I had a dream…not like that of Martin Luther King, Jr……but to go for an African Safari! Those famous movies like “ Ivory Hunters”, “Hatari”, “The Drums of Destiny” and of course, “Tarzan” during my boyhood days and with the advent of Television episodes in “Nat Geo”, “The Animal Planets” etc. during later years must have fuelled my imagination!
Being a very private person, I wanted to take only my daughter ( Sudeshna / Rini.. residing in USA) along and started making all arrangements to be in “Masai Mara”, Kenya during “Wildebeest (Gnu)” migration i.e. sometime during July (starting of migration from Serengeti to Masai Mara across the Mara river) to October ( return migration from Masai Mara to Serengeti). But once during a gathering, I divulged my plan and one of my friends wanted to join us along with his wife and I really could not refuse him. At a later date I also included one of my recently acquired travelling companion……excellent photographer and a prolific writer….as a balancer!
One of my friend “Debasis” who made a similar trip along with his wife a couple of years back was of great help in terms of suggesting itinerary and names of tour operators as well as other valuable suggestions on actual Safari.
We ….four from India and my daughter from USA…..finally decided to be in Nairobi, Kenya on 15th October, 2013 and start our Safari on 16th Morning. Our itinerary was …16th at Sweetwaters, Aberdare, 17th at Lake Elementaita and then two days at Masai Mara before returning to Nairobi and then finally to our respective destination, after a night rest in Nairobi.
Prayers & good wishes from all the well-wishers did help and we all could return safe from a very successful Safari with more than our expectation! We started with too much of anxiety which we could later found unfounded!
A beautiful country with friendly people, an excellent driver cum guide (Moses), a brand new 4X4 Land Cruiser, excellent Hotel (Hilton, Nairobi), Tented camps ( Sweetwaters, Aberdares and Lake Elementaita Serena) and Safari lodge (Mara Serena, Masai Mara), sighting of all the Big Five and more ( they are just beautiful people….very docile and loved to be photographed), Hot air balloon ride in clear sky to locate animals followed by a Champagne-Breakfast, tasting of exotic barbequed meat of Ostrich and Crocodile …..what more a mere mortal could expect from LIFE!
I have taken more than 1900 shots with my DSLR fitted with telephoto lens, not to mention videos and still photographs taken by my daughter (who has already started uploading some in FB) and my other friends…… so selection is a big problem since all of them are better than the other! Anyway, I have selected some 318 photos ( including 56 shots for birds) which I hope to upload in FB and my Blog in 18 instalments! There could also be some slip…..i being a senior citizen by all standard!
After going through all those photographs, if you are still having some patience left then I will further bore you by presenting some tips on Safari based on my extensive research work and personal experience!