One of the most common causes of spots on the spotted Masai Mara landscape, the wildebeest outnumber all the other large mammals – probably combined. They make up the bulk of the great migration, but apparently not all wildebeest leave their home area. Although we haven’t been able to confirm this independently, we were told that the resident group does not interbreed with the migratory group despite there being no outward evidence that they are a different sub-species. A lecturer who spoke the previous week at Ol Tukai Lodge in Amboseli had also discussed the recent realization that the consistency with which zebra show up in photographs of wildebeest is too common to be a coincidence – there may be a symbiotic relationship which benefits both species. Obviously, much remains to be studied and learned about even the better known citizens of the animal world.
Looking at our photos some years later, and realizing just how much we did and saw, it is difficult to believe that we were at Masai Mara for only slightly more than 48 hours. The trip from the airstrip to the lodge was extended to make it our first game drive. The morning game drive the following day included a visit to a Maasai village, and we arranged for our own guided walk “outside the fence” on the morning of our return to Nairobi. Not a moment was wasted. The overview provided by a tour with numerous stops is probably the best reason to do this style of travel, especially if a return visit for longer stays in your favorite places is an option. However, the individual stops on our tour did not seem rushed or superficial, as I had feared, so even as a once-in-a-lifetime trip this would have been quite satisfying.
Although the wildlife was spectacular, a few final words about the place and the people is in order.
Page 3 – Aberdare National Park – The Ark
Page 6 – Nanyuki – Mount Kenya Safari Club
Page 8 – You Are Here
Page 9 – Masai Mara – People and Trees