Africa is a lovely place. Freaking hot. Generous people with genuine smiles that even Hollywood can’t create. Extremely beautiful and its jungles are rather commodious as opposed to the unforgiving disposition of say the South American ones. Anacondas are not pet snakes you know.
While the entire African continent is lovely, Kenya happens to be a gem moulded out of pure exquisite beauty lovingly placed on the Eastern part of Africa; huge smile with its arms wide open offering sandy beaches, mouth watering Swahili dishes and lots and lots of wildlife…no Anacondas though!
Ethiopia and Madives have nothing on us……ok, Maldives is spectacular!
And yes, while Kenya as a whole is beautiful, Maasai mara is uniquely breathtaking, right from the point you bid farewell to urbanization in Narok town and embrace the calm sunsets of Serena Mara and the well kept secret of Mara Bush Houses, formally called Nomadic Encounters.
There is nothing that says you know Kenya better than visiting The Maasai Mara (wearing Safari boots and khaki pants). Well, that and perhaps an unfortunate incidence of inhaling tear gas shot to disperse rowdy hawkers in Nairobi!
Perhaps the most endearing thing about being in the Mara is the oneness with nature, the peace and tranquillity that comes with being away from our noisy and polluted cities is worth every cent you spend here.
My first time in the Mara was for a presentation and demo on a bunch of floor care products at Fairmont Mara.
I got a ride on a new Land Cruiser which ate away the rough road all the way to Mara Safari club as if it were smooth tarmac. At some point i even slept.
The guys at Fairmont Mara were fabulous, staring with the General Manager, Munene Ngotho, a very jovial gentleman who by the way is on a first name basis with all his employees. In his words, he told me that he wanted to make their stay in the Mara as comfortable and memorable as possible as one family, killing the homesickness especially in most interns.
Munene is the kind of guy you would want to be, a man’s man. Walks and talks like a guy who is in touch with his true identity and purpose in life. There is something about his calm yet authoritative demeanour that tells you he is the head honcho, the Sheriff, The Don. He seems to take life so easily that you will simply fall in love with his generosity, kind heart and ability to strike conversations with everyone regardless of whom they are.
Among the guys i would never forget from Fairmont Mara is Resmus, the in house Doctor. I remember my first night there we talked till late; talked about everything, his medical practice, my religion, ants mating, the wilde Beast migration, our families, how he handled being away from his…..a great guy, Resmus.
After the presentation and demo i left. Munene promised to organize a hot air balloon ride for me the next i visited. Unfortunately he was leave when i went back to slip proof their kitchen floor.
Next stop, Mara Bush Houses, a fantastic place ‘just behind’ the hill from Fairmont. That was what everyone told me, behind the hill. One would be forgiven to think that the act would have been as simple as climbing over the hill and rolling straight into the parking lot of Nomadic Encounters or falling right at the top of their Bush house (Rainee would be very cross with me if i did that). Absolutely not!
I had to go back all the way to the main road to connect to Mara Bush Houses. Unfortunately they did not have any free cruiser to pick me up so i had to make my way using other means. There is a bus that passes a couple of Miles near Nomadic from where i would be picked. Like you can see the dust raised by the bus from the nearest high point in Rainee Beaton’s lovely establishment.
The said bus travels only twice per day, early in the morning and late in the evening i was told. I was at the main road at ten in the morning and the thought of having to go all the way to Narok town for the bus wasn’t appealing.
So i hired a boda boda (motor bike) which i had to pay the guy a thousand bob to drop me near Nomadic. I have never had it that rough in the bush and all the while the Bike was speeding as if a herd of Buffalos were after us; he would dive straight into mountains of dust without caring whether an elephant’s ass was there right in the middle of the Murram road.
He was hell bent on doing something close to ‘a thousand ways to die’…and i did not fancy the idea of having my lifeless body ‘peeled’ out of an elephant’s behind.
Just in case you didn’t know, tha back of an elephant is like, i donno…the walls of Jericho…totally invincible!
I had a splitting headache by the time i got to Mara Bush Houses and all i needed was food and a couple of hours sleep.
One thing though about Maasai Mara is the nostalgic feeling you get when departing, like you have left your soul behind. Your heart is left yearning to go back for another visit, envying the hordes of tourists you meet on your way out as they are heading in. You envy the great people who run these camps, lodges and bush houses.
Envy them because they have something that you will never have in the city- peace and quiet.
They have nature, butterflies, birds and air so clean that you just want to keep inhaling and storing it in your lungs to use when you get back to the city.
And while you are waving at those heading to the Mara in dusty Land Rovers you can’t help but feel like you are losing something, that perhaps you should be back in the Mara watching sunsets and elephants mate. Perhaps become a Maasai moran roaming the expansive Mara with no underpants, spearing Wilde Beast before they plunge into the Mara River……..