In the Footsteps of Lions: A Journey into the Maasai Mara
One of our lovely visitors wrote an awesome blogpost about his unforgettable experience in Kenya and the great things he saw during his stay at Losokwan Camp.
An African safari was something that I had dreamed about for longer than I can remember. To see the world’s most magnificent animals roaming across one vast landscape was at the very top of my bucket list, and I was determined to cross it off. And so I embarked on an adventure to Kenya’s Maasai Mara – the Lemek Conservancy to be precise – for an indulgent yet wholly authentic safari experience. The trip was to be everything I had imagined, and so much more which I couldn’t.
To see the Maasai Mara from this vantage point is nothing short of jaw-dropping. It magnitude is revealed, stretching endlessly into what are the Serengeti Plains many hundreds of miles away.
Most of the vacations I have taken in the past have involved a rather large aircraft, an airport terminal, and a paved road. Much to my delight, none of these were part of my arrival in the Maasai Mara. From Nairobi International Airport, my driver whizzed me off to the Jomo Kenyatta International airport from where I boarded a light aircraft which was to transport me into the savannah lands. We flew low over the plains, the wilds of Africa spreading before me, dotted with the grazing bodies of buffalo and antelope.
A quick swoop out of the sky and I stepped out of the plane to see nothing but a dusty landing strip and the open plains stretching into the horizon. I was in the heart of the Maasai Mara. The transfer from the landing strip to my home for the next few days was in fact my very first game drive, as we drove past gentle giraffes and springy impala.
The Losokwan Camp
I arrived at the Losokwan Camp to find that it was both delightfully luxurious and perfectly wild. Left deliberately unfenced, the camp feels part of the Mara’s circle of life, the wildlife left to roam freely. The tents even have their own hides, from where you can unwind and watch the animals without interrupting their natural rhythm. I had wanted to feel immersed in the wilderness of Africa, and here I was.
Yet there was no time to ponder the luxury of my beautiful tent because, after a hearty lunch, it was time for my first true safari experience. Specially-designed 4x4 vehicles were waiting to whisk me and a couple of other guests off into the Lemek Conservancy where, cameras in hand and hearts in mouths, we waited for our first sightings.
I hadn’t been prepared for the emotion I would feel at seeing such a sight, and it took a while before I could take my eyes off them long enough to think about snapping some photos.
We didn’t wait long. A small herd of elephants are an unmistakable sight on the horizon, even for an inexperienced wildlife-spotter like me. Gargantuan and elegant they walked together, gently padding across the dusty ground, swaying their trunks and affectionately touching one another as they ambled along. I hadn’t been prepared for the emotion I would feel at seeing such a sight, and it took a while before I could take my eyes off them long enough to think about snapping some photos. Feeling breathless and exhilarated, I would have been happy if that was all I had seen on my trip, but the Mara had different ideas.
To be initiated into the time-honored tradition of enjoying a sundowner (a cocktail or drink of choice) made me feel like one of the explorers of yesteryear. With a roaring fire crackling, a lavish dinner cooking and the knowledge that Mara’s wildlife was close by, I watched the red African sun sink leisurely behind the plains. Tomorrow had a lot to live up to.
A Bird’s Eye View
It was an early start, and as I opened my eyes I felt a calmness all around. The plains had not yet woken, and darkness still blanketed the landscape. A quick cup of tea to waken the senses and we were off soaring across the plains to meet our next adventure: a hot air balloon. In the pre-dawn we listened intently to our safety instructions before clambering aboard. With a few whooshes the solid sensation beneath my feet gave way. We climbed slowly into the lightening sky, the tip of the sun starting to make an appearance on the horizon and spread its light across the savannah.
To see the Maasai Mara from this vantage point is nothing short of jaw-dropping. It magnitude is revealed, stretching endlessly into what are the Serengeti Plains many hundreds of miles away. I contemplated the long and arduous journey taken by the two million wildebeest and zebra as they follow the life-giving rains in the largest migration on the planet. I wasn’t here during the migration, but it’s importance and impact were as clear to me as the blue sky in which we were now soaring.
Beneath us the wildlife was waking. Giraffes were unmistakable, and the bulking black forms of buffalo. Antelope of various sizes and shapes skipped daintily, and zebra tore across the plains in a plume of dust. A while later – time seemed to be of no consequence – we landed, the gentle winds having guided us where they chose. We breakfasted on the plains that day, munching our meal under the shade of a lone tree, as we watched the animals graze around us.
In the Footsteps of Lions
I had wanted my safari experience to be not just about seeing, but about feeling the power of the African plains. The hugely experienced local guides at Losokwan Camp listened to my pleas and suggested a bushwalk. While the idea of walking among predators did force me to swallow a lump in my throat, I put my trust in their intuition and expertise and later that day, we embarked on just that.
It was the most intimate wildlife experience I had ever had, a true sense of being at one with an ecosystem which has survived for millennia.
It was to be one of my most unforgettable experiences in Africa. We stepped quietly through the dusty savannah, watching industrious beetles scurry on their way, and seeing birds soar overhead. The earthy smells were heightened, the small details clearer – a small flower here, a chirp of a bird there. It was in this setting that I saw my very first wild lion. Rippling with power, yet as laid back as a housecat basking in the sunshine, the Lemek Conservancy’s pride of lions was right in front of me. Frolicking youngsters clambered across their mother, who regally groomed herself and lovingly nuzzled them away.
It was the most intimate wildlife experience I had ever had, a true sense of being at one with an ecosystem which has survived for millennia. My trip to the Maasai Mara did more than fulfill a long-standing dream, it gave me a deeper connection to the earth and the creatures which we share it with. I may only have been in the Mara for a few days, but what I felt and experienced there will stay with me for a lifetime.
The Losokwan Camp can arrange bespoke itineraries designed to fulfill every visitor’s dreams of the perfect safari experience. Get in touch and let us plan yours.