From The Bull to The Buffalo Part 5 Masa Mara
Sarova Mara Lodge 24 to 26 Sept 2010
The journey was fascinating from Lake Nakuru to the Mara. We stopped for our boat trip to see Hippo and birds. Then to purchase copper coloured Kenyan tea and rich flavoured ground Kenyan coffee.
Perhaps the most Kenyan feature were miles of brand new tarmac road covered in boulders and thorn bushes while we negotiated craters and mud ridges. Why? Government or local authority forgotten to pay the contractor? No dash in the godfather’s back pocket? Are there really so many tourists happily enduring the back jarring Safari Van ride who will come again that the Kenyan authorities can afford to ignore their comfort? How much extra do lorry repairs add to food bills?
Eventually we reached Serena Mara Lodge what a paradise. We could hardly wish for better equipped more beautiful safari tents, see photos Time for a quick registration, wash and lunch al fresco. Even though it seemed we were the last party to arrive and much was being cleared up there was more than sufficient to re-fuel Dariusdave ahead of the real business of the day the afternoon game drive.
The afternoon game drive seemed limited. Yes we spent an hour looking and photographing the tail and buttocks of a lonely leopard up a tree. Every other Safari vehicle seemed to be circling round to obtain the best view. Our driver guide had the crazy idea that the leopard up a tree surrounded by 30+ vehicles would soon come down for tea!
Eventually we drove away and found a pride of lions enjoying their siesta. Yes we did eventually find a few elephants and buffalo and zebra. However remembering 2008 I felt game was scattered and scarce.
We returned at dusk to our Paradise Camp, which had a wonderfully designed bar including Kenyan heating (although I never felt cold or chill) and a fair selection of drinks to wash the dust from our throats.
Dinner was an epicurean feast with seemingly unlimited choices for all courses. Even the fussiest of eaters would have been spoilt for choice. Maybe a night cap or two after dusk in the classically Kenyan bar and soundly to sleep.
Early to wake, early to rise with rich Kenyan coffee then out on the first game drive before breakfast (our party had not won the lotto so no hot air balloon flight). We had not gone far and encountered herds of Zebra and Wildebeest. Running almost like members of a relay squad this was The Migration. Sad we only watched for a few minutes then off.
We next found three Cheetahs travelling in line abreast. Sometimes spreading out then coming back together almost comparing notes on targets for breakfast. This Safari drive was the Mara at its best. We also saw ostrich, buffalo, lion, elephants, vultures and many gazelle. We would happily have postponed or gone without breakfast to have continued this wonderful game drive.
Sadly Pollman’s inflexible timetable set in stone forced an early return. Why after the disappointments of Shaba and the manicured lawns at Lake Nakuru could we not stay out and enjoy the Mara at its best viewing the animals we had travelled thousands of miles to see?
Yes breakfast at Sarova Mara Lodge was a banquet. I cannot speak highly enough of Mara Lodge. There was a letter of thanks on the Notice Board from Sir Richard Branson. The local management had made arrangements for all night electricity so my breathing machine would run. I’m not sure the photos do justice to the quality of our safari tent. Plenty of furniture to keep our possessions safe in case monkeys came to visit. A first class bathroom with flushing loo, basin and power shower was located at the back of the tent. The bed more Mount Kenya than Kilimanjaro was comfortable well made and warm no complaints.
We had time for a leisurely inspection of the Safari lodge, but felt frustrated that we had abandoned the best game drive and felt like active soldiers confined to barracks when we wanted to be out at the front. Eventually we enjoyed a light lunch and waited for our Safari Van to take us out to the Mara for our last scheduled game drive.
After the joy of the morning we departed Mara Lodge full of hope and expectation. Sad to say this was the most disappointing Game drive ever on The Mara. My camera records a buffalo, a giraffe, a small pride of lions and a jackal. At one point we set out along the foot of a ridge, every safari van coming in the opposite direction relayed there was no game to be seen. But still we plodded on to the very end seeing zero. Could we not have ventured to the Mara river to see the crocodiles? We returned unhappy feeling extremely disappointed. Talking with other guests in the Safari bar we soon heard that they did not suffer our disappointments. It was clear our Pollman’s “guide” did not have a clue where to look. Perhaps had the radio worked and been used it may have been a different storey. We did ask for a morning game drive as compensation for this failure, no chance. Complaints to Pollman’s agent at The Baobab Hotel were greeted with incredulity and promises of an Enquiry.
We departed 26th September for Nairobi, feeling disappointed that an expensive Safari in wonderful Lodges was so poor. Worse was to follow our tyres failed on the road to Nairobi. One redeeming feature was “Sunday Road Rules” in Nairobi totally confusing. We still arrived early at Nairobi Airport.
Next Final stop The Sarova Baobab Beach Resort.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sarova Mara Game Camp is located in the heart of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in South West Kenya. It is 260 km from Nairobi, a 1-hour flight from Nairobi, 20-minute drive from the airstrip and a 5 1/2-hours drive from Nairobi on the new tarmac road. It is set on an elevation surrounded by two streams. The Camp is uniquely laid out over the sprawling grounds that include rolling manicured greens, a virtual mini forest of indigenous shrubs and exotic trees, a large pond stocked with fish, mini bird sanctuary and an authentic Maasai village adjoining the Camp. The Camp includes 20 club tents, 51 standard tents, 2 family tents, a main restaurant, bar and many bush dining options. The free form swimming pool has its own pool bar. In addition, it has its own fleet of well equipped safari vehicles with excellent guides. There are meeting rooms and numerous outdoor venues for dining and leisure. The entire Camp is surrounded by a 24 hour electric fence. The climate is very pleasant with clear warm days and cool nights Temperatures average from 26ْ C during the day to 12ْ C at night. There are sporadic rains in March, April, November & December. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sarova Mara Game Camp Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
- Sarova Mara Game Camp Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve