|Wednesday 15th August - Kenya - Masai Mara to Tanzania - Musoma
This morning the Germans were ready earlier than we were and so they set off, promising to text us with GPS coordinates if they came across anything interesting. Our main hope for today was to see big cats.
Just after we left camp we got a message from Corina and Joerg to say that theyd found a family of lions. As we hurried to join them we came across a couple of stationary vehicles and so we went over to see what they were watching. It turned out to be cheetahs 4 of them. It was wonderful to see them and we watched them for quite some time. We texted our German friends to tell them about the cheetahs and then we headed off to the lions. There were a couple of adult lionesses with a few (maybe 3 or 4) younger lions not baby cubs, but perhaps adolescents. As we watched them they lazed in the sun and got up to wander down to a nearby stream for a drink. It was just fantastic to see them. Meanwhile our German friends were over visiting the cheetah family. They met us back at the lions and we congratulated each other on our successful morning.
Many people mention the big crowds of tourists that congregate in the Masai Mara. We had envisaged dozens of vehicles crowding round every animal. Our experience was very different from that. Perhaps it was to do with the time of year that we visited the Mara, but the only time we felt crowded-out was when we had a picnic lunch today at a picnic spot close to the hippo pools. During yesterdays drive in the park we saw remarkably few other vehicles and today when we watched the big cats there was never more than 4 vehicles around.
Another feature of the Masai Mara is thick, cloying mud. Apparently in the rainy season there are times when everything gets stuck. On a couple of occasions today we drove through what looked like a simple little muddy dip but was in reality a worrying, slidy pit. Thankfully we always managed to get out!
The first buffalo we saw today was a huge, lone bull. He looked very imposing. Even in the Landcruiser we would not have liked to take him on. Later in the day, just before the park exit, we drove towards, and then through, a huge herd of buffalo. We think the herd was made up of female buffalos and their calves, there didnt seem to be any males around.
We also saw a lone, large elephant ambling along through savanna grass and acacia trees. Picture postcard stuff.
We left the park via the gate in the northwest. The landscape in this area is beautiful. There is an enormous escarpment running along the edge of the park here and the plains below are just what you imagine a game park should look like.
The road from the park to the Tanzanian border was very rough well not exactly. It was more like a fairly smooth road with occasional, enormous chasms, ruts and holes - acting like some kind of nasty trap for distracted drivers. The last 20km in Kenya were beautifully smooth tarmac and this continued to our destination for the night Musoma in Tanzania on the edge of Lake Victoria.
As we approached Lake Victoria the sun was setting, although we unfortunately didnt get to the lake in time to see it. For the last hour or so of driving Alasdair was feeling pretty rotten with a sore head probably the effect of a punishing schedule over the last few days. By late evening he was feeling a bit rested and a lot better so hopefully hell be OK tomorrow.
We are staying tonight in Tembo Camp along with lots of other overlanders, all in big organised overland trucks, taking up to 20 passengers each.