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Mara River Drive

Today the boys are taking me on a drive. A long drive to see the Mara River. This will be my first opportunity to see it and I am pretty excited. The morning is a little fresh whilst we drive along in the open vechicle but with a few strategically wrapped blankets I am snug as a bug as we drive through the Serengeti Park. The drive works it's way along a tsetse fly area which I didn’t know until I was bitten and uttered a loud expletive. Those things really do have a bite! I can’t believe they can get through all the layers but they are obviously a fly with a mission.

Halfway through our drive we are all searching for potential animal sightings my amazing tracker Jonathon yells out "lion" and points to the right. The guide and I are searching over the high grass and wondering if the tracker was correct, when we see the head of a lioness and off we go to see what is there. Driving slowly towards the sighting we come upon a clearing where we find three lionesses with about 12 cubs which the guide said was about 3-4 weeks old. The noise these cubs made was unbelievable and I felt as though I was in the maternity wing of a hospital. Then my guide pointed out to me that there were some more lionesses on the other side of the car. These two “aunts” were just hanging around and keeping the little ones in-check as they continued to cry for their mums and demand continuous feeding.

I was completely blown away with the magnitude of such a sighting and especially the size of one of the female lions. She was an unusual pale lemony color with piercing yellow eyes. I have never felt unnerved by a lion except when this mum gave me a look as she stood up during our sighting. She was an exceptionally beautiful and huge lioness.

The cubs continued to follow their mums around the car as they demanded to feed and the fight amongst them clamoring over their stomachs to find any available teat was hilarious. The pushing and shoving reminded me of the sibling rivalry amongst many families.

After a glorious 60 minutes watching these impressive cats we knew we had to hit the road again. We briefly stopped by to see the two dads who were off to the side, sleeping in the shade. They gave us a courteous glance and then laid their heads down to continue their rest.

Back on the road again we came upon elephants, giraffes and plains game before finally arriving at the Mara River. The water was very low and the resident crocodiles were all out sunbaking along the banks of the river. The size of these crocs is very impressive and coming from Oz I am always a little wary of these animals. These crocodiles certainly had a smile and more as they casually looked over at the potential meal that my guides and I seemed. After the customary photos and videos we returned back to the car to prepare our lunch.

I really can’t say enough about the food on this trip and once again I was pleasantly surprised with a fabulous chicken and salad lunch, cold South African white wine and desert that I forgot about.  It was brilliant to sit down with the guys, enjoy a meal and a chat. This was one of the highlights of being alone in the car and enjoying each other’s company as we shared the beauty of the area.

After packing up our meal we were then ready to head back to camp. Maybe it was all the good food at lunch but we ended up getting our axle stuck on a ridge on our way out and therefore the wheels had no traction. The boys showed their brilliance and bush craft knowledge by getting out the winch, lifting the wheels and throwing some branches underneath and within 10 minutes we were on our way again.

The drive home was not as memorable as the drive in apart from the incredible sighting of a black rhino on the side of a hill at least a few kilometers away. Once again the guide and I were stunned at the brilliance of the spotting and we drove along the road watching the rhino for a few minutes before we moved on again.

We finally reached home as it was getting dark and it was time for dinner. A brilliant day out with unbelievable sightings and I didn’t even see another car for the whole day!


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