Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Maasai Mara: The Cattle on a Thousand Hills

Our sweet ride
Whew. What a weekend! Boy oh boy oh boy. This was a "long weekend", beginning Thursday at noon. Glorious! (please sing that, just as I did in my head) A couple of the families that are in the same supervision team as I planned to use the weekend off to travel to Maasai Mara, a game park in the southwest border of Kenya. They asked if I wanted to go...uh, yeah! So we did. And that's why this post is going to be oh-so-terribly-long, and I needed to make an outline. Who would ever have guessed that I'd make an outline for a blog? Nerdy.


  • Up 5:02a
  • Leave 6:15a
  • Red bushes*
  • Rattling teeth!*
  • Joseph guesses my job
  • Jam & butter, jam & butter*
  • Picnic under acacia
  • Pitch camp – solo tent!
  • Up the ridge with Daniel*
  • Visit to Maasai boma!
  • Enjoying our safari
  • Beans & rice & bed
  • Up 5:40a
  • Beautiful sunrise
  • Leave 6:30a
  • Brrrrr
  • 1000Ksh vs. US$60. Booyah.*
  • Brake line sheared
  • Repair stop*
    • Tyson swarmed by hawkers
    • Jessica with lions!
    • First souvenir
  • Into Mara by 10a
  • Prides, towers, dazzles, herds, flocks, etc.
  • Picnic lunch surrounded by wildebeest, zebra, gazelles
  • View from a standing perch :)
  • Camera battery dies
  • Cattle on a thousand hills**
  • Up 5:40a
  • Leave 6:10a
  • Lions eating!*
  • Borrowing Yani's camera. Missing lens cap*
    • Left on roof??
    • "I know this is trivial, but please help me find the lens cap"
    • Confession...
    • Sitting on the border between Kenya
      and Tanzania! Serengeti to my left,
      Maasai Mara to my right.

    • Supper: Look at what Susan has!
  • Leopard hunting
  • Camp breakdown
  • Journey home
  • 2 lb lighter*
Okie doke. If you really want further explanation of any of the items with an asterisk, here ya go:

*Red bushes: Stretches of the road were so incredibly dusty that I couldn't believe the driver could see the road anymore. Bushes along the ditch were no longer green, but so caked with red dirt they appeared to be bushy parts of the road.
Lilac-Breasted Roller
*Rattling teeth: Wow. I wouldn't take anything but a 4WD vehicle on these roads. I'm surprised the glass didn't fall out of the windows, much less my teeth falling out of my skull. Those $1/min massage chairs in the mall ain't got nothin' on Kenyan transportation.
*Jam & butter, jam & butter: I was responsible for packing my breakfast and lunch for Friday. I ate 3 jam & butter sandwiches...hello, gradeschool.
Ze termite mound
*Up the ridge with Daniel: A ridge separated our campsite from the Mara, and the Maasai guard at the school where we were staying took us up for a look-see. WOW. And he took us to his boma and inside his home. Way cool.

*1000Ksh vs. US$60: I love being an official Kenyan resident. If I hadn't had my work permit, I'd have had to pay $60 for a day at the Mara, instead of the 1000 shillings (about $13) that I had to. Booyah.
*Repair shop: As we pulled through the gate at the park shortly after 6:30, Derek realized that his brakes weren't working and discovered a broken brake fluid line. Boo. We drove to another gate and found a little repair shop. While we waited, flocks of Maasai women hawking their goods swarmed our vehicle, thrusting their necklaces and bracelets and masks through Tyson's open window. Tyson found it difficult to roll the window up beneath the weight of 8 pushy ladies' arms. :D A funny spectacle to behold for sure. I also took the bargaining plunge, purchasing my first Maasai souvenir.

Proof of my first bargaining adventure
*Lions eating!: SO cool! They were right next to the road; 3 lionesses and 4 cubs. Sounds like National Geographic until you look to the road again and find 16 other vehicles gawking at the same scene. Pictures to come as soon as I can get them from the camera I borrowed.
*Missing lens cap: Because my camera died as we were leaving the park the day before, Yani let me borrow her wonderful digital SLR for the morning. Halfway through our trip, though, I felt in my pocket for the lens cap and couldn't find it. Uh-oh. I stood up quickly, searching the top of the vehicle, hoping against hope that I hadn't left it there, but feeling the lump in my stomach as I realized it was very likely. I prayed a little, earnest prayer. The rest of the morning wasn't very enjoyable, and it came time to return the camera, lens cap-less. Fast forward 8 hours to a wonderful supper with the Raymonds and Crutchers, and low and behold, Susan pulls out the lens cap  that had been hiding in their Land Cruiser for the trip back! God knows the hairs on our heads, and helps solve the brainless problems we get ourselves into. :D
*2 lb lighter: You would be too. A shower after a 3-day camping trip, 5.5hr each way on dusty roads...

DON'T mess with me. Whoa.
**Cattle on a thousand hills: This was the recurring thought that followed me all of Sabbath. Maasai Mara stretched as far as I could see, with lightly rolling hills and wide open expanses of savanna. Each direction I looked, I saw tiny specks dotting the landscape. Hundreds upon hundreds of cape buffalo, wildebeest, antelope and zebras. "Every animal of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills" [Ps. 50:10] I serve a wealthy God.

Favorite thing about my first safari?
Learning yet again that God is one creative Dude. 


Tyson Kahler said...

This weekend was by far my favorite one since I've been in Kenya. Thanks Jess for helping to make it that way. I had a great time safariing with you. You are right...God really is one creative dude.

Mariel Torres said...

That bird is so pretty! it definitely looks like you are having a marvelous time :D