Every good safari will have a significant travel day, but we were still able to get in several hours of game viewing in the afternoon.
The drive from the Mathews Mountains back to Nairobi, even with the great new Chinese road, would take about twelve hours according to the camp manager. I never contemplated it. We took a 35-minute charter to Nanyuki, then scheduled service into the Mara. We left camp at 7:15p and we were in the Mara at noon.
The incredible charter from Mathews to Nanyuki was made even more spectacular by our pilot, Rick of TropicAir, who flew a good ten minutes or more at about 50 feet above the Ewaso Nyiro, winding with it through the Northern Frontier.
It was incredibly spectacular as we saw all the animals and villages outside the park. But on the other hand I got an incredible impression of how terrible the March flood was. Whole sections of the river embankment had dropped away, in some places causing lots of little streamlets and pools. Doum palms were down everywhere.
Then we fly high and got magnificent views of Mt. Kenya, which was completely out, before landing at Nanyuki. Time just enough for a coffee before our Safarilink flight whisked us over Lake Nakuru into the Mara.
James and Sammy were waiting for us, having made the 18-hour journey from Saruni in two days. We took a short game drive past lots of topi, waterbuck, impala and gazelle before checking into lovely Olonana Camp.
After lunch the first game drive was a winner. Out hardly an hour when we came upon a very content pride of lion, including Big Daddy and a number of cubs that were playing around. The presence of hyaena and jackal suggested a kill nearby, but their bloated bellies confirmed it!
Wound all over the area near Olololo gate, and especially near its many swamps where there were all sorts of birds, including wooly storks. That unusual stork has only recently been confirmed to breed in the Mara.
All in all, a great first afternoon in the Mara!