After breakfast at Lake Nakuru Lodge we left at 7.45am for the long drive to the Masai Mara stopping along the way in Naivasha at the new Buffalo Mall for a Java house coffee. Interestingly they ask if you would like ‘anything to bite’. The last 70kilometres to the main gate took us over two hours. It was a rough road indeed with a lot of corrugation and dust. Many people have been protesting and complaining for years because of the bad condition of the road to the main tourist attraction in Kenya, the Masai Mara. The theory by many is that the politicians and the air companies who fly people into the Mara from Nairobi and take others back who will not do the drive twice are fearful that they will lose business. There is no other logical explanation according to our driver. Most other roads in the country have been upgraded with much less traffic. In addition to that, the hard shoulder where driving would be preferable is littered by large rocks placed there by the Masai who for unknown reasons don’t want drivers there, even though that land does not belong to them.
Once we had passed the main gate we could start a game drive where we saw many elephants, zebra and four lionesses who had full stomachs and were sleeping. They had killed a wilderbeest which lay under the bushes to avoid detection by the vultures so that the females could go back for more food at a later date.

We also saw many migrating wilderbeest who had not yet returned to Tanzania because of late rains which gave them lush grasses to eat across the savannah. Francis our driver/guide drove us to a plinth that had T and K on it – for it was the border as such between Tanzania and Kenya.
The scenery in the Masai Mara is something that I always remembered as being so beautiful and it has not been spoiled by many camps or lodges even though they have increased in number but are well hidden. In the two days we only saw one other lodge high on a hill outside the park.
The Mara Serena lodge where I stayed many years before had been refurbished extensively both in the standard of rooms and a new lobby/shop/viewing area and increased space in the bar and restaurant area had been added. The pool and the fireplace were the only features that were the same. We were advised by the staff not to keep the doors to the balcony open if we were not sitting there because the baboons have been known to come in and take bags, cameras and any items they could get their hands on. The only downside were a couple of loud toddlers at dinner so the manager allocated us a nice quiet table away from the terrors for each mealtime. The next day the staff asked if we would like to have a private meal by the pool to which we of course agreed.
Our morning game drive was over a few hours and we saw more wildlife including a large herd of about 30 elephants with a very small baby and another few lazy lions under a tree. We opted not to do the afternoon game drive but instead relax in our room so that we could catch up with emails, blog etc.
That evening we were shown to a lovely private spot overlooking the pool complete with brazier to keep us warm (it wasn’t that cold but it was very atmospheric) and we had a menu with several choices and a dedicated waiter. It was a lovely experience which we were not expecting. The manager came to make sure everything was alright.
I don’t know whether the meal was in response to our complaint of the noise level in the restaurant or because they were amazed that I had stayed there so long ago.
Whatever the reason it was very generous of the manager and we will definately go back one day to the Masai Mara and stay at the Serena Mara lodge.
We were sad to leave the Mara the next morning after breakfast for another long drive back to Nairobi which took us via another part of the Masai Mara on not so bad a road and then via the wider Rift Valley on the Italian road – a road and church built by Italian prisoners of war in 1942. I remembered it being a horrendous drive but the road had probably been resurfaced many times and was a pleasure to drive on other than with the trucks that used the same road.
I erroneously thought that it would be hotter at the equator but it was cool in the early morning and evening with the locals wearing big coats and around 26-28degrees during the day.
We were back at the hotel by 3.30pm and had a quiet evening repacking our bags in readiness for our flight to Mombasa the following morning.
There are 41 tribes in Kenya with most getting on. The only troublesome ones apparently are in the north where they still practise witchcraft and kill each other.
There is a lot of intermarriage between the tribes Masai and Kikuyu and others. The Masai don’t really work other than tending their cattle but a lot of Masai communities now send their children to school. Most wear vibrant coloured red or orange fabric over their other clothes. They are no longer nomadic and many of them are building concrete and corrugated iron roofed houses instead of the traditional mud ones. The Masai who do work are easily identifiable because of their height and there are also some extremely tall women.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.