We are just home from Kenya and we all loved it so much!  The variety of animals, terrain and accommodations as well as absolutely delightful people and experienced guides all made our stay special.  There were so many memorable moments and I’ve made a list of some below.  And of course included pictures and a link to our videos.


? Jessie Lichtenstein
Just after the one and only brief rain of our trip we noticed a double rainbow.  Fred, our guide, stopped the car encouraging Jessie to get the shot.  Look closely and you can see there are two little birds hitching a ride on the giraffe.

Highlights from our safari:

  • Baby warthogs trotting after their parents (Baby warthogs were mine and Jessie’s favorite animal of the trip – check out the video here and you will also find them adorable.  They follow their parents’ lead, all trotting with their tails sticking straight up in the air).
  • Being woken by a lion on our first night, fully believing it was right outside our room.
  • Our guide Fred, speeding through the Mara to get us back to the entrance gate before 7p official closing time. He thought we were late, but the Landrover’s clock was fast. We made it by 2 minutes.
  • The absolutely brilliant full moon that illuminated the sky.
  • Watching Jessie learn to use a robust camera from our guide, Jackson, and then improve her technique with feedback from Robert.  She fell in love with capturing these beautiful animals and I love that she’s developed a new interest.
  • While out looking for the wildebeest from the beginning of the great migration to cross the Mara river, we instead were blessed with a herd of 25 elephants including 6 babies, do a river crossing. The matriarch went first to make sure it was safe and all the others held back and watched until she gave the signal it was safe. Two of the babies were fully submerged with just their trunks sticking out of the water.
  • On our afternoon game drive Trevor spotted 3 lions on the edge of the lava flow. We felt lucky to have spotted them. After watching for a few minutes, we drove to our sundowner spot and around the corner we encountered 12+ giraffe on the horizon in front of the setting sun. As our guide, Jackson, took out his personal camera, we knew this was a special moment.
  • Our first hot air balloon ride ever was over Masai Mara. I’m not sure anything else will ever compare. Floating above the Mara in quiet as the sun rose, the full moon was still out from the night before and the animals were out and about was just magical.
  • A mountain bike ride where we encountered a herd of elephants.
  • Watching a baby rhino rolling in the dirt next to its mom.
  • A family of elephants having the happiest mud bath. The baby elephant walked over to a full-size lounging hippo and scared him off.
  • The group of 5+ hyenas pacing and sniffing about 50 feet from lions and their kill. Just waiting and waiting to be able to make a move.
  • Trees full of 50+ vultures staring down at a lioness laying about 30 feet from a dead impala that she’d just feasted on. Just waiting and waiting for an opportunity.
  • Sleeping under the African sky in a starbed listening to the animals.
  • Walking to dinner at our lodge in Lewa, realizing a lion was on the property and 100s of waterbuks, zebra, impala and water buffalo were panicked, packed together next to our tent in the hopes of making it through the night.
  • The surprise bush breakfast at the end of our horseback riding safari in Amboseli.  Even our always smiling, dedicated server Jackson was there with us.
  • After seeing many hyenas I’ve changed my opinion from them being one of my least favorite animals to appreciating them (check out the photo below – they can be cute).
  • On a night drive watching two cheetahs get foiled by an annoying jackal who gave away their location by following them and barking continuously to warn others.
  • Fred, upon seeing a male and female lion laying near each other, predicting every move that was about to happen leading up to their mating.
  • A baboon mom cradling her baby as we drove by, and the impulsive clutching and turning away she did to make sure her baby stayed out of danger.
  • Passing a large male elephant in must. Which means he’s looking for a mate, and is unpredictable and can be aggressive. We drove off the road to stay away from him.
  • The dinners under the stars – at the starbeds, the boma at Ol Donyo, in the forest in the Mara (I fell in love with stick bread).
  • Meeting Leslie and Giusi, our new South African friends.
  • The pilot who agreed to pick up Trevor’s forgotten AirPods and bring them to our last lodge.
  • Seeing the cow head propped up on a tree, which is the way a Masai shows the inspector where his cow has been eaten by a lion so that he will get a payment (to deter him from killing the lion).


? Jessie Lichtenstein
This was a tender moment between a father and his son under the cool shade of an Acacia tree.

? Jessie Lichtenstein
I was never really a fan of hyenas but having seen them up close, I’ve warmed up to them.  This was one of a group of five restlessly milling about waiting to exploit an opportunity when the lions left their buffalo.

? Jessie Lichtenstein

We were at the very beginning of the migration.  About 100,000 wildebeests were out and about.  This lion and two of his friends were too. They were just watching the wildebeests and appeared to be plotting their strategy for later that day.

Trevor and Patrick, the Naturalist at Angama

 

We were out for a sunrise balloon ride. But this picture captures the full moon still out from the night before.  An absolute must do in the Mara.

 

Our balloon landing was super smooth, but that still means crawling out of a sideways basket.

A few photos of favorite lodges…

Sunrise from the starbed

View over the Mara from Angama

If you’d like to see some of our videos including giraffes running, elephant mud bath time, a lion walking away from his kill, a momma lion and her three cubs, a restless hyena and walk throughs of our lodges click here.

“The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa – for he has so much to look forward to.”

~ Richard Mullin

It’s true.

I’m grateful to all of the people who contributed to our wonderful experience.  Especially Jackson, Fred and Robert.

A safari is one of the most special adventures you can go on.  If you’ve never been before, it might feel a bit overwhelming – East Africa or South Africa?  Which country (or countries)? Add on Cape Town and the Winelands or Victoria Falls?  Side trip to the Seychelles or Zanzibar?  Rwanda or Uganda for the gorillas?  Which type of lodge?  Stay in a national park or private reserve?  How to get from here to there?

I love brainstorming and I’m happy to talk through the above with you anytime.  One warning.  Many people think they will take one safari in their lifetime and that will be it.  But once they go they realize how magical it is and they want to go back.

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