Masai Mara-Kenya-Africa-One of the most popular holiday destinations
Africa is one of the finest wildlife destinations in the world. Being a wildlife lover, I visited Masai Mara (Kenya) national reserve, one of the most popular holiday destinations, and realized that it offers much more than the famous Big 5 (Lion, Elephant, Leopard, Buffalo, and Rhinoceros). While the silent and vast savannah welcomed me with open arms, balanite trees being few and far between on the almost treeless plain seemed magically mysterious. This got me only more excited to go for the game drive.
The most thrilling part about the game drive was that when I expected to see a Giraffe, I spotted a Zebra. When I anticipated seeing a Zebra, I had a herd of Impalas beside my open Land Rover. It was a delight to see the animals as free as air. I suddenly became critical of zoos and circuses and keeping animals in captivity. All creatures deserve a life free from fear and pain.
Just like there are house rules in a hotel, there are a few tips to follow on a wildlife safari.
1) Follow the guide blindly
Following your guide’s instructions is the most important thing, period. All the guides are local and well experienced with the activities of wild animals in the national park/wildlife reserve. They understand what sound of which animal indicates what. For example, they will know it when the lion or hyena any other predator is approaching the dazzle of zebras by their loud to each other.
2) Learn to hold your pee or inform your guide in advance
Untouched jungles like Masai Mara national reserve or Serengeti (Tanzania) national park won’t give you the convenience of public toilets. You will have to pee in open. Inform your guide about it at least 15 minutes in advance. The simple reason is that the jeep cannot be stopped just randomly anywhere. You need to understand that you are in the jungle along with wild animals. And the predators very well know how to attack their prey. Your guide will find a safe place where other preys (herbivorous) are also safe.
3) If it’s not subtle put it back
Avoid wearing bright colors while on a game drive. The best safari colors to wear are khaki, brown, olive. Flashy colors may sometimes scare away the animals or make them aggressive. Also, colors like dark black and dark blue should be given a miss to avoid attracting insects.
4) Do not litter around
This is a basic hygiene etiquette most people practice every day. Won’t you get angry when a guest comes to your home and throw the cookies wrapper around? The national reserve that gives you the experience of a lifetime is home to wild animals. Do not spoil their small world by throwing even food items. When you complete the first game drive, you realize how priceless the wildlife is, for the planet.
5) Keep calm and capture a perfect photograph
On a safari, your guide stops the open jeep occasionally so that you can indulge in some wildlife photography and selfies. Now, that surely is going to make you feel excited. But hold your horses and be calm if you do not want the animals to get scared and run away. Animals like Giraffes, Antelopes, Zebras, Impalas get alarmed and panicky even when your guide puts the brakes or presses the accelerator. Try your best to not make them feel frightened.
6) Keep an eye out for the smaller creatures
Temper your expectations! Unlike what many wildlife documentaries pertain to show about most popular holiday destinations, you won’t see lions and elephants around every corner. As a result, you must look at the bigger picture. It is often the smaller animals, birds, and insects that bring vibrancy and color into your bush experience.
7) Stay low key
One of the best moments during an African safari is spotting the big 5. It feels like an achievement if you can see all the big 5. Your guide stops the jeep at a distance from the lion and the leopard which is close enough to let you click good photos. The most important thing to follow here is keeping a low profile. Don’t talk loudly or move abruptly near them. You never know when they had their last meal. Well, I am just kidding. No animal would attack you unless you provoke them. But there is one thing you should be aware of. Although Cat family seems to be the most dangerous, it turns out that the Rhinoceros could be more threatening. They can turn your jeep upside down if they get aggressive.
The vast savannah and prolific wildlife in Masai Mara are breath-taking and you will surely take a lot of unforgettable memories back home. The feeling is truly something to be experienced than to be expressed. The best way to preserve those memories is by following your guide and being a responsible tourist.
The still climate in the mornings or late afternoons and evenings and the vividity of the natural canvas keep you clicking pictures. Do not blame yourself if you find yourself in the loss of words to describe the indigeneity of one of the most popular holiday destinations of the magnificent African land.