Day one, safari…Beyond our wildest dreams….

Anderson, our safari guide took us on an unplanned 90-minute safari rather than wait at the airstrip for another couple to arrive on a later flight. This was one of the first photos we took along the Mara River.  Our tent is located on the banks of the river where the hippos will awaken us with their hysterical morning calls. We couldn’t believe our eyes or our ears
Anderson referred to this ostracized male cape buffaloes (one of the Big Five) as Retired Generals. They lost the battle for dominance and are forced out of the herd to fen for themselves for the rest of their lives. Kind of sad.  He gave us a nice pose, hungry not only for vegetation but also for attention.
I love warthogs. They are funny, actually quite friendly. Vegetarians, they amble around for the tiniest morsels. They are delightful to watch.  Please pinch me! I can’t believe we are in the Masai Mara. We missed the Great Migration by one week. We’re not at all disappointed with what we’ve seen on the first day!

As we write and post photos, we make a valiant effort to take our readers through the step by step process of following our journey each step of the way.

After our experiences today, we are tempted to get right to the safari, as we know many of you’d prefer. Our arrival in itself was an adventure all of its own, not a story we could easily forgo.

So, in light of this, today, we’ll tell the story of our arrival at Camp Olonana of Sanctuary Retreats, an over a two-hour flight on a tiny rickety old plane including notes and photos from the flight and to whet your appetite for the treasures of safari a few of our photos from our over first four hours on safari on the first day.

Without a doubt, we’ll be posting photos every day, perhaps twice a day. There’s no Internet connection in our tent. In order to post, we have to sit in the lobby of the main building of the camp.  With six hours a day on safari, the slow connection at the camp (not surprising), we’ll have no choice but to continue to post photos after we return to Diani Beach with a better connection.

In the first 90 minutes, we took almost 100 great photos. This afternoon we took hundreds more.  Bear with us, you’ll see most of them over the next week. As a matter of fact, we can’t wait to share them.

For now, we’re pooped and at 8:02 pm have yet to eat dinner. Soon, we’ll stop for dinner which ends at 9:30 pm. We’ll be going out on safari for a breakfast picnic at 6:30 am. We’ll be back with more photos tomorrow afternoon.

Traveling to the Masai Mara by plane

Our tiny 19 seat plane. Yes, I know, it could have been smaller.
The plane was fueled by using a hand crank typically used in WW2, according to Tom’s recollection of history.
View from the plane after leveling off.
Yes, that’s Mount Kilimanjaro, as viewed from the tiny single engine plane.
The inside of the plane was so small, it was difficult to get a good shot maneuvering around the other passengers, since we were on the opposite side.
This pristine lake was like a mirror.
Muddy rivers.

I’d never flown on a small plane. Oh, yes, opportunities were presented from time to time. But, I always dismissed them without a moment’s consideration.

Only recently, I’d begun to feel more at ease flying in commercial jumbo jets after the long flights we’ve tackled in this past year. I’ve had no desire to tackle the puddle jumper concept.

This appeared to be some type of horse farm.  Look at the reflection of our plane on the ground! What a sight!  I couldn’t believe we were inside that tiny thing!

When we’d decided to travel the world almost two years ago, I anticipated that it was time to let go of some of my irrational fears. As we planned our itinerary, I contemplating a few of the rational fears realizing it was time to let some of the fears waft away.

More muddy rivers.

With a torn shoulder injury escalating during the planning stages with no desire to have surgery to remedy it, I decided to forgo more physically challenging events and settle for combatting some other fears which included flying in small planes.

After three takes off and three landings, we finally arrived to meet our guide, Anderson who’s lived in the Masai Mara region all of his life. What a guy!  We loved him the moment we met him!

This morning as I sat in my confining worn-out seat which included a number of tears and lumps in the rickety 19 seat plane, I found that I needed a diversion more distracting than reading mindless drivel on my phone.

My knees still a little wobbly from the flights.  I was thrilled to be on the ground, meeting our guide Anderson for our time in Onolana.  At that point, I knew I’d have be less fearful on the return flight.

Instead, I began to write on the “legal pad” app on my smartphone hoping to divert my attention from my usual overthinking, worrying, and speculation.

Tom was engrossed in a book on his phone, oblivious to any concerns, mine or his, occasionally looking my way, thrilled that my nails weren’t digging into his hand.

A person could spend a lifetime trying to analyze why one has such fears and others do not. Never having to combat small plane fear in the past leaves me with little interest or inclination to pursue answers at this point in life. Thinking I could bypass the necessity of facing it, I now knew the time had come in our travels to face a simple fact: either we get there in one piece or we don’t.

This is one situation I cannot control. There’s no going online and researching an answer, resulting in a bullet point list of myriad possibilities to consider, ultimately sharing those in a post.

All I could do is fly on the little plane with a determined attitude, saying a few prayers, while hoping this old beat up prop plane will make it safely to the Maasai Mara and the necessary two additional stops along the way resulting in three “ups and downs” until we arrived.

A half-hour into the two-hour flight, Tom alerted me to stand up to walk to the front of the plane to take a photo of Mount Kilimanjaro. I did. He did.

This, dear readers, is why we do this. The excitement of that which we had an opportunity to behold allayed my fears and I felt at peace. 

We’ll be back with many more amazing photos of our safari, the fabulous resort, the outstanding food, the flawless service, and smemorable experience that fulfills a lifelong dream.

Comments and responses Day one, safari…Beyond our wildest dreams….

  1. Anonymous Reply

    What comes to mind is WOW!!! So happy for you and Tom. I have the same fear of small planes so I totally understand and I also had to take the stand that you did. It is the only way to keep your sanity and to get where you want to go. Don't worry about responding, I know you will be tired and the internet time is scarce. I just wanted to let you know how we appreciate all your work on the blog and photos.

  2. Jessica Reply

    Pat, I always have a minute to say hello. Thanks so much for sharing this journey with us and your thoughtful comments that mean "the world" to us both.

    We just got in from dinner in the bush after 8 1/2 hours on safari and yes, we're pooped. But, we can hardly wait to share what happened today in tomorrow's post (Monday). Plus, there's much more to share that we could write for a month.

    It's purely indescribable. A dream come true. We're pooped but our feet aren't on the ground!

    We'll be back with more tomorrow afternoon after we return from what may well be another full day on safari.
    Hope all is well with you both!

    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

  3. Claudio Reply

    Hello! I think we had the same Guide in February 2015, but we have lost the eMail-Adress.
    Can You tell me a adress for contacting Anderson?
    (sorry for my bad english…)

  4. Jessica Reply

    Claudio, so sorry but I don't know how to contact Anderson. I don't believe he was an email kind of guy. If you call Sanctuary Resorts in the Masai Mara they may be able to direct you. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful. I, too, would have loved to stay in touch with him.

    Kindest regards,
    Jess & Tom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *