Sunday, May 2, 2010

Safari to the Maasai Mara on the southwest border of Kenya

Our group was composed of 29 people made up of: 10 Senior Missionary Couples from the Kenya Nairobi Mission; i Missionary Couple from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; our Mission President's sister and her husband; and 5 offsprings of 3 different couples. The flight from Nairobi to the Maasai Mara, a game park on the southwestern border between Kenya and Tanzania, took about 45 minutes. It was the first time Karen and I had flown in such small planes. It required 3 single engine-12 passenger planes to get us all there. As we flew west over the Great Rift Valley, the scenery was spectacular. The long rainy season has made everything emerald green. It reminded me of the pictures I had seen of Ireland. The plane that we flew in had to make 1 stop before our stop. The landing strips were just gravel roads.

As we landed at our destination, our guides met us in 6 large green Land Rovers to transport us from the airstrip to Camp Intrepid. Upon arrival at the camp we were assigned to our tents. Each couple got a tent that was surrounded by lush green foliage and was far enough away from the neighboring tents to provide privacy. The veranda of each tent overlooked the Mara River. A 4 ft. high electric fence was all that separated us from the critters on the other side of the river. We were also informed that whenever we left our tent, we needed to prop the two deck chairs in front of the front zipper of our tent, because the local monkeys had learned how to unzip the front flap to get at any food or other goodies inside.

After settling into our tent we went for a great four course buffet lunch. There was then about an hour and a half to nap, visit the gift shop, or explore the camp before our first game drive. As much as I enjoy a good nap, we choose to explore.

Posing at the airstrip after arriving safely at the Mara!

This is not your typical Boy Scout tent! It had hardwood floors, a flush toilet, shower, his and hers vanity, mosquito netting for the beds. At night after we returned to our tents from our 4 star restaurant dinner, we found that some one had put a hot water bag in our beds so we had warm beds to crawl into. In the morning they brought us hot chocolate as a wake up call.
This the group with whom we went on all of the game drives (2 or 3 each day for 3 days). Our guide/driver was a Masai native who was extremely knowledgeable about all of the animals and where and when to find them. His christian name is James or as he said "James Bond". The other 2 couples are the McBrides who serve their mission in Mombasa, Kenya (on our left) and the Burgeners who serve in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania-he is a counselor to the Mission Presidency (on James' left).

One of the monkeys in our camp.

The King of the Beasts "Simba"


Burdett Family said...

Are you sure on a mission or are you just out there having fun? Cause that's sure what it looks like to me. Love all the pictures.

Todd said...


Robyn said...

When I read tent I had no idea :) Looks like you were treated very well. I love the pictures - it is hard to imagine being close enough to snap these shots. My favorite is the zebras.

Connie and Daniel Biggs Family said...

So did you zoom in to take the pictures or were you really that close? These are really neat pictures. I agree with the first comment, are you sure you're on a mission and that tent looks like a pretty nice hotel room. Thx for sharing. We love you both.