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Maasai Mara Safari and a Maasai Village, Ololaimutia, Kenya - 3rd November 2010

After a six-hour drive from Nairobi, we find ourselves at the Ol Moran tented camp near the Ololaimutia gate of the Maasai Mara game reserve. There's time upon arrival for a short evening safari to get the hang of it, followed by a whole day out in the safari van with Will and Tony. The highlight of the day is perhaps a very close encounter with a leopard - a fairly elusive and hard-to-spot cat, and not often seen at such close quarters. The leopard, for its part, was more concerned with the bird it was stalking and didn't seem to notice the scrum of vans around it, all full of gawping tourists. Then, it's time for an ample packed lunch, provided by the camp, and then a drive up to the river (to see the crocs and hippos). Upon return to the camp, we stop off at a Maasai village, where the son of the chief shows us around, and some traditional dances and bushcraft skills are demonstrated. Needless to say, the hapless visitors (Nosher and Isobel) are pressed in to service as comedy extras in some of the dancing.

next album: Hell's Gate National Park, Naivasha, Kenya - 5th November 2010
previous album: Nairobi and the Road to Maasai Mara, Kenya, Africa - 1st November 2010

Our first encounter: a giraffe

A gazelle nibbles its flank

A baby elephant (christened 'Saggy Pants') can just be seen, hiding

A young elephant

Doing the baby elephant walk

A lioness lounges about

A cheetah prowls

Ol Moran's restaurant/bar

Next morning, cows mill around

A group of gazelle watch us warily

The elephants seem to be sharing a joke

View over the Maasai Mara

Isobel peers out of the safari van's open roof

An ostrich: frankly ludicrous

Stripey horse: it's a rule of the universe that Zebra photos must be in black-and-white

Another baby elephant

A leopard stalks some prey, and passes about a metre in front of the van

Leopard in action

Nosher and Isobel on the top of Lookout Bluff

Will, Tony and Isobel eat lunch

Isobel checks her head

A crocodile suns itself

A pair of giraffe

A lone elephant on the plains

African tree

A male lion surveys the scene

Back at the Maasai village, the chief's son performs an introduction

A small boy

In the Maasai village

A lion's head is an important part of the ritual

Nosher and the chief's son

The bushcraft skill of friction firelighting is demonstrated

Much stick spinning occurs

The men all get involved

The embers start to burn

Fire is created

Some Maasai women perform a melancholy wedding song

Isobel is invited to join in

Colourful Maasai women

The men demonstrate jumping as part of their wedding rituals

Of course, it's required that Nosher gets to join in

Inside a Maasai house: dark, smoky and incredibly hot (about 45°C at a guess)

Modern Maasai

A gang of young boys surveys us

Nosher considers the day (and a bottle of Tusker beer)

Goats and cattle are herded

Back on the road again: Isobel gets a mug of coffee at a roadside stop

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Our first encounter: a giraffe