God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Karen Blixen Camp and The Mara

Wow, it's been over a week since the last post. Just taking life slowly, I guess. Among other things, I'm trying to figure out a way to get to Italy in October at something close to a reasonable airfare. Soon, travel will be the exclusive domain of the rich.

Back to Kenya and the wonderful, haunting Masai Mara. It is easy to close my eyes and transport myself back to the company of zebra and cheetahs --maybe that is what I did all last week? Hmm?

Our digs on the Mara were not too shabby. The Karen Blixen Camp, she of Out of Africa fame, is a luxurious, lush, safari elegant "camp" in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Until you are there, you can not see it as you bounce down a road which is no more than a path of rocks and mini boulders, jarring ruts and elephant dung. And..then you are there, being greeted with wide smiles as staff offers cool cloths to wipe the dirt off face, neck and hands and then gives you a wonderful cooling glass of fresh passion fruit juice to wash away the dust lodging in your lungs. You know that all is good.

We arrived on the Mara via plane, taking off from a relatively normal dirt airstrip in the town of Nanyuki but landing on a dirt field with nothing but a vehicle and guide Nixon to meet us. It was really pretty cool!

The later plane to Amboseli made this one seem large!

On the way to "camp," we were mesmerized by the flat, never-ending savanna with tall, tawny grasses blowing in the breezes, populated by hundreds of zebra and wildebeast. Nixon drove right through herds who seemed to be oblivious to us--we weren't fearsome like lions and cheetahs. They weren't interested in the strange Land Rover animal.

Reach Out and Touch
After being escorted to our tent and just leaving our duffels where the porters put them, we enjoyed a very good lunch--chefs in nowhere are very good and accomplished. Then we went on the first of several Mara game drives including early mornings, late afternoons, all day, and a sundowner.

A sundowner is when you leave camp just before sunset, drive out on the savanna where you can get out of the Land Rover, mingle with zebra and other animals (at a respectful distance), have tasty snacks, wine and soft drinks and watch the stunning beauty of the sun lowering and finally dropping below the horizon. The silence of the savanna is broken only by sounds of nature and rustling bushes.


Awesome can not describe the impact on the soul
During our drives we saw herds of elephants, family units with the mother elephants taking care of their toddlers and teens and hundreds of zebra milling around at the river, deciding whether or not to cross. This was fun to watch as one would try and then step back while another would gather the courage to try. In the meantime these hundreds of followers are forming groups, regrouping not sure what to do. Finally, on this day, they decided the stars were not aligned right so in total herd mentality turned around and left, waiting for a more auspicious day. In the meantime, vultures by the dozens and crocodiles on the bank lie in wait for the certain tragic death of a hapless zebra.


This Day Vultures and Crocs are Foiled.
There are so many things I could write about: the half hour watching lions mate almost continuously (much to Casey's fascination), cheetahs chasing and playing, hippos basking in the sun with an occasional snort and foray into the water, topis posing grandly in the bush, hyenas searching for carrion, graceful giraffes loping along, more, more and more.

I could tell about the exquisite massage that totally eliminated the sore muscles and joint aches acquired in 7 days of safari travel. And then, there was the thrill of sitting on our tent porch and watching giraffes, elephants and gazelles parading by us on the other side of the river.

 But, I am stopping now as this is getting too long to be read. Next I will tell of the after dark rules, Casey's birthday celebration and maybe something else that comes to mind.

So much of relating safari is in the pictures not the words. At the top of the blog is a link to my Flickr pictures which are just a few of all that were taken (8gb).  This is a link to just the Mara pictures. The Mara

Don't forget that Casey is blogging, too. KZ on Kenya


Terry said...

Jane, it is the words AND the pictures. And you do both so well. I am following your blog posts and enjoying it all. Africa - wow!

Jane said...

Terry, thanks! And you would love a safari after your trip this summer. They are sort of like Italy in that once you go on one, you know you'll go again.

Pokey jo said...


I loved this post too! I agree with Terry that you're way of writing is very enjoyable and it takes the reader right where you want them to go! I love the zebras, I can't imagine how it must be to see a whole group of them just feet away!! (and the lions mating...whoa! no well endowed hyena's around that day, huh)? LOL

the Karen Blixen Camp is my kind of place!! A++ for that "camp"!!

I've loved your posts and Casey's as well, also all of your wonderful photos.


Jane said...

Mindy, thanks for the most complimentary note. It always feels good when what I write provides some source of pleasure. Glad to take you into the bush with us.