Sept 2020 : I Took My Chance to Travel to the Maasai Mara
Everybody remembers that during this Covid-19 pandemic travelling was very restricted. I observed the situation carefully hoping to get a window during that travelling without risking quarantine would be allowed. During September the number of cases has been rather down in Switzerland and elsewhere and therefore Kenya allowed to enter the country, under the condition to present a negative Covid-19 test not older than 72h. So, I went testing, but interesting enough there was quit a shortage on analysis material and so my testing was send to various laboratories. I had to do many phone calls to get my results. But finally, I had my visa, and the negative test and I had filled-up all the documents related to tracing, to tourist immigration etc. At the Geneva airport there was almost nobody in the departure hall. Security check was straight forward, at the departure gate the Covid-19 test results had to be presented. Embarkation was done in small groups. The plane to Amsterdam had maybe 1/3 of the passenger seats occupied. Passengers had to keep their face mask on all the time.
In Amsterdam the former airport experience was confirmed: There were almost no passengers at the airport.
Again, the usual presentation of documents, of course the Covid-19 test result. Again, the plane had maybe 15% of the seats occupied.
In Nairobi the disembarkation was again done in small groups. The immigration officer checked temperature, the tracing files and the Covid-19 test results. All this took really a long time. Finally, quite late I arrived at the hotel, again no guests. The other day I met my driver and we started the road trip to the Maasai Mara. The road trip from Nairobi to Maasai Mara takes about 5 to 6 hours.
From the Subukia View point at 2550 m altitude, and about 2 hours from Nairobi away, there is a nice view down to the Rift Valley (and a lot of diesel in the air..). The road trip gives an idea about the way of life along the main axes in Kenya and I guess other African countries as well.
From the second night up to the 7th, I was the only guest in the camp. It was a unique and great experience. My thanks go to the whole staff. On the return trip the situation on the airports was quite similar as before. Security checks were so quick, it was a delight. The plane was almost empty. Paris Charles the Gaulle airport was slightly busier than expected by the former experience I had in Amsterdam.
I enjoyed my kind of a last minute trip. Maasai Mara was almost without tourists, only about 5 jeeps observed a crossing of wildebeest and zebras of the mara river (compared to the usual 30 plus vehicles). There was almost no man-made noise in the park, it was a privileged situation.
Nature is always different. This time the photographic highlights were big prides of lions, the cheetahs and a few leopards. I had no opportunities to shoot pictures of elephants or rhinos. There were some crossings of the mara river with wildebeests and zebras, and always some crocos that take there opportunity of a kill. But I had no good angle to shoot pictures.