Charms and surprises of the jungle

Charms and surprises of the jungle

Wild tales

Regal pink: Flamingos at Lake Nakuru in Nairobi.

As we disembarked on a crisp summer afternoon, a gush of cool air caressed our faces. Despite Nairobi’s latitude, its higher altitude had blessed the city with a subtropical highland climate — mild summers and cool winters.

The following morning, we headed for Masai Mara, huddled within the enormous river valley province. As we approached the plains, Nairobi’s hilly terrain of tall rich green trees made way for an endless expanse of land dotted with shrubs and thickets. The  breathtaking display of leafy vegetation metamorphosing into dry golden knee-length grass was captivating.

The Masai Mara Park Reserve — the northern extension of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania — covers an area of 320 km. For the next two hours, with the roof detached and our hair flying in all directions, we canvassed the natural habitat for wildlife. I not only gasped at the beauty of zebras, gazelles, topis and giraffes that came our way, but was totally taken in by the way nature had camouflaged them from their marauders. As the sun set, its rays seeped through the clouds to create an enchanted halo over the forest. Two adult elephants crossing the road with a baby elephant in tow brought a classic end to our first game drive.

Next day, the kingdom was buzzing even in the wee hours, with most of the citizens up and about. The highlight of the morning saga — two cubs feasting on a wildebeest, a lioness lying breathless after the kill, and a male lion majestically patrolling, less than 100 meters from us. Our second stop was Lake Nakuru, which appeared more like a regal pink carpet than a lake. This lake is known to be adorned with a vast number of pink flamingos due to the abundance of algae in the water. We were totally transfixed with this view till we got distracted by a white rhino and a black rhino grazing nearby. It was late evening by the time we reached our hotel. After freshening up, along with dinner, we watched a Masai folk dance performance. The rhythmic movement of the troupe kept our feet tapping throughout the performance, making it a memorable evening.

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