East Africa, Kenya

The Maasai Mara Game Reserves

Wildlife at The Maasai Mara Game Reserves

The classic Africa of our imaginations, brought to joyous life.

The Mara abounds with rolling grasslands, expressive acacia trees, sweeping vistas teeming with wildlife, and one of Africa’s common but unforgettable sights: “the cumulus clouds that drift all day long across a sun-filled sky,” as Elspeth Huxley wrote in The Flame Trees of Thika, “remind[ing] me of huge swirls of whipped cream.” (Those sunny skies and grand landscapes inspire us to consider a hot-air balloon option while we’re in the Mara.)

We make leisurely game drives throughout the Mara, stopping to contemplate the engrossing rock islands, called kopjes, that Peter Matthiessen called “magnificent, harmonious stone gardens…[revealing] the bone of Africa.” We gander at the pleistocenic crocodiles and hippos who frequent the Mara River and its tributaries (seeing a big pod of hippos gambol and thrash about can be as moving and beautiful in its gloriously hefty way as a performance of Swan Lake by the Kirov Ballet, as Walt Disney showed us in the immortal Fantasia, long ago). And we’ll have sundowners in the evening’s gentle warmth, breathing clean and guileless air, watching Africa’s showy stars come out to dazzle.

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