PHOTO BY ME. JK.

Honeymooning In Kenya, Part II: Masai Mara

Date: October 21, 2015 at 9:13 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 16

Read Part I from our trip here. It’s basically a lot of pictures of giraffes and lions and me crying joy tears and stuff.

For those who asked, the quality photos you see in these posts were taken by Brian. He was shooting on a Canon 7D and a LUMIX lx100. I don’t know what any of that means. I couldn’t even take pictures on my iPhone because “Cannot Take Photo, Storage Full.”

Not from my iPhone 5S.

Not from my iPhone 5S.

Here we go — Masai Mara! It’s the area that served as the inspiration behind The Lion King!

Post-mating chill sesh.

Post-mating chill sesh.

OCTOBER 5

The flight here was full — all 13 of us jammed in there — and I slept until we landed at Mara North.

The more I ate, the smaller these planes felt...

The more I ate, the smaller these planes felt…

Immediately you can see that it is very different here. It’s all wide open plains, and you can see forever. We landed and right away saw so many animals! Wildebeest, zebra (different from the kind in Samburu with wider stripes), tons of funny warthogs, vultures, and more. Driving to the camp, we drove right through the wildebeest migration! Thousands of them! It was so wild.

"Whoa...I just realized that the beast from Beauty and the Beast is definitely a wildebeest." —Brian Cristiano

“Whoa…I just realized that the beast from Beauty and the Beast is definitely a wildebeest.” —Brian Cristiano

I am getting concerned about the fact that I wave and smile at every animal I see. What kind of response am I expecting? (Brian does it, too!)

Y AREN'T U GUYZ WAVING BACK? :(

Y AREN’T U GUYZ WAVING BACK? :(

Saruni Mara is incredible. It feels like a mountain chalet. I have never been to a mountain chalet, but this is probably it, more or less. Lunch upon our arrival was chickpeas, avocado salad, spinach quiche, and banana ice cream which was creamy and amazing and it turns out that after 30 years of saying I hate them, I apparently love bananas.

The guy on the right is Dan, the manager. The guy on the left is an eland. He was huge. And he LOVES hanging out at Saruni Mara! He is so big but basically thinks he's a puppy and he loves when you pet him and he won't go away. It's the sweetest thing ever.

The guy on the right is Dan, the manager. The guy on the left is an eland. He was huge. And he LOVES hanging out at Saruni Mara! He is so big but basically thinks he’s a puppy and he loves when you pet him and he won’t go away. It’s the sweetest thing ever.

Fun fact, our travel agent (what up, Anouk!) booked us in the Nyati House.

"DECE." That's how cool people say "decent."

“DECE.” That’s how cool people say “decent.”

Just a casual home for eight — all to ourselves — with a tub and a kitchen and secluded from the rest of the camp. It’s the sickest thing ever.

Nyati House!

Nyati House!

John picked us up “at Nyati House” for a 4:15 PM drive. He is a gentleman.

Here is what we saw…

  • A huge herd of impala right outside the camp
  • A lone giraffe, an old male, just waiting to meet me! The Masai giraffes look completely different from the reticulated giraffes in Samburu.
I'VE GOT THE WHOLE WORLD SLASH A GIRAFFE IN MY HAND!

I’VE GOT THE WHOLE WORLD SLASH A GIRAFFE IN MY HAND!

  • AND THEN WE CASUALLY STUMBLED UPON A PRIDE OF SIX LAZY LIONS. One male and five females, and the ladies wanted nothing to do with him and it was amazing. Then we met two more lady lions. All they want to do is eat and sleep and yawn, which is why I can really relate to them.
Sleepy kitty, naps are for kids!

Sleepy kitty, naps are for kids!

  • BRB IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LION DINNERTIME HUNT. Literally surrounded by six hungry lions trying to find dinner. The sun has set. It is dark. The lions are hungry and chasing after wildebeest and gazelles. This is the least safe I have ever felt! Married life is cool!
Time to hunt the doughnuts!

Time to hunt the doughnuts!

I am so happy not to be constipated anymore.

The electricity keeps going in and out here at Nyati House. What an adventure!

Look at that pretty canopy on our bed! JK IT'S A BUG NET SO WE DON'T GET MALARIA!

Look at that pretty canopy on our bed! JK, it’s a bug net so we don’t get malaria!

OCTOBER 6

Didn’t sleep much last night on account of a fussy stomach and “lucid dreams” about being sacrificed in the battle between leopard and cheetah. Still no power and no lights, but that makes me feel like I am really roughing it out here in my luxury cabin!

Started the day with a 6:30 AM chilly drive with John, including…

  • Tons and tons of impala and wildebeest and zebra
THERE ARE TOO MANY WILDEBEEST. And those are topis in the foreground. I like them because they look like they're wearing legwarmers kind of!

THERE ARE TOO MANY WILDEBEEST. And those are topis in the foreground. I like them because they look like they’re wearing legwarmers kind of!

  • Another lone giraffe!
  • Three hyena! Super scary! One had a carcass in its mouth!
MAAAAA SABWENYAAAAA! MAMA NEE SEE MA NAAAAA!

MAAAAA SABWENYAAAAA! MAMA NEE SEE MA NAAAAA!

  • Five giraffes and two were necking! That means fighting! They stand next to each other and flail their necks at each other wildly. It’s spastic and awesome.
Naturally after witnessing this act of tender aggression, I have started periodically "necking" Brian.

Naturally after witnessing this act of tender aggression, I have started periodically “necking” Brian.

  • Days-old zebra!
  • Lion pride of 10 lions! We saw eight cubs all hanging out together!
Pile-o-lions!

Pile-o-lions!

  • Four ellies and one was a baby! Then we saw eight more and there were two tiny babies!
Pro tip: Don't wear your hair down on a game drive. I still can't brush mine.

Pro tip: Don’t wear your hair down on a game drive. I still can’t brush mine.

  • OMG a 30-minute-old Thomsons Gazelle! Still wet from birth and running around on teeny wobbly legs! Then we saw another one a few minutes later!
Instead of having kids, I would instead like to accumulate lots of baby gazelles.

Instead of having kids, I would instead like to accumulate lots of baby gazelles.

LOOK AT HIM TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW LEGS WORK!!!

LOOK AT HIM TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW LEGS WORK!!!

We had breakfast at the river overlooking tons of hippos and crocodiles. We ate waffles. Hungry hungry hippos AKA Ali and Brian.

I call this photo "self portrait."

I call this photo “self portrait.”

Then we saw a family of warthogs with the four teensiest babies I have ever seen!!!

PUMBAA! Not in front of the kids!

PUMBAA! Not in front of the kids!

Then John worked really hard and found us a leopard! He was sleeping and hiding in a ditch! Silly guy. (The leopard, not John. John is a delight.)

I am sooooo not constipated anymore.

After lunch, we met John for a 4:25 PM drive! This time around…

  • FIRST SIGHTING WAS BABY GIRAFFES!!!!! The teensiest one ever! Just a few months old, John says, and another that was one year. The moms didn’t seem very attentive to their young. John says they are bad mothers! LOL, John!
HE'S SO TALL AND HANDSOME AS HELL.

HE’S SO TALL AND HANDSOME AS HELL.

  • Then I spotted two far away giraffes in the bush and John said, “Wow, good spot! Very good!” YET AGAIN I DAZZLE MY GUIDES WITH MY SHIFTY EYES.
  • Next we saw a male and female lion mate. She nuzzled up next to him, he was all whatever, so she nuzzled a little more, and then she was on all fours and he was doin’ her from behind. It lasted four seconds and then they both fell asleep. Lions, I’m telling ya…they know how to live life. And John says they will do this every 15 minutes for the next four days! We stayed with them for an hour or so but the male wouldn’t do it again. She kept trying but he was, as John said, “boring.”
NSFW!!!

NSFW!!!

  • Then we met a two-week-old jackal puppy! So sweet, like the tiniest pup ever. And then two more pups! Hiding in the den all cute.
OMG.

OMG.

OCTOBER 7

Another early morning, another cold morning, another electricity-less morning! I showered in the dark and I am still not at all constipated which has me a little nervous on these long drives! You can’t quite drop down and go when you’re in a pack of hungry big cats!

He couldn't figure out how to use his trunk to grab the grass, so he just dropped down to his knees and ate it with his mouth! The best!

He couldn’t figure out how to use his trunk to grab the grass, so he just dropped down to his knees and ate it with his mouth! The best!

I ate two biscuits for breakfast. OK technically they were chocolate chip cookies, but they call them “biscuits” here so bam, breakfast approved.

Another early drive to start the day…

  • First spots of the day were by me! A jackal and a lone giraffe. Once we reached the plains, the wildebeest seemed to have continued to multiply. They are everywhere.
  • Then we saw a line of giraffes walking across the horizon in front of the sunrise. Indescribable.
PHOTO BY ME. JK.

PHOTO BY ME. JK.

THEN IT HAPPENED. From all the way across the plain, John spotted the elusive cheetah! He said “cheetah” and Brian’s face lit up more than it did on our wedding day.

Ch-ch-ch-cheetah!

Ch-ch-ch-cheetah!

After watching the cheetah for 45 minutes, we were basically like, “OK, yay, we have seen it all! Now what?!” We said we would “just see what we see” and what do ya know, we immediately happened upon a gorgeous pair of lions right out in the open! A male with a luscious mane and a smokin’ hot female. We saw them mate.

Very primal. Very sexy.

Very primal. Very sexy.

Breakfast was in the middle of some bushes where there were probably lions. Safe enough!

PROBS SAFE.

PROBS SAFE.

Next we saw a herd of 10 ellies and three of them were tiny babies! We watched the five-month-old ellie learn to eat and use his trunk!

Good job, buddy!

Good job, buddy!

It was adorably sweet and hysterical and the little guy was so determined to get some grass but just couldn’t quite grasp the mechanics of how to make it happen.

OH. MY. GOD.

OH. MY. GOD.

Then I spotted a female hyena with a full belly! Brian and John told me “good job.” Then Brian spotted two more and John found three babies and said, “We are in hyena country!” Very safe!

We came back for lunch then took a long nap. I love to nap!

Then John picked us up for a 4:30 drive.

Topi!

Topi!

We saw all the usual suspects early on: tons of wildebeest, lots of impala and gazelles, zebra everywhere, and a bunch of perfect giraffes. Then we got to see our friends the jackal pups! All five of them playing! They had just eaten a Thomsons Gazelle. It’s the ciiiiiircle of life!

ELLIES AND ALI!

ELLIES AND ALI!

And then, as the sun started to set behind the pups, our car broke down. Nothing like being potentially stranded in lion country! OK ALL GOOD. Brian earned hero status by fixing the problem which I mean obviously was the cylinoid.

We drove around for a while and John was like “I guess the cats are not out tonight.” And then he spotted a lion. So he’s a liar. The lady lion had a wound from a fight with another female! John would not let me kiss it to make it better. Sometimes he has so many rules. But then he gave me chocolate chip cookies! Sorry I mean “biscuits.” John knows exactly how to cheer me up after he has broken my heart!

This is a real photo. It is not the cover of The Lion King DVD.

This is a real photo. It is not the cover of The Lion King DVD.

OCTOBER 8

Today we are off to the coast! But first, one last drive with our favorite John!

Bye bye, Nyati House :( Please invite us back soon (for free).

Bye bye, Nyati House 🙁 Please invite us back soon (for free).

He picked us up and drove us up a cool mountain. We were 5,600 feet up, and could see the entire Masai Mara.

Then John took us to a rhinoceros sanctuary. We got to walk right up close to the two rhinos, named Coffee and Queen Elizabeth!

They're kind of like chunky unicorns!

They’re kind of like chunky unicorns!

Next year they will mate and she has to be pregnant for 18 months. Nasty. That’s too much pregnant.

CHARGE!

CHARGE!

As a farewell, we did a quick drive through the bush and bam, Brian spotted three sleepy lions! Not a bad goodbye gift from the Mara.

We then saw a lone male giraffe — “big guy!” John says — who also wanted to say bye.

We drove to the Mara River and had lunch overlooking the hippos. We saw some of them mating. Hot.

DO U C THEM?

DO U C THEM?

While we were feasting on our spinach quiches and empanadas, a huge herd of zebra came running down to the river to drink! Wicked cool. “Very cool,” John says.

STAMPEDE!!!! Not really.

STAMPEDE!!!! Not really.

Then we said sad goodbyes and hugged John at the Mara North airstrip AKA a long line of dirt.

We are off to the coast!

Comments (16)
 
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