Today began bright and early (but more early than bright!) with a game drive out through the Masai Mara. We took photographs of the bright orange sunrise, the beauty of which was complemented by hot air balloons touring the horizon. According to Teeku, passengers on these balloons enjoy a 45 minute tour and a “champagne” breakfast, all for the low price of around $400. Although these tours allow visitors to the Mara a bird’s eye view of the park, they can be rather destructive in that the balloons, once they have landed, often require tractors to haul them out of the area.

Shortly after the sun came up, we encountered a group of elephants enjoying breakfast in the grass, not far from our base camp at Matira.

An elephant greeting us at breakfast--photo by Rebekah White

The day was spent leisurely driving around and photographing wildlife, including warthogs, crocodiles, giraffes, zebras, dik diks and Thomson’s gazelles. Unfortunately, we also witnessed quite a few cattle, the grazing of which is a controversial issue in and around the Mara. We saw a hippo napping in the grass and, shortly after spotting a group of buffalo, some sleepy male lions. Later in the day, after lunch, we encountered another pair of lions asleep beneath a tree. Must have been a good day for a siesta!

A male lion napping in the midafternoon heat--photo by Rebekah White

Another male lion sighting--but awake--photo by Rebekah White

We returned to camp late in the evening, ready for showers and a good night’s rest, needing to refuel for another day out in the Mara.

Shiv rescues a tortoise from a close call in the middle of the road--photo by Rebekah White