Into the heart of Kenya

Into the heart of Kenya

Travel tales

Into the heart  of Kenya

On a cold July morning, in Nairobi, Kenya, a bunch of us were waiting for them to arrive. A minute later, a group of them gambolled over. It was lunch time for the orphaned baby elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) — an orphanage run for baby animals who end up being orphaned in the wild due to various reasons.

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a non-profit organisation which fosters orphaned animals alongside research on creating artificial mother’s milk which would be the primary source of nutrition for the animals. There are over 40 baby elephants there as well as a rhino, a baby giraffe and a couple of warthogs. When we left DSWT, we were proud foster parents to ‘Ndotto’, a baby elephant. This playful pachyderm is super possessive about his football and will win you over with his acts of innocence. For a 50 dollar fee, we would get regular updates about our little Ndotto for a whole year coupled with the privileges of being able to visit him during the permitted hours for the said period.

Our next stop was the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi. It was all about petting the elegant 15-feet tall giraffes, feeding them, watching them up close and picking up some giraffe related souvenirs. Some people even dared to let the giraffes take their food from their mouths.

The next morning we drove for 3 hours from Nairobi to this place called Nanyuki. We went there to see an imaginary line and a sign board. And all of us were very excited about this.

      How many times in your life do you get to stand with one leg in the Northern Hemisphere and the other in the Southern? We were at the Equator! They gave us a certificate on reaching the Equator and showed us some really cool science experiments with a funnel and a stick explaining the ‘Coriolis Effect’ (deflection of an object due to the Earth’s rotation.) We left Nairobi early next morning for Masai Mara — the land of the Masais, where lions ruled and wildebeest migrated. We kept our fingers crossed to see the world famous ‘Migration of the Wildebeest’. These wildebeest migrate between two national parks — the Masai Mara in Kenya to Serengeti in Tanzania, from June to August. This is considered as one of the natural wonders of the world.

We reached Masai Mara and settled in our cosy luxury tents at the Mara Sarova Camps. It was situated in the middle of the Masai Mara Jungles. Imagine sleeping in the middle of the forest, with an occasional roar from an unknown animal, the sight of colourful insects and beautiful birds singing —totally adventurous!

We left for our evening ‘game drive’ as they like to call a safari. We spotted a cheetah with its days’-old cub, the majestic king lion and his lioness, dozens of wildebeest preparing for their great migration, elegant zebras and giraffes. We finished the day
watching a ‘live kill’ and the most famous African sunset.

Then we woke up next morning at 3 am for the hot air balloon safari over the Masai Mara plains to see the great migration of the wildebeest from above — the most exciting part of the trip! The balloon set off over the crimson blue sunrise. We floated above the great plains. The vastness of the Masai Mara National Park was overwhelming. After a good hour of cruising, we saw a herd of wildebeest migrating. Whenever the pilot of the hot air balloon fired the burner, it made a loud noise. The wildebeest, scared by one particularly loud one, ran for their lives forming a beautiful heart shape.

It was totally magical and one of the most beautiful sights we saw during our whole trip. I would call it the ‘crowning glory’ moment of our trip. After we landed, we were ushered to a part of the forest under a nice shady tree, with a huge table set up for our bush breakfast.

     We were served by the Masais dressed in bright blue and red clothes. I can never say, ‘never have I ever had a bush breakfast in Africa’.

A bunch of us, some great breakfast and a couple of Masais to chill with — this is what amazing holidays are made of.

How to get there

 We took a Kenyan Airways flight from Mumbai to Nairobi. The round trip ticket cost   30,000.

Where to stay

In Nairobi, we stayed at Nairobi Serena Hotel. It cost approximately 9,000 per night.

At Masai Mara, we stayed at Mara Sarova Camp. It cost approximately                          24,000 per night.

The hot air balloon safari cost approximately 21,000 per person.

(The author can be contacted on kittyiyer@gmail.com)

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