For me, the adventure starts a few months before each journey, all activities related to the trip, such as planning, saving, corresponding with local guides, reading articles about the destination, lead to the release of endorphins in my brain. This pleasure will be doubled when the goal is an attractive destination like Africa, where I have been waiting to meet for years. Of course, it seems that this is not the first journey because I am returning home. Returning to the cradle of humanity.
After six months of planning, correspondence and research to choose a local guide for my Maasai Mara trip, I finally decided to make my ten-year dream come true with Anthony Mara Major. I found Anthony through his Instagram page, during these six months I followed about 30 local guides on Instagram to make sure I choose the best person based on experience and skill to make my dream come true.
According to the plan, after 9 hours of flight and 5 hours of driving, my wife and I arrived at our camp in Maasai Mara on June 1 at 14:00. to cross a river, of course, this quick and convenient access does not prevent us from refusing to pay the entrance fee to the national park. It hasn’t passed more than two hours after we entered the camp, Anthony said: Are you ready for the first safari experience? Despite being very tired, the pleasure of hearing this question made us excited, because we thought we should wait until tomorrow morning all the way here. We entered the park without waiting, Anthony followed us in a special safari car where there was no barrier between us and nature. Maasai Mara National Park has an extent of 1820 square kilometers, so we did not expect to witness something exciting upon arrival. But nature proved that it is never predictable, of course, Anthony’s skill helpful, in the first moments of entering the park, Anthony said: pay attention to the point of view of that Topi (a kind of antelope), we took the path As the mountain goat was watching, we came to a herd of lions with three females and nine lion cubs resting in the grass. The name of this herd was Fig Tree – the naming of lion herds in Maasai Mara is based on the name of region which the lions choose as their territory.- I had such passion and taste that I can’t describe it in words, maybe you can understand a little of this feeling by looking at the photos. Our first meeting with Fig Tree[A1] was the beginning of a 5-day adventure. very few people experience this amount of excitement in 5 days.
The next morning, before sunrise, we woke up with the intention of going to the Mara River, the border of Tanzania and Kenya (the border of the Serengeti National Park and the Maasai Mara). After having a tea and coffee, we entered the Maasai Mara National Park. Balloons over the park, [A2] the slow sunrise in the background and the simultaneous sight of a collared female lion with a lion cub walking on the main road reminded me of surreal documentaries. Until now, I thought that these scenes were only available for National Geographic photographers. After traveling for a few kilometers, at the same time as the weather cleared, we saw a wounded buffalo that seemed to have survived a hunter attack while his right shoulder was badly injured. As you know, buffalo is one of the regular members of the Big Five group. Because buffalo is extremely angry and aggressive. It was unbelievable. Within a few seconds, we realized that he was quickly attacking the car. Anthony’s speed in applying the gas and reversing was admirable, but in the end we got lucky and the Buffalo stopped by rubbing his horn on the spare wheel behind the car and gave up on killing us. The amount of adrenaline that we released out of fear and excitement was indescribable, and of course it was too bad that we couldn’t capture a picture of this moment because we only had time to hold tightly to our seats because we might have been thrown out of the car. It is interesting that, for Anthony who is well experienced, this was a new thing to happen that he was telling his friends about it.
The next morning[A3] , when we were freezing from the cold and early morning wind in the endless plains of Africa, one of Anthony’s friends informed him, using the pager, to get to the territory of Figtree Pride very quickly. They were speaking in Swahili language so we didn’t understand what they were talking about. We asked Anthony anyway, what is going on? He did not give us any explanation in order to surprise us. He gasped at a dizzying speed, asking every few minutes if everyone is still in the car. After driving for about 10 minutes and passing several rivers and savannas, we finally reached the Fig Tree area. Two male lions named Jesse and Jesse 2 (father and son) were fighting with each other. The story was that Jesse, who was the father of Jesse 2, had entered his son’s territory, and Jesse 2 only avoided physical conflict out of respect for his father. With continuous and terrifying roars, he tried to drive the father out of the territory, and luckily, before it gets worse, the exhausted father left the territory. Anthony explained us, if a stranger male lion enters another male lion’s territory, they will fight until the death, because male lions are responsible for the protection of the territory, and female lions take care of the children and hunt. When the male lions enter the territory of other lions, they try to extent their own generation by killing the lion cubs and mating with the female lions. After Jessie left the territory, we went to the herd of Fig Tree Pride, which actually included Jesse’s wife and two children, who were lying on the rocks and the cubs were enjoying themselves[A4] of breastfeeding not knowing that what were their father And grandfather doing in the morning. Anthony and the Maasai people wished that Jessie and Jessie 2 would agree on a territory in which they could protect their cubs from other lions because Jessie 2 was the only male lion in the Figtree Pride herd and this would make this herd be in danger.
In the evening, when we were returning to the camp, we saw safari cars and a car from the park rangers gathering together, we realized that something might have happened. Anthony stopped, we went a little further, we saw a herd of fig trees killing a lion cub[A5] , Anthony said that it was probably a herd of Figtree killing the female lion we saw yesterday morning with her only cub, and now they are killing her baby. as a result, they tried to stop Figtree from killing the cub because they were not sure that the mother lion was dead. They tried several times to stop the female lion with the car, but she rushed toward the car, and Anthony scared the lioness away from the car as calmly as if he was chasing a city cat away from himself. We were really scared, the other safari vehicles was worried about us. Because it was enough for the female lion, who was very angry, to reach out a hand to easily pull one of us out of the car. In the end, they failed to stop the mother lion from killing that cub. Anthony said, “I can’t bear to see this scene” and we returned to the camp. There was silence. Wild nature is full of joy and at the same time endless sadness that has a different meaning for everyone.
Every morning we woke up like the day before; We had tea and coffee and entered the park. But every day was different from the previous day, I think this is the biggest difference between urban life and living in nature. The only thing that was repeated every morning was the intensity of our excitement to see the unpredictable events of nature. Anthony was getting information about the state of the park by a pager and we were impatiently waiting without the slightest guess to see what beauty, sadness or happiness nature is going to put on our way today. After half an hour of exploring, we reached two male lion whose herd was called Black Rock[A6] , they were very young and beautiful, Anthony said that these two lions’ territory is behind the river, they leave the territory when they intend to expand their territory, and this is dangerous for the Fig Tree herd, because they Entered the territory of fig tree. These two male lions were sniffing the footprints of figtree lions with such strategy and seriousness that it seemed that they might find them at any moment, in such cases, if they get the lion cubs of other herds, they will definitely kill them so they could guarantee the survival of their own generation by mating with females. So it was a dangerous day for Fig Tree Pride. This chase continued from around 8 in the morning until around 11. Finally, Black Rock did not get access to Fig Tree’s cubs and they just expanded their territory and returned to their own territory by crossing the river.
After this chase, we returned to the camp, rested for a while, and during the evening tour, we saw a herd of fig tree pride, who were playing with the start of a very soft rain with a background of black clouds. The herd of Black Rock has not reached them. The cubs were playing in a way that you could watch them for hours and enjoy it. While counting the cubs, we noticed that today instead of 9 cubs, there are 8 cubs, and we just realized that the cub that the lioness insisted on killing last night was her own cub. there was no reasonable explanation for what she did. The only logical reason was maybe he was sick and the female lion wanted to remove him from the group to keep the rest of the cubs healthy. While enjoying playing with the other cubs, we were constantly reminded of the pain caused by last night’s sad moments, and again, we could not think of any justification except that this is what wild nature is.
I always think, choosing such an experienced safari driver who will put you in the right place at the right time means that months of observation had good results. The risk of experiencing your decades-old dream without being with people from another continent whom you don’t know is very scary, but I have to appreciate the advantage of Instagram that helped me make the right choice, and of course, this risk is an immense pleasure. This ten-day trip made me a hundred times better.