Every year I go to Maasai Mara at least 3 times. The first time is always in the first quarter, and the other two times in the third quarter of the year. In the third quarter, I aim to catch the great wildebeest migration. I will be doing it again this year in July and August. If you would want to be a part of it, kindly keep checking updates on Safiri Nasi. On the first quarter, I go to Maasai Mara to familiarize myself with accommodation facilities.
This year, I was privileged to visit Loyk Mara Luxury Camp for the third time. During my previous visits, Loyk never disappointed and whenever the opportunity pops up to go back, I never hesitate. On 3rd February 2017, we left Nairobi at 9.30am. This is not a good time to begin your journey when you are looking forward to an afternoon game drive at Maasai Mara.
We stopped at Narok Town famously known as 'Maasai City' for lunch. The crowd I was on the trip with comprised of tour operators. These are people who have been to Maasai Mara before and therefore are in no hurry to see the Mara.
We spent close to 2 hours at Narok and then left for the Mara.
After a 45 minutes’ drive, the tarmac ended and we got on to an all-weather road. Not pleasant at all. My trick to survive this uncomfortable part of the journey over the years has been to take a nap. Despite the corrugation, I woke up at Sekenani Gate.
. I got a little confused because I had expected us to pass through Talek area. When I inquired about this, the driver explained that it had rained the previous day and to use Sekenani Gate had been the safest bet.
This means that we had to drive through the park and exit at Talek Gate as we head to Olare Orok Conservancy where Loyk Mara Luxury Camp is located. When we got to the conservancy, it was past six o’clock in the evening and the sun was saying goodbye.
We came across a river with no bridge. We had to drive through it. Our vehicles being automatic and not manual, the drivers thought it best that we cross the river on foot while they try to drive the offloaded cars across.
All of us managed to cross but one of the vans did not. After a few attempts we decided to help by covering the wet surface and pushing it. By the time we were done, it was already dark.
Driving a few metres from the river, we met the King. He was relaxing after a heavy meal. The queen was nowhere to be found. She must have heard the noise and hid herself. The King was calm as if to welcome us to Maasai Mara. From this point, the camp was only a 15 minute drive away.
On arrival, we were welcomed with a glass of juice and a napkin to wipe ourselves. The manager gave a brief about the camp and we were each allocated rooms. Before we could even leave the reception, there was a heavy downpour. The camp has sufficient umbrellas but they could not withstand the strength of the rain drops. We took some time to catch up. Joel (the camp manager) is a good friend of mine. We met back in 2013 when he was managing Loyk Tsavo Camp.
Since I had been to Loyk Mara Luxury Camp before, I had an easy time choosing the best room - tent number ten. This is the farthest tent and is close to a seasonal river.
A resident leopard lives behind the tent and occasionally, hippos occupy the river when water level is sufficient. That is the kind of environment I wanted to spend my night in. The rain calmed down a little and we rushed to check in.
After freshening up, dinner was ready and we walked to the restaurant. It was still raining and cold. Getting into the restaurant, we were met by John (waiter) who sat us down. Close to the entrance, there was hot water and milk in case one wanted to warm their bodies. John was very humble and hospitable. He gave us a brief of what was in the menu and delivered the items faster than we expected. The chef at Loyk Mara Luxury Camp has a doctorate if not a PHd. From a chef's point of view, the meals were top notch.
After the meals, we couldn't make a bonfire as we had planned because of the rain. Therefore, we had to find a substitute activity. Some people started playing poker while others played pool. We retired to bed at our own pleasure.
The next Morning, breakfast was ready by 6:00am. We wanted to leave for a game drive at exactly 7:00am. Because of African timing, we left for the game drive at 8:00am. Since it had started raining in the Mara, greenery was coming back to life.
It was easy to spot grazers such as warthogs, topi, impalas, gazelles, zebras, elands, buffaloes, giraffes and wildebeest among others. We also spotted vultures feeding on carcasses.
Olare Orok Conservancy is rich in the sense that we did not have to enter the main park to see animals. We were able to see lions, leopard, hippos, crocodile and the grazers I mentioned before. By noon, the only animals we hadn't seen were elephants, cheetahs and rhinos. We decided to call it a game drive and headed back to the camp.
On arrival, lunch was ready and as usual, the chef had outdone himself. The food was tasty, fresh and in plenty. We had the afternoon at our disposal.
Some decided to play games such as pool, monopoly and poker. Others (me included) decided to go swimming.
After 2 hours of swimming, the weather changed and it became a little cold. We got out of the water and thinking it was only 3.30pm, I couldn't imagine going to my room. The idea of a nature walk came in. Kevin -Loyk Mara Luxury Camp’s resident naturalist- came to rescue me from my boredom. He got a colleague to join him and I got someone else to join in as well. We went very close to giraffes, while watching carefully in case a buffalo was close by.
Kevin is very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna. We came across hyenas' holes, birds’ paradise and walked in the wilderness like we owned it. We came back to the camp at around 6.00pm, freshened up and were ready in time for dinner.
Dinner was served and after we engaged in activities at the bonfire while others enjoyed the pool table.
On the 3rd day, we had to say goodbye to Loyk Mara Luxury Camp. It is always a sad moment, to bid a place you liked and had fun goodbye.
However, it feels good to know that you will be back. There is a lot of improvement in the camp compared to how I found it in 2013 and 2015. This only gives me assurance that next time it will be even better. We left at 8.00am and did an enroute game drive. We were lucky to spot a lion and lioness as well as elephants.
We also passed at the Rhino sanctuary and had a chance to witness the wrath of poaching which I highlighted in my previous article.
Loyk Mara Luxury Camp is a quiet, eco friendly, nature sensitive and serene place to getaway. There are only 10 rooms and can only accommodate 20 people at a time. This enables the staff to offer personalized service and attention throughout the stay. The camp has a swimming pool, a lounge with a pool table, a watch tower, hammocks and an outdoor sitting area to make sure your stay is exciting. The staff here is friendly and well trained to attend to your every need.
The camp is not fenced and this means that a Maasai has to escort you everytime you want to get to your room. For undisturbed nature and a wild experience, I highly recommend Loyk Mara Luxury Camp.
Let’s meet there next time.
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