We went on lots of airplanes during the trip. They were all small planes that seated between 6 and 20 people. I am a TERRIFIED flier and I was just fine. For some reason, being able to see the ground was a good thing (I think the Xanax helped too). This was taken out the window on the way to the Maasai Mara. The Mara is a protected area in the south part of Kenya, right on the boarder with Tanzania. The Serengeti technically ends at the river that creates the boarder between the two countries. We were staying about a mile from that river on the Kenya side. It is some of the best safari country in Africa.
I also took this from the plane. This is a little Maasi village. We saw about hundred of these types of villages from the air. The "fence" of this village is made of thorny bushes. This is to keep wild animals out and the cattle in. The center circle is where all the activities take place and where the animals are penned at night. The big circle on the right side is another animal pen. The little huts are where the people live. Typically a village of this type will have a husbands hut, a first wife's hut, a second wife's hut, an older son's hut, etc. It was pretty cool to see them all from the air and to see that they were basically the same.
This is the landing strip and "ramp" at our airport on The Mara. The long red dirt road is where we landed and walked across this little wooden bridge.
This is what was on the other side of the bridge. This is the shelter where you wait for the plane. There are 4 or 5 safari camps out on The Mara. The plane leaves Nairobi and then runs a route like a bus. You go up, and then down to let people off at the first stop, then up again to the next stop, etc. We were the last stop. On the way home the plane was running about two hours behind. At least there was shelter..........
And shopping....... This was (like all airports) the most expensive place to buy anything!!!
We arrived at the camp in the afternoon. Just in time to meet our driver, Nafatali, and take a quick drive. You cannot be on The Mara past 6:30 pm. After that, they assume you are a poacher and you will be shot at. Seriously. Even though the landscape was sparse, there was still a beautiful picture everywhere you turned....... These trees are where you often can see the big cats.
Sunset on the Mara. It was so beautiful. We went during our summer, but their winter, so the days were a bit shorter. The colors were unbelievable.
Bright and early the next morning we took a balloon ride.......... that story will come in the next few days. It was pretty incredible.....