DREAM SAFARI IN THE MAASAI MARA.
For years, a safari has sat top spot on my bucket list and after numerous visits to Kenya for GB training camps, we finally got the opportunity to head out to the Maasai Mara. We set off straight after my last race of 2018, in order to squeeze in a quick visit to the Maasai Mara and what a visit it was! Although we only had a short time frame, our experience was incredible and we encountered more wildlife than we could have ever imagined.
We stayed at the Porini Lion Camp which is situated in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy. Located on the very tip of the Maasai Mara, we were blown away by this small and exclusive eco-camp. The conservancy is 33,000 acres – set aside for animal conservation and low impact tourism. With only ten tents, the camp is very relaxed and smack bang in the middle of all the action. Our tent was simple but beautiful with a big comfortable double bed, a flush toilet and a hot bucket shower which could accommodate two with everything being solar-powered. The thing that really blew us away were the staff. Every single person was lovely and went above and beyond to make our stay a wonderful experience. Considering you’re out in the bush with no restrictions or fences around the tents, the wildlife does get pretty close throughout the night – so make sure you bring some earplugs! Night time is certainly an experience. We had some monkeys run over the top of our tent with a hippo outside the front making one hell of a racket. Amazing.
Our main reason for choosing Porini was opportunity to go on so many game drives within the one day, all included within our stay. We were up at 5.30am and straight out to explore. The first morning we had an incredible bush breakfast out at the Mara River, overlooking the hippos. Within one day, we had managed to spot all of the big five (other than a rhino – but we saw this in Nairobi before we travelled to the Mara!). And even just ten minutes from landing off the plane, we witnessed our first animal and first kill; a cheetah pack chasing down a gazelle. Straight away we were thrown into the action and couldn’t believe just how close we could get to it all. Truly amazing and a world apart from seeing animals stuck behind cages in the zoo. This was wildlife at it’s finest.
The day and night safari game drives really gave us the best opportunity to spot every animal we wanted to see and our guides Christopher and Wilfred were brilliant. You get a strong sense of their love for these animals and can feel their positivity beaming as they recall stories of what they’ve witnessed over the years.
This area in particular is popular for big cats. We managed to see a new litter of little lion cubs alongside two separate pride of lions. The most elusive of them all is the leopard and although she was a little trickier to track down, we finally got to witness Figlett roaming around hunting and playing with some birds down by the river. We followed her for a little while and it was truly incredible. Just before the sunset, a lion almost attacked poor Figlett but she managed to escape up a tree just in time! We couldn’t believe we had watched all this within 24 hours – like we were in a David Attenborough documentary.
There is no doubt about it – we’ll be back. Two days was incredible and we saw everything we wanted to see but the most amazing thing about each safari game drive you go on is it’s completely unpredictable. No day is alike and what you saw one day will be entirely different to the next. It’s that excitement that makes the whole experience so enthralling. We can’t wait to come back again but our experience with Porini was so incredible that we will most likely be heading to try out another one of their camps within a different location. They have other camps across Kenya and Africa that focus on different aspects of the wildlife but if big cats are what you’re after then I would highly recommend Porini Lion Camp!
Pack some light linen clothes as it does get hot during the day but be sure to bring a wooly jumper for the evenings as you’ll be surprised at how cold it can get when the sunsets. My outfits are linked here (shirt was old ALL SAINTS):
Balloon Monki Jumper
Bring binoculars. These were the best things we bought! Not only could we see the wildlife so clearly but the pair we bought also had an attachment for our mobile phone so we could take incredible videos and pictures too.
The game vehicles are all equipped with plug sockets so make sure you bring your phone chargers and spare camera batteries as you are out all day and will constantly be taking snaps! We bought a brand new memory card and took over 1,000 pictures of our time!
Leave your big bags at the airport. The small internal flight to the Olare airstrip only allows small luggage bags of 15kg but they do hold your larger luggage in secure storage if you are travelling onwards after your trip to the Mara.
Invest in a good camera. The best thing we did was buy a telescopic lens. If you have the luxury of buying one then we highly recommend it. My family were asking if we had a professional photographer take the pictures because they didn’t believe we had taken them ourselves! But, I would say that in this conservancy it’s the closest you’ll get to the animals so it’s not entirely necessary as the vehicles do go off the beaten track at Porini Lion Camp giving you the best opportunity to get some great shots!
Watch our full adventure on Youtube: