*This post was previously live on my other site TheWingedFork.com
The Masai Mara Game reserve in Kenya is an amazing part of nature still left mostly untouched by man. While on safari with my friends in the Mara, on the second day, my three friends and I headed out on a full day game drive with picnic lunches. We covered a lot of ground across the Mara which is a huge game reserve.
The camp we were staying at, the Sarova Mara Game Camp is truly amazing. It’s right in the heart of the Mara surrounded by two streams, and there were some animals coming in freely. Here’s a dik-dik just outside my tent. They’re these really small antelope that weigh hardly 4 or 5 kgs and are almost as endearing as Bambi, albeit without the spots.
The game drive started early after breakfast. We had hardly started driving around when we came across a huge heard of Buffalo in a distance; took a few pics, and headed on.
What came next was a definite surprise. There were three male cheetahs lazing about. David, our experienced driver-guide tells us that they are brothers and that males hunt in packs, whereas females hunt alone.
Some deer in the distance caught their attention for a little while, but then they lost interest and sat back down. We waited and watched them for a long time before moving on.
After a while, we came across some lionesses and their cubs on a rocky hill. It was exciting to see so many cubs together! The mums were relaxing in the shade, while the cubs played like Simba and Nala before heading back to rest. Yes, I had to use a Lion King reference! Those cubs were so adorable.
And while the cubs were snoozing, we were hoping to see Zazu, the hornbill bird who was King Mustafa’s most trusted advisor fly overhead. Alas, no such luck!
But we were pleasantly surprised when a red-headed agama crawled along the rocks and looked over the sleeping lionesses. That red-headed agama or rainbow agama with its blue body and red head made up for Zazu not jumping out of that movie and into real life.
By the way, did you know that the movie the Lion King was based on the life of the Lion of Mali, Sundiata Kieta who founded the mighty Malian empire in the 13th century?
Further on in the game drive, we saw a young Elephant at the side of the road, who greeted us. This baby elephant was so adorable!
After heading on we managed to catch a glimpse of a young leopard as he headed into the grass. We were quite happy as within just an hour and a half we had seen Cheetah, Lions and a Leopard. What more could we ask for?
We also came across a Secretary bird, Ostrichs, a Southern Hornbill, and also a Hyena. The Southern Hornbill may have been a distant cousin of Zazu, the red-billed hornbill that we were expecting earlier, but he looked so very different!
Sometime later, we saw a group of lionesses just by the road under some bushes. They were so close!! We sat in silence as they walked by our land cruiser from one bush to another and also stopped for a drink of water. Their golden manes are so mesmerizing to look at!
But we journeyed on; and what came next was even better!
A huge Tusker was walking towards us right in the middle of the road. We stopped at a safe distance and watched him in awe.
Soon we realized that the Elephant was not changing his path! Hearts started beating a little faster! David, our guide backed up a bit and went to the side of the road to put some space between us and him.
Our guide David thought the Tusker would eventually move off the road as they do not come close to vehicles, but this guy kept on walking toward us. So David backed up even more.
Eventually, we had to go off-road and around the Ele to get to the other side. As we passed him, he ‘mock charged’ at us, in a way telling us that we were on his turf! That was definitely an experience!
We stopped for lunch for a bit and then carried on with our safari. Being close to the border between Kenya and Tanzania, we stopped and took a few pics. A few steps beyond this marker is as far as I’ve gotten into Tanzania. 🙂 And it still is on my to-do list! Yeah, I know it’s called a bucket list, but I have no plans of kicking any buckets soon, so it’s still on my to-do list!
As we continued driving around, we saw some Topi and Gazelle grazing; and also a black-backed Jackal and a giraffe crossing our path.
And on our way back to camp that evening, we spotted a Lion and guess what he did. He pooped in the bushes and left his mark. Reminded me of when we saw the tiger Raiyya Kasa leaving his mark in the Pench Nature Reserve in India.
With so many animals, and a day ending with the king of the jungle, what more could one ask for? That’s what I’d call an amazing day in the bush!
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1 thought on “Encounter with a Tusker – Tales from the Mara”
Agama photo is interesting