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Magical Mara

I was up nice and early to organize myself before heading to the airstrip for my early flight up to the Masai Mara. Unbeknownst to me was that I was catching two flights. One from the Lobo Airstrip up to the border, a drive across the border to complete the necessary formalities and then another flight into the Mara. My pilot arrived early so a quick goodbye to my wonderful guide and into the co-pilots seat. The female pilot explained that I was the only guest and she graciously allowed me to join her up front. With a quick taxi down the runway, we turned around and were off. The views from above are always amazing and I vowed to return to Tanzania to see more of the country as a couple of tears escaped from understanding that this part of my adventure was over.

Upon the completion of the border formalities and then another quick drive to the next airstrip I was welcomed by my next pilot who also let me know that it was just me joining him for the flight up to the Mara. What a privilege, as he too allowed me to sit up front in the co-pilots seat. This pilot was definitely a character and he shared with me some great stories as we flew into the Mara. He asked me if I wanted to see some animals so as we fly over the escarpment we flew down low and saw lots of wildlife and then buzzing the tops of the trees along the Mara River we embanked and landed on the Kichwa Tembo Airstrip.

I was greeted by the camp manager, my room steward and my guide Charity, who was one of the first female guides in the Mara area. I had read about Charity and requested that she be my guide which andBeyond arranged at the last minute. Unbeknownst to me Charity was due to leave for her vacation and I was thankful that she was able to join me during my first trip to the Mara. andBeyond Bateleur had pulled out all the stops with my arrival and I was welcomed with drinks and a flyover from the pilot as he left to return to Nairobi.

The Mara was hot and super sticky but Charity was keen to get out and see what we could find before returning for a late lunch. The triangle was at its best, not full of tourists and plenty of animals. Immediately I was blessed with sightings of big cats sleeping the day away, giraffes and eles eating before heading to the trees to take solace from the heat and plenty of plains game spread throughout as well as lots of young. Around 1pm we headed back into camp so that I could refresh and refuel. The humidity was a killer and a cold shower was desperately needed.

I enjoyed another fabulous meal sitting outside under a large tree watching the bush world go by before it was time for Charity to collect me for my afternoon game drive. I was super lucky again to be the only guest in the car. The other guests in camp had their own private cars so I was in luck again. Charity and I set out to see what we could find with cats and kills the priority. The cats were a given but there were no kills that afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed driving with Charity who was able to share her experiences as a female in a tough male dominated environment and of course the great stories of being in the bush and working with tourists.

We were the last to return back to camp, which is how I prefer it, you never know what you might see at the last minute. A quick shower, and then some time to relax with an apertivo, before settling down for a lovely meal listening to the sounds of the bush before retiring to bed for another days adventure.

Where I Stayed - andBeyond's Bateleur Camp, Mara Triangle, Kenya

Bateleur Camp is the expensive smaller sister to very large Kichwa Tembo Camp which was next door and going through an extensive refurbishment. The camp was divided into two with each camp having 8 tents with their own common area. The permanent tented structures were well established so the native vegetation concealed the tents nicely from the outside but allowed views from each deck. The rooms were kitted out nicely included the fabulous andBeyond’s comfortable beds, desk, table, sitting area, wardrobe and of course the large and well equipped bathroom (no bath unfortunately). The common area was a mix of indoor and outdoor depending on the weather. The staff and their level of service was of course excellent and word must have been passed on that I was a lover of a nice Bacardi and coke and everyone’s favorite African tipple an Amarula. Food of course was above expectations for a property of this repute and there was always two options plus a vegetarian as a third for every meal.


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