Friday, July 12, 2013

Hakuna Matat! The Africa Diaries- Part 6

While I am rarely short of words (close friends often, politely, tell me to shut up so that they can atleast get a word in), I am struggling at the moment.

The task at hand is to describe the beauty of The Mara. I have toyed with the idea of making this just a picture post and rejected it.

So, these posts are going to be very heavy with pictures, because really I have nothing more to say apart from ' gosh, it was so beautiful'

Imagine wild, open spaces.
Your eyes can see for miles and miles.
Trees dot the landscape.
Grass is almost your height and sashays like a beautiful woman who knows how gorgeous she is
The grass glitters as if it were made of gold when the rays of the Sun fall on it
You simply stare and stare and stare....and then stare some more.

The picture below is of me, taking in the first sights of the Mara. I had just gotten off a 12 seater private plane that had phadphado-ed so much up in the air that I was ready to lecture the pilot and to tell him off. Once my feet were firmly on the  ground,  I had walked away from the crowd to spend some time alone with nature...just soaking it at its best.

Lost in my own world.
Mesmerised.
Captivated.
At peace.

I remember this moment very well...the gorgeous beauty had already swept me off my feet and I had not been in the Mara for 5 minutes

I am not really the romantic sorts, but this is when I finally understood what people meant when they spoke of love at first sight.



 
Masai men and women in the picture below:
 



 
 
The trees are unique and add a lot of character to the landscape. As our open jeep rattled on for hours and hours each day in search of the plentiful game, a lone tree would attract my attention and I would stare at it without blinking for many seconds.



The soft hues of the low lying mountains in a distance provided an excellent backdrop. I would lunge out and rustle my hands in the grass. Ondari, our guide, told me that snakes lurched in the grass and I pulled out my hand immediately.

Ondari laughed for about ten hours after that. :/


The picture below is one of my favourite from the Mara. The bright blue of the sky, the dull blue of the mountains, the golden of the grass, the green of the bushes and the brown of the mud.

And the lobe topi taking it all in, much like me.


The air in the Mara was so fresh that I found myself breathing in many times in a day, my lungs hungrily taking in the pollution free air.
 Another tree that caught my attention ( there are about a million such pics in my album!)


The Masai Mara means ' The Dotted Land'. If you were to look at this land from the skies, the scattered trees make the land look spotted. And hence the name:) Charming, is not it?





A shot from the gate to the Mara. Another of my favourites (Someone take me back please :)  ):


The lone, dried up tree- very poetic, very melancholy, very striking.


The only tree I could see for miles and miles.



Having breakfast under the trees and in the open...


In talking about the landscape, I want to talk about two more things we did.

The first is the night safari. Accompanied by Ondari who drove the jeep, another man who carried this huge lantern sort lamp and another man who sat silently with a huge gun, we set off after dinner.
This is not about the landscape because there was no light apart from the headlights of our jeep. For miles and miles, darkness engulfed us like a blanket.

And so I looked up at the sky and for the first time in my life wished i had a better camera. I use a point and shoot and am generally happy with it because I really believe a good picture is more about the eye of the photographer than the quality of the camera.

Suffice to say, that once I had seen the sky, I refused to look around me, transfixed by the gorgeous beauty of the sky on such a clear night. I ofcourse took pictures but they have all come out black and not been able to even remotely capture the gorgeous beauty. I still recall the wonder with which I looked at the night sky. It was gorgeous.



The other experience I wish to document here is the hot air balloon ride. I will just let the pictures do the talking here.







 We are now very close to the end of this series. The penultimate post is going to be about the animals and the last one about the people and general conclusion.

As I write these the memories of the Mara come back to me and I feel an incredible urge to pack my bags and go back.

Such is the magic of Africa.

Hakuna Matata!

R






 

6 comments:

I HEARD YOU said...

Now you are just teasing us.. :P
Really, your travelling tales have created an obsession for Africa!

Raam Pyari said...

Everyone should travel to Africa :)

Alcina said...

The photographs talked too well :)
I especially love the first one in which you have fallen in love with the place!

Aarthy said...

Lovely pictures .. I can totally relate to the awe that engulfs you when in contact with nature and its unparlleled beauty

Rajeev Mishra said...

beautiful ...

Kaunquest (Ajay) said...

thanks for a wonderful account. I got to do that some day, one for my bucket list! :)