Into Africa: Heading to the Mara

We left bright and early the next morning, with our driver pushing as fast as he could in our little pop-top van so that we could get some sightseeing in on the first afternoon in the Masai Mara Reserve. But first we had to pass by the Great African Rift Valley. Its wide expanse soon disappeared into the plains leading to the Masai Mara, a testament to the vastness of the land we were passing through.

IMG_2408 Stitch (click through for larger image)

We stopped several times for petrol and were deeply dismayed to find that we had inadvertently supported Gaddafi’s dictatorship (this was while he was still in power) at the local OiLibya station.

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At another petrol stop, we were glad to note that our driver wasn’t the brand loyal type and marvelled at how cheap petrol is in Kenya (116 Ksh is about S$1.70 per litre).

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To get to our prize, we passed through many small towns, largely made up of shacks lining each side of the road. In the main towns, the shacks gave way to actual concrete buildings, still looking rather ramshackle. It was a wonder to me that a wee building like this could be called a plaza!

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There were odd little monuments in some of the towns, like this one of some kind of oil-extracting structure with a rhino statue in front. Still, it was a nice place for the neighbourhood boys to hang out.

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And there were yet more petrol stations, here complete with a safari truck that dwarfed the rest of the not-small offroaders. Check out the large specimem of behind clambering in. No wonder the locals were staring.

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After a good seven hours on the road, we finally saw scrubland, and with it our first sighting of gazelles. To be specific, Grant’s gazelles.

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We were almost there.

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