Bush to Beach Honeymoon Adventure Part I : Maasai Mara, Kenya

After 6 months of saying our I Do’s in the Philippines, we finally had our honeymoon. We’ve always wanted to do a balloon safari in Maasai Mara and I’ve always wanted to go to Zanzibar. So, for our honeymoon, we decided to do a Beach to Bush adventure. My husband, Aaron, grew up in Kenya. Naturally, he became the one in charge of the entire planning.

For our bush adventure, we stayed at the Porini Lion Camp. It was the best decision we’ve made for this trip. It was my third time to go on a safari holiday in Kenya and our experience with Porini Lion Camp is my favourite so far.

Porini Lion Camp is in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy in Maasai Mara. From Naivasha (where Aaron and his family’s house is), we drove about 5-6 hours to Porini Lion Camp. Since we were driving our own vehicle, Porini met us at the closest town and escorted us to the Camp (private vehicles are not authorized to independently do any game drives, from what I understand).

We arrived at the camp at almost 15h00. The staff gave us a warm welcome and immediately brought us to the dining hall to have our late lunch. They knew we were driving all day and must be hungry so, their priority for was to feed us. After our late lunch, the manager walked us through our schedule for the next 4 days and the important safety information and rules in the camp.

Our first game drive was at late afternoon/sunset on the same day we arrived. Within 15 minutes of driving, we spotted a leopard, thanks to our eagle-eyed guide who spotted a fresh kill by a leopard on top of the tree. Contrary to popular belief, Aaron explained to me that leopards are not that easy to spot because they are one of the most elusive cats around.

yellow - edited
Meet “Yellow”. He is one of the male leopards in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy in Maasai Mara. We spotted him as he was about to enjoy his dinner. And yes, he was up in a tree.

After spotting Yellow, the leopard, we also spotted a Verreaux’s eagle-owl.

Owl - edited

After spotting some lions, giraffes, jackals, a troop of baboons, and more, we settled to watch the sunset and have our sundowner with the most adorable cheetah cub and a mommy.

Fulli and Mommy - edited
Mommy cheetah and her cub just took down their dinner.

The guide explained that she was most likely training the cub as none of them was actually eating. In fact, the cub played with its food the entire time we were there.

cheetah cub - edited

On Day 2, we woke up at 04h15 for our balloon safari. The drive from the camp to the balloon assembly point and take off area was about 1 hr. We didn’t really see a lot of animals while in the balloon but we had the most beautiful sunrise view. It was such a beautiful experience.

sunrise view 1
Watching the sun rises from a hot air balloon was such as a beautiful experience.

sunrise view 2

After the balloon safari, we had a sparkling wine breakfast in the middle of nowhere.

sparkling wine breakfast

After breakfast, we did another hour of game drive before returning to the camp. I took a nap after the morning activities while Aaron stayed up for bird watching while he had his tea on our tent’s porch. A nice lunch was served in the camp.

For our late afternoon and sundowner game drive, among my favourites were a pride of 5-6 lions, 2 cheetah brothers hanging out (it was the sweetest thing to see!), and for our sundowner, we had gin and tonic while watching hyenas harass Yellow, the leopard, as they try to get a piece of his meat.

male lion - edited
An old male lion
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One of my favourite photos from our trip.

On our 3rd day, leaving the camp at 05h30, we drove to the Mara River to see if we can witness a crossing. It’s the great migration season but unfortunately, we were a week early and the famous Maasai Mara great migration was still way on the Sand River. The local migration has started though so, the savanna was just starting to get covered by wildebeests. Nevertheless, the highlight of our morning game drive includes more lions, another leopard (aka Pretty Girl), breakfast by the Mara River.

breakfast at Mara River
Picnic breakfast along the Mara River
hippos
Baby and mommy hippos in the Mara River
Pretty Girl
The female leopard famously called by the guides as “Pretty Girl”. She is quite pretty indeed!

In the afternoon game drive, our guide spotted 600-800 wildebeests near a little river next to the camp. And because we had a superstar guide, he somehow knew that the wildebeests will cross and we will have our “little crossing experience”. We had the best spot at the right time. See our experience here – wait ’till the end of the video.

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For our sundowner, we had gin and tonic again with a small pride.

On our last day, before heading back to Naivasha, we had our last morning game drive. And just when we thought there’s nothing new to see anymore, we saw at least 30 hyenas just across the river where our tent is trying to get some sleep. It’s the first time I’ve so many hyenas hanging out together.

Hynnas - edited

Finally, we saw a male and female lion having their breakfast as the scavengers (hyenas, jackals, and two types of vultures) surround them. It was such an amazing sight!

lions by Icar - editedlions - edited

Believe it or not, these photos don’t even come close to how beautiful these animals are and how much we amazing time we had.

 

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