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The Ultimate Wildlife Expedition: Our Unforgettable Journey to Masai Mara - Episode 1

Welcome to Masai Mara National Park!

Prepare to be transported into the heart of the wild as we recount our exhilarating adventure in Masai Mara, a realm where nature reigns supreme and every moment is an encounter with the extraordinary. Join us as we delve into the depths of this iconic safari destination, where the thrill of spotting the Big Five and beyond awaits.

So it was a long due trip under planning and after a lot of wait we decided to venture int the wild land of Masai Mara in February 2024 as it was our Anniversary and we wanted to make it special in our way! So we started planning for this trip and as it is quite a planning to be done like for Flights to Nairobi, then to Mara, planning for accommodation, Safari's, other adventure activities, we decided to use an agency or some trip operator instead of planning on our own as this was our first trip to Mara and didn't wanted to take chances. I found one of my friend/acquaintance who helped me connect with a person who runs a company (Wildphoto Adventures) and organises these tours. He convinced me that he will do a good job and make this a memorable trip so I decided to go with him.. though it turned out to be a sub-sub-optimal experience with him (will write a separate blog post on my experience on him but in short it was not such a well organised trip and we had many sub-optimal experiences and misses from their side. I will surely NOT recommend anyone using them for sure unless you're ok with getting scammed and having sub-optimal experiences!! Anyway irrespective of the misses, we enjoyed every bit of our time without worrying too much about the misses. We also had to cut short our trip due to a family emergency so that became a bummer as well but nevertheless whatever time we spent, was good!


  • Vaccinations: It is mandatory to have a Yellow Fever Vaccine dose done before you enter Africa and we had to get this done as well 2 weeks before we took the flight. The vaccine is given only at some of the authorised centres in India and in Bangalore we had to get it done from the Sir CV Raman General Hospital, Indiranagar. For the appointment, you have to take prior appointment and if you walk-in, it is first come first serve basis. It takes about 2 hours for the entire process from registration to vaccine so plan accordingly when you go. The facility and doctors are pretty good per the government standards and it was a pleasant experience. As we were travelling to Africa, they also gave us a dose of Polio drops which seems like a mandatory thing as well for kids and adults both.

  • Flights: There were not many options for direct flights to Nairobi so we had to take a connecting flight from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The rates were cheaper than other airlines like Emirates and the experience was good as well.

  • Forex: It is advisable to take some cash in USD and then get it converted in Nairobi in Shillings before you get to Mara else you may have difficulties in encashing or converting. Also the prices in Nairobi are cheaper than Mara so if you want a good rate then do the conversion in Nairobi. We got the rate of 1USD = 135 Shillings at Nairobi and at Mara where we had to shop for Souvenir's it was priced in-between 115-126. It is important to keep some dollars as well as many resorts and shop may and may not take shillings but they take US dollars .. even the street food vendors and the people selling art and craft at National park gates :) Anyway, keep some cash with you to be safe.

  • Mobile connectivity: It is important to either have international roaming on your phone or buy a local SIM from Nairobi when you land to stay connected during your trip to Mara. There are multiple companies selling these outside the airport and we bought from Safaricom as we were recommended and they seemed to have the best connectivity which was true. We bough a 20GB data pack for 20$ which was sufficient for the entire trip.

  • Safari Vehicles: You'll need to or recommended that you pre-book the Safari vehicles before you land at Nairobi. Mostly all the tour operators provide an all inclusive package for Accommodation, Safari Vehicle, Driver, Guide, Food etc. so it is highly recommended to pre-book these to have a good experience. The company we used had provided a Land Cruiser vehicle which was good for Safari's and general use for the trip. We asked for an open Jeep/Vehicle but when we arrived at Mara, we realised that we have a closed LC than an open Jeep which was "Promised" to us as a part of package. We kept this vehicle eventually as we found this better after doing one safari.. but its your choice at the end on what kind of vehicle you need.

  • Accommodation: As we had opted for a complete package, the accommodation was a part of it. There are multiple kind of accommodations available at Masai Mara and depending upon the budget and taste, you may want to opt for the property that suits you. Prices are subjective and depends upon factors like time of the year, location (within or outside the national park), luxury or basic etc. We stayed at multiple properties but at Mara we were at Keekorok Lodge which was a decent property. This is where our company first booked us on another property and switched to this one "without even informing us". I had serious trust issues with this company now but since I had paid almost full amount, couldn't do anything. I only got to know about this 2-3 days before the trip and that was too late to do any changes so I settled with it. Anyway, if you're planning for a trip here, I would recommend stay inside the park and not outside as its quite a long drive to come into the park if you're staying outside and you'll end up wasting a lot of time coming in and going out of park.

  • Camera gear and gadgets to bring: Well if you're coming to Mara for photography purposes and are a good photographer, then you'll know what to bring. But if you're not sure, here is what I'll recommend to bring

    • 3 Camera Bodies

    • 3 Lenses (1 x Wide for Landscapes, 1 x Mid range for closer action and sightings, 1 x Telephoto for far shots)

    • Extra batteries

    • Multiple Memory cards as you'll shoot a lot here

    • Dust Covers for protecting your gear from dust

    • A bag for carrying this gear in safari vehicle

    • Sand bag is a must. No need of tripod unless you're doing videos.

    • Charging gear and International Power sockets as many properties might not have the plug you use in your country.

Some of the shots from our trip.. this is just a gimpse! Picture abhi baaki hai :)

Getting to Masai Mara: We took a flight to Masai Mara from Nairobi which was just 30 mins flight. It was a small plane with 16+ seater configuration and was pretty ok for a short flight. The experience at the airport was awesome! The airport for this flight was as small as a living room :) with little to no procedure. We also arrived late or almost bang on time for the flight so we had to rush through the little security area, scan our bags, and head to the plan directly.

Views from the plane on the way to Masai Mara

Welcome to Masai Mara airstrip :)

In a short time we were at the Mara strip where there were a tons of people selling art and souvenir's of Mara. The prices here were decent and lesser than anything you would get in Souvenir shops so if you like something here, do buy from here..

Photo opp. with our plane :)

Market run by locals at Mara Airstrip

We bought some good stuff from here at some good prices.. remember to bargain here as the prices they tell you are really high but they bargain a lot .. so anything like 50-60% discount on original prices should be the starting point.

Photo opp. with the local shop owner

after this we went to our Lodge, Muthu Keekorok lodge which was about 20-30 mins drive only from the airstrip. Our driver (Freddy) and "so-called" guide (Bernard) were supposed to be with us and would stay with us for the rest of the trip.

Our Land Cruiser for the rest of the trip

Our driver for the rest of the trip, Freddy driving us to the lodge along with the guide assigned who is not seen in picture here and was not seen on multiple days on the trip also :) :) Didn't knew why he was even there with us.. more to come on this later..

Our driver for the rest of the trip, Freddy. He was the highlight of the trip and was a gem of a person. He knew everything about the place, the species that existed and had great knowledge about the park. He has a great attitude towards his customers (us) and was always looking forward to going an extra mile to make the trip memorable. We truly appreciate his knowledge and skills of driving through the harsh land of Masai National Park. Thank you Freddy! Keep doing the great work!

Our Land Cruiser for the rest of the trip

The property we stayed at at Mara - Muthu Keekorok Lodge


To be continued in next blog posts..

A Safari Adventure Like No Other:

From the moment we set foot in Masai Mara, we were captivated by its untamed beauty. Our days were filled with pulse-quickening game drives, each one unveiling a kaleidoscope of wildlife wonders. With eager anticipation, we embarked on our quest to witness the Big Five – lions, elephants, buffalos, leopards, and rhinos – in their natural habitat.

Close Encounters with Majestic Beasts:

Our efforts were richly rewarded as we crossed paths with these magnificent creatures, each sighting leaving us spellbound. From the powerful presence of lions lounging lazily in the sun to the gentle giants, elephants, gracefully traversing the savannah, every encounter was a testament to the awe-inspiring diversity of Masai Mara's wildlife.

A Tapestry of Wildlife Spectacles:

But the wonders of Masai Mara extend far beyond the Big Five. We were treated to a spectacle of wildlife scenes, from the graceful giraffes delicately plucking leaves from towering acacia trees to the playful antics of frolicking zebras painting the landscape with their distinctive stripes. Each moment was a brushstroke in a masterpiece of natural splendor.

Cultural Immersion and Conservation Commitment:

Amidst our wildlife expeditions, we had the privilege of engaging with the Maasai people, whose deep connection to the land is woven into the fabric of Masai Mara. We were welcomed into their villages with open arms, immersing ourselves in their vibrant culture and gaining a newfound appreciation for their harmonious coexistence with nature.

And as we embarked on our journey home, our hearts were filled with gratitude for the opportunity to experience Masai Mara's wonders. Yet, our adventure was more than just a fleeting glimpse of the wild; it was a testament to the importance of conservation and sustainable tourism. Through our experiences, we became fervent advocates for the preservation of this pristine ecosystem, knowing that by protecting Masai Mara, we safeguard not only its wildlife but also the cultural heritage of its people.

In Conclusion:

Our journey to Masai Mara was a symphony of sights, sounds, and emotions, a testament to the profound beauty and boundless wonder of the natural world. As we reflect on our unforgettable adventure, we are reminded that in the wilderness of Masai Mara, every moment is a treasure, every encounter a gift. And though our footsteps may have faded from its golden plains, the memories of our time in this magical land will forever endure, beckoning us back to its embrace time and time again.


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