I spent a wonderful weekend with close friends at the Masai Mara. We were lucky enough to visit most of the camps along Talek River. This was a mixture of business and pleasure tour and it was all worth it.
Our friends Tim and Nanyu being of Masai descent had an added advantage since home was just near by. To them it was sort of a get together and meet old friends for the weekend thing. I could not get enough of Nanyu
Tim's girlfriend) bowing her head to get a pat on it as is the tradition in the Masai Culture. If a Masai man is older than you are and has passed certain stages, women and children are supposed to bow their heads to receive a pat. This is a symbol of respect. Age mates can always shake hands. I couldn’t help it, I found myself bowing my head too. It felt kinda hilarious, strange and raw in a good sort of way. I honestly felt connected with them.
Having worked at different camps in Masai Mara, Tim had an advantage and good geography of the place. With him as our guide we were able to visit a lot of lodges and camps. He was also kind enough to pay for Nanyu an experience of a life time. “A balloon Safari”. I have never seen Nanyu so excited. As it got late at night, she started having second thoughts. “What was I thinking? I don’t think I can go through with it,....what if it comes down falling....oh my God...I think we need to cancel”. Nanyu was getting cold feet.
Being accommodated at Ilkeliani Camp, Nanyu was just a few minutes from the nearest Balloon Safari meeting point (Fig Tree Camp). She was dropped off by Tim and a few morans at 5.00am in the morning.
9.45am we had already checked out of our camp and were on our way to meet Nanyu. We crossed the Talek River and from a distance we could see a truck full of tourist and our Nanyu. The smile on her face could tell it all. She had a wonderful ride. The group of Chinese tourists all cheered when the truck stopped for her to alight and join us in the van. I could not wait to get all the nitty gritties of the safari.
“Close your eyes, and for a moment feel your body lift up, with you having no control over it, and there is a certain part of you, inside you, saying to yourself, I am crazy for taking this balloon safari. This is what most people feel, when the excitement of a Masai Mara balloon safari crosses one's emotion of self-control and independence. The feeling is indescribable, crispness of the African air, chill in the wind that hits your face as your Mara hot air balloon gradually rises, smoothness in the exhale of your breath, and the excitement to see and learn more. One's physical presence can be felt on the plains of the Masai Mara” this were Nanyu’s words.
Nanyu was declared a champion and a mighty certificate of completion was handed out to her which I am sure is displayed somewhere visible in her home.
We recommend you book your balloon safari four to eight months prior to your arrival in Masai Mara as there are only sixteen seats available each day taking into consideration the very many guests staying at several accommodations in the Masai Mara. Let us at LetsGoKenya help you discover the Kenyan magic of Balloon Safaris.
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