Amboseli & Masai Mara

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have traveled to Africa twice in 2022. After visiting South Africa in March, I was eager to explore more of the continent I headed to Kenya next. I reached out to Ale to help me organize a 7-8 day trip to two parks: Amboseli and Masai Mara.

I had done some research beforehand, including browsing Instagram for inspiration, and was excited to see what Kenya had to offer. I boarded my flight to Nairobi. Unfortunately, the flight was delayed, and I didn’t arrive until after 10 pm. With the night growing late, I quickly settled into my hotel room, which had been reserved for me by the folks at Wandering Thru. Despite the short night, I couldn’t wait to start exploring the next day.

The next morning, I woke up early to catch a domestic flight to Amboseli National Park. The one-hour flight offered breathtaking views, and upon landing, my guide Jonathan was already waiting for me at the airstrip. To my delight, I was his only guest. It was like a dream come true.

Jonathan and I quickly agreed to depart the lodge at 5:30am instead of the usual 6:30am to catch the first rays of sunrise. The first drive starting from the airstrip was calm, but the drought had taken its toll on the park. The soil was parched, and the sight of zebras and wildebeest that had died of starvation was heartbreaking. Every few meters, we saw a carcass. Despite the harsh conditions, the park was still home to a diverse range of wildlife, including elephants, zebras, and wildebeest.

We also caught glimpses of solitary animals crossing the dry lake, like giraffes and, towering above it all, the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro.

Tortilis Camp, located in the southern part of the park with a private concession for off-roading, provided a unique safari experience. The safari vehicles, with their left doors missing, allowed for exceptional photo opportunities from a low angle. The friendly staff, well-equipped rooms, and excellent food made for a comfortable stay.

The game drives were simply incredible. Despite cheetahs being a rare sighting in Amboseli, we were fortunate to spot them along with large elephant herds, a pride of lions with at least 10 cubs, giraffes, African golden wolves, hippos, and hyenas.

One of the highlights was capturing stunning photos of elephants during sunrise, thanks to Jonathan’s expert guidance. Witnessing a whole herd crossing the lake was an unforgettable moment. We were also fortunate to observe two male lions who had taken over the local pride, feasting on a hippo carcass and successfully taking down a Thompson’s gazelle, a wildebeest, and a buffalo in less than 24 hours.

The only regret: we missed witnessing the birth of an elephant by a few minutes. We came across another vehicle from the lodge and the guests told us they just saw a small elephant with the umbilical cord still attached, a few meters away, the placenta was still in the grass.

Overall, the three days at Amboseli were nothing short of amazing!

Our next destination was the Masai Mara, a name that evokes adventure and excitement. Even though I traveled outside the migration season, I hoped for a more intimate and relaxing experience. My goal was to explore the Mara triangle and prepare for a future trip during the great migration.

As we flew into the traingle in a Cessna, I marveled at the breathtaking views of the famous Oloololo escarpment. James Hendry’s voice echoed in my mind, and I couldn’t wait to explore the area. We stayed at the Kichwa Tembo, which belongs to the andBeyond group. I can confidently say that it was a great lodge, with an excellent guide and incredibly kind staff. The room had some unique features that added to the overall experience.

Our drives in the Masai Mara were different from those in Amboseli. Firstly, I wasn’t alone in the vehicle, and for the second day, the group decided to spend the entire day exploring the Mara Triangle, down to the Tanzanian border. This allowed us to witness a diverse range of wildlife, including lions, elephants, topis, hyena cubs, and many birds. Two of the guests were trained guides and had incredible knowledge about birds, which made the experience even more interesting.

In addition to exploring the area by vehicle, I wanted to gain a new perspective on the African savanna. I decided to book my first-ever hot air balloon flight, which turned out to be a very inspiring experience. The slow-moving platform allowed me to observe the landscape from a different angle and capture some incredible photos of the wildlife.

For the second time I enjoyed an incredible experience thanks to Wandering Thru. Everything was well-organized, and Ale was very responsive to any last-minute requests (such as adding extra luggage for our domestic flights). And when Ale suggests to book a hotel room for the day while waiting for your flight back home at Jomo Kenyatta airport, listen to her advices!

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