “That is the circle of life.” And he put his arm over my shoulders, and I knew he was right. (I’ll never, ever forget that experience.)
The accommodations at Ol Donyo are sophisticated without detracting from Africa’s wild ambiance; the private pool was wonderful, as was a night spent in the star-bed. The tents at Mara Plains (my favorite spot!) are fantastic, as you’re aware of the luxury experience, but you’re still in a tent and enjoy the feeling of “just canvas” between you and the wilderness. The daily sundowners, and breakfasts, out in the bush with our guide made Mara Plains extra special.
We had a wonderful time. Thank you for the arrangements you made on our behalf. I’ve only been home a couple of weeks, and I can’t wait to go back!
Robin Fleck, Oct 2016