The moment I stepped into the luxurious surroundings of Sarova Mara Game Camp, I was struck by the contrast between nature and architecture. The foliage simulated the lush greens of the hilly mountains that enclosed the Masai Mara. Patches of turf created appealing patterns as paths were carved through the forest to make way for beautifully decorated walled tents that oozed with excess. Did we need a club tent outlooking the Oribi antelope while they grazed? The porch with a sun lounger? Or even an outdoor swimming pool? Of course we didn't. Am I glad I had it anyway? Absolutely. They provide what could be the only respite after spending multiple days in wind, torrential rain and blazing heat while tracking wildebeest.
There is no supermarket, no pharmacy, no rest stop around there. A day safari from Nairobi could stretch hours for the journey alone. With most reserves closing at 6.30 p.m, it wouldn't leave much time to do anything but go on a game drive and return back to the city. Personally, staying at Sarova Mara Game Camp made sense because I wanted as much time as possible to explore not just the plains, but the villages and further into the distance, the Serengeti. As a honeymooner and an explorer, it combined my need for adventure with my need for comfort while being in such a secluded region of the world.
Wildlife enthusiasts flock to Masai Mara to catch a glimpse of giraffe, leopards, and Masai lions as well as the annual migration of wildebeest to and from the Serengeti from July to October. It was a delicious sight when Antony, our personal driver, jumped from seat to seat without the need of binoculars, pinpointing the location of a lioness leading her cubs through the flat, open land. He told compelling tales about each of the animals, creating fantastic characters for them and making them seem more... human, I suppose. The enthusiasm he had towards game drives and walking tours of the Masai villages, even after 20 odd years of being part of the tourist industry is testament to Kenyan hospitality. My calm and collected exterior has a reputation that precedes me but the moment I caught glimpse of one of the three black rhinos that lived in the bush, I trembled at the thought that I had witnessed a creation that future generations may not ever see again.
If there's any word I'd use to describe the days I spent on safari, it would be 'awe-inspiring'. From the plains of the Masai to the mountain peaks of the Serengeti, people have been nothing but warm and keen to share their knowledge. Every experience was humbling. We decided to do a morning safari, wake up before dawn and catch the sunrise over a perfectly still horizon. It shames me to say that there aren't many times that I've caught dawn break. I suspect that a lot of us Western-born city dwellers are too busy in a hurry nowhere to pause, reflect and show gratitude for the simple wonders. It was silent, it was serene, it was everything I felt about Kenya encapsulated in a moment.