The marvels of wild experience at the Mara are legendary and as KEVIN OGUOKO found out on a visit to the eighth wonder of the world, always expect the unexpected
The plane touched down on the murram runway of Ol- Kiombo Airstrip on the plain Savannah of the Masai Mara. Being one of the best times for a Safari to experience one of the Seven Wonders of the World — the wildebeest migration, I was anxious and excited ready to marvel at the pleasures of the Mara.
A guide from the host camp, Base Camp Masai Mara and Base Camp Eagle View, that was going to be my home for the next two days, met me at the airstrip. Derrick was dressed in the full traditional Maasai attire complete with belt beads and rubber sandals. He carried my bag as he led me to the open sided safari 4x4 Land Cruiser with a unique earth brown colour and leather finishing.
Annette, a bespectacled chatty lady from New Zealand greeted me with a ‘Jambo’. She is the Head of Operations at Base Camp Explorer, which comprise of Basecamp Masai Mara, Basecamp Eagle View and Dorobo Bush Camp.
My thirst to see some wildlife was quenched a stone throw’s away from the noisy airstrip. A young elephant showed off its skills in the bushes jumping from side to side with the adults feeding from tree roots not far away.
Derrick, a Silver Star guide illustrates how to differentiate a male elephant from a female one. It’s all in the shape of the tusks — not what you are thinking!
Everyday is a new experience here. We shortly witness a young lioness barely out of her cub years judging by her spots, making a kill. The meal to be-an old wildebeest faced the lioness and charged to fight back when the lioness came running. The wildebeest made a wrong move though. In low tones and still clicking on her Nikon camera, Annete revealed that she had only been lucky to witness five kills in her five-year stay, this was her sixth. Lucky me, I had barely been in the Mara for an hour.
On crossing a little stream, we entered the Talek area of Masai Mara. By now, my curiosity of the Base Camp, holder of a prestigious Gold award as an Eco tourism Camp according to www.basecampexplorer.com had already picked up. Being among the handful of camps and lodges that practice Eco- tourism in Kenya, I was curious on what made it stand out.
Tall trees that had completely covered the camp, making it look like a small forest. It made the camp stand out from the surrounding area. We came across a front side of the ‘forest’ with a signboard written Wangari Maathai Forest, named after the famed Nobel Peace Prize laureate. A little further we came across the Obama Family forest planted by the Obama family during their stay in Base Camp back in 2006.
Tree planting, is one initiative we take very seriously at Base Camp Annette tells me. This is because we are aware that climate change now poses a threat to plants, animals, and human communities worldwide.