I admit I'm not the biggest 'running around a game park chasing the pretty elephant' fan. So going on safari was not a priority when I came to Kenya in 2004. In fact the closest safari I went on was walking through a game park called Hell's Gate which was cool enough for me at the time (arriving around midnight and hearing animals so close and trying to find the camp grounds in complete darkness, sleeping in a tent for the first time, renting a bicycle and riding into the park all felt much more exciting to me). However, last October a friend of mine came to visit me from NYC and it being his first time on the continent, a game park was a must. Basically you can see all the 'important' animals (elephants, lions, buffalo, cheetahs, etc) between Maasai Mara in Kenya and the Serengeti in Tanzania so I organized for us to go to the Mara. This place really puts a whole new meaning to 'natural beauty'! I mean - animals running around in their natural space, living out their little 'circle of life'...it can't get better!
As you may know, Kenya recently went through an election crisis that sent their country spiraling. While a peace deal has recently been signed, their tourism economy has been shot to hell as explained in a good article in the NYTimes: As Kenya Bleeds, Tourism Also Suffers in the Land of Safaris. So, as mini thanks to the country that keeps me sane when I'm on this side of the globe, I just thought I'd share a few pictures to show one reason why this is an AWESOME country to visit. I'll share more about what I really love to do in Kenya - shop and visit Lamu - in a later post!