Friday, September 30, 2016

A relaxing day in camp. . . . . . . . . .

Topi antelope at sunrise 

At Mara Plains camp, the main thrust for most guests is of course getting
 out on early morning game drives, prior to sunrise, to view animals as they wake. 
Lions are especially active at that time. . . . .this cub below, one of three siblings,
 was anxious to start playing with mom as soon as it was light.

Armed with nothing more threatening than a camera and binoculars, and clothing
 layers which can be peeled off as the day warms up, we were ready to go by
 6:15 am with sunrise around 6:30 am.
Life in the bush hums with the quiet sounds of rustling in the very cool morning air.
 The bulky lumbering hippos have retreated to the river . . . . . one night they were
 within a couple of yards of our tent, grunting and snorting, a security guard, one 
of several Maasai who patrol the camp overnight, explained to me just how
 big and how close the next morning.
 A large monitor lizard creeps through the undergrowth, and one morning a monkey
 comes up the steps to check out my boots.
 Grunting, snorting, screeching, calling, and of course roaring, seems to occur
 mostly at night. Yes, nights in Africa are often quite noisy as the big cats and
 nocturnal animals go about their lives in the inky darkness outside the safety
 of the tent. Bush babies scurried and screeched across the canvas roof jolting
 us from sound sleep, making a lot of noise on several nights.
As day breaks, many loud birds become natural alarm clocks as they sit in
 the trees outside, awaiting the sun. They are the only ones you really need to
 get you moving. If you've also scheduled a 'wake up call' - and there are no phones -
 a tall, lean Maasai arrives at the tent flaps, tray in hand with coffee, tea or chocolate,
 with a cheery "good morning" and brilliant smile, making you feel instant warmth
 despite a definite chill in the air at 5:30 am.

The morning I took these photos, Bob and I had a free day to roam the camp
 and take things easy. Paula and Tirian had business to attend to at his community
 where we had already visited, so we opted to stay back, rest our backs from those
 rough rides, and enjoy leisurely breakfast and lunch and chat with staff and other guests. 

There are just seven tents at Mara Plains and 14 guests or less. 
The camp managers, husband and wife team Ken and Michelle, are from Australia. 
They are also wildlife photographers and photo safari leaders when not working as
 camp staff - they are really great at all they do and were a lot of fun.
The entire staff, mostly from the Maasai tribe, were friendly and accommodating, 
nothing being too much trouble.
Working with just solar-powered appliances in the kitchen yet still turning out very
 good food, beautiful fresh linens for bed and table, plenty of hot water, doing our 
laundry, lighting all spaces, and even supplying hairdryers (low voltage but they do
 the job) etc. is not easy. Makes one think again about how we are spoiled just
 flipping a switch and having unlimited electricity. Only the Internet gave us a few
 problems, at times slow or unavailable - but not really missed as we were there for
 more important things!

More pics of the interior of our tent - you have to agree that it's quite plush, and the
 bed was so comfortable, especially crawling under the covers after a busy day and 
finding the cozy leopard print covered hot water bottles waiting.
A couple of chilly, windy nights we requested the exterior canvas be dropped to calm 
the blowing linen drapes, but mostly just enjoyed the night air and sounds around us.

If you're wondering about the sisal doormat at the tent entrance, it's placed over
 the zipper closures at all times to prevent monkeys from entering - yes they know
 how to work zippers, but apparently not how to move heavy doormats!

We were interested in the history the wood used for steps and floors at the the camp. Apparently they are made from recycled railroad ties from Zambia.

Library at Mara Plains

Wildebeest grazing

Yes, a lovely day in camp - late breakfast in the sunshine looking out onto the open plains.
On other mornings breakfast was in the bush either packed and served by our guide
Tirian or, on two occasions, driven out and cooked for us by a chef and assistant in 
special spots in the bush. . . . . . . more on that in another post! 


  1. Wow! Mary, Your home away from home was just wonderful. How I would have loved a bath in that tub or a shower in that shower, both amazing!!! Then to lay in bed with a view such as that would be a dream come true. How I loved seeing you and Bob sitting with breakfast right at the edge of the deck and watching and listening to the sounds and sights. Oh sigh!

  2. Oh Mary. How beautiful and luxurious for a camp. Your pictures are just gorgeous. It must have been hard to leave.

  3.'s the only word that came to mind from beginning to end. :)

  4. Mary, the tents are amazing. I've heard how comfortable it is in these camps, but had no idea there were standing copper tubs. Wow!

  5. I think it all looks so lovely! what decor and surroundings.


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