“I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.” – Nelson Mandela
Kaitek, our articulate Maasai guide, reminded us to just “let nature take control”. A good idea.
This is his answer to our comments on the relationships of animals in the Masai Mara National Park – where the lion reigns as king. While we decry violence, these animals kill for food and that’s how life in the park goes around. The fittest survives. Nature takes control. Sounds familiar.
We did not come to compete with the lions. Instead of pushing our boundaries, we decided to go slow and enjoy our stay in the camp. It’s time for a real, honest-to-goodness holiday. Someone who said, “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything”, must have thought of us.
After drinking too much white wine (because it was on the house) while on a camp fire we shared with a Greek family I hardly slept on our first night. The hippos on the river were so loud we feared they have moved close to our tent! We found out the zebras were actually roaming near at night.
Our wake-up call came with a steaming brewed coffee and cookies. We need to leave at 6:30 in the morning and go for our game drive. Gabby protested sleepily but I convinced her that we must. It was what we came for anyway.
Kaitek quizzed us how many stripes a zebra usually have? After pondering and estimating and calculating while looking at several grazing nonchalantly near us, I came out with a guess of 20. Those stripes seemed a lot. I forgot Gabby’s answer but I am sure it was more than 10. Laughingly, Kaitek said the answer is two (for black and white). We’ve been had!
The landscape was stunning! We saw early morning hot air balloon riders rose to the sky. No extra hundreds of dollars to burn, we just wondered how it felt to be in the sky and see all the wonder below.
Suddenly, the radio calls became wild. We know some drivers spotted something important. Well, they did. Several lions were at rest after feasting on a wildebeest, its carcass grossly open and bloody. Some of the lions slept after they got full, unmindful of the game trucks and cameras around them.
The one I love the most was the cheetah. Almost like a leopard, a cheetah has longer tear lines on its face. It looked very docile and cuddlesome but actually deadly when feeling threatened. It is also the fastest. It can run for over 100kph if on the run or on a chase.
We saw one eating a small wild pig and it was too busy to even glance at us. I think most animals have regarded the game trucks as part of the environment that they never even care when we hound them like paparazzis.
As we drove towards the gleaming Masai Mara sunset with the cool breeze soft on our faces, Kaitek reminded us that animals are like human beings. They are protective of their own territories and will fight back when feeling threatened or invaded. That isn’t so different from human beings, I suppose?
The night was a breeze this time, we slept like babies. I found it funny we have a hot water bottle (actually an inflated bag) to warm our feet in place of a heater. Blessings come in gaily-wrapped surprises.
We thought we came only for the animals – but the accommodation and service at Entim Camp was a welcome bonus (not that we expected to sleep out in the wilds). Don’t replace that dial. On to Diary 3.0.
“The wish to travel seems to me characteristically human: the desire to move, to satisfy your curiosity or ease your fears, to change the circumstances of your life, to be a stranger, to make a friend, to experience an exotic landscape, to risk the unknown … ” – Paul Theroux, The Tao of Travel