A special corner of the Masai Mara in December
I’ve just returned from 5 weeks in Kenya and a very special final weekend in the Private Wing at Mara BushCamp.
After an (unwanted) two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, when the UK removed Kenya from its tough red list – I quickly investigated flights. My work allows me to work remotely, and I wanted to get back to Kenya once again.
A digital nomad in the Mara
My moto was pretty simple: work during the week, wildlife at the weekends. I would be a digital nomad in a land of nomads. I knew the places I wanted to visit but needing to be online for work meant I required a strong internet connection. I was initially based in Nairobi during the week and then visited various conservancies and national parks at the weekends.
So as my final week in Kenya approached, I knew I wanted to be in the Mara. Ideally in an unfenced camp, with a lovely tent to call home for a few nights, wifi for work – and of course, daily game drives. From my first email correspondence with Sonam I had a great feeling about the Mara BushCamp – and upon arrival this was only confirmed.
After an introduction to the team and a refreshing drink, I was shown to my spacious and beautifully furnished luxury safari tent, aptly named ‘Lioness’. There was desk for working – but in fact the sofa on the wide veranda surrounded by trees was my preferred spot for working.
My first passer-by was a curious looking solo dikdik and then the occasional baboon would walk or run past in the distance whilst I typed away.
The BushCamp is positioned alongside the Olare Orok and the bellows of the hippo population could be heard throughout my stay. If you haven’t heard hippos – it reminds me of a deep belly laugh, amplified. There is a decked hippo viewing spot at the back of the camp to see them during the day and some of the tents overlook the river.
My guide was Lenny, a nature and photography enthusiast. He would prove to be a bit of an animal behaviour specialist also – managing to predict what a number of the Mara’s big cats would do next and positioning us accordingly to capture it on camera. Each day would start with a friendly wakeup call at my agreed time along with the hot chocolate I’d requested – and home made cookies which were delicious! Lenny and I would start our days early with a packed breakfast each to ensure we didn’t need to return too soon.
So what animals will you see in the Masai Mara?
It’s difficult to know exactly what you will see but there is a strong chance of lions, zebra, giraffe, elephants, buffalo, hippos, warthogs, impala, and other antelopes and an impressive array of birds, including raptors, to name but a few. I was surprised by how many wildebeest there were early in December, but apparently some had returned from Tanzania (some will also be resident). I saw a lot more than when I had been in the Mara 5 weeks earlier, and the resident big cats and hyena seemed very happy with this volume of prey to choose from.
There were also cheetah and leopards – Lenny and I had an amazing sighting of a female leopard who just walked along in front of us for about 7-8 minutes then grabbed what looked like a rodent, a snack. At this point she disappeared into a bush and we were joined by a few other cars.
A serval cat crossed our path as we drove back to camp one evening which was a beautiful sight. There were a lot of cubs of various ages, and interesting clan behaviour from the hyenas which were also very audible at night from the tent. On one occasion a group of 20-30 hyena were nosily trying to intimidate 3 male lions who were on a wildebeest kill. One of the more stubborn males started a low call and the intimidation tactics stopped.
One of my favourite things about being on safari is the noises you hear at night. Canvas allows for everything to sound closer and clearer. From hippos to hyena to lions – I wasn’t disappointed.
The staff help to make Mara Bush Camp so special
The level of service I experienced at BushCamp was of a very high level. All of the staff seemed to know my name, I had introductions and good wishes from everyone from the manager to the chefs. I was able to learn more about Maasai people and culture during this trip which I always find so fascinating. The staff were happy to talk about their own culture and experiences and I was always happy to listen and learn.
If you’re lucky enough to be heading to the Mara BushCamp – have an amazing time and
enjoy every moment, it will not be difficult. If you’re considering a stay then