One of the more surprising things about the Maasai Mara National Reserve, is the sheer numbers of lions that are thriving here. We saw many young and baby lions, but there were an awful lot of their adult parents around as well. The less surprising thing was the number of vehicles driving tourists around the reserve, on the look-out for safari’s big five: lions, leopards, rhino, elephant and buffalo.
At times we saw several vehicles in the same area, at other times we didn’t see a vehicle for a long time. Whenever there was a sighting of an interesting animal drivers radio it to other drivers, and you often see vehicles converging on a particular place from all directions. Its a little odd to be a part of this human circus amidst hundreds of wild and ferocious animals.
We came across the hilarious/terrifying sight of a vehicle with four or five tourists inside which had broken down. If breaking down in the middle of the Maasai Mara wasn’t bad enough, it had broken down right next to a water hole. Next to the water hole, and only a couple of metres from the vehicle, was a very large lioness. No one was getting out of their vehicle to hook up a tow line. In the end another jeep ‘pushed’ the broken down vehicle out of the danger zone.
Fate it seem, has a sense of humour. A little while later, our driver reversed up a banking and got our vehicle stuck. We couldn’t go forward or backward. The driver poked his head through the open roof and, declaring it to be safe, asked me and another person to get out and push. To this day, I don’t know why either of us agreed to it. We got out of the jeep, with the speed of people aware time was against them, frantically pushed it off the banking, and raced back inside.
There is nothing funny about being on foot in the Maasai Mara with so many lions around. Even in the vehicle, when this huge male lion approached us it was pretty disconcerting. At first he was so well camouflaged we didn’t even see him, by the time he was only a few feet away from our vehicle, we’d seen enough…
We’d seen a lot of baby lions, but this also seemed to be the mating season. It seemed fitting that we’d end up witnessing the rather strange experience of lion sex. Not sure it is entirely decent to watch as lions copulate, but it all happened very fast. Actually very, very fast. Lion sex takes a matter of seconds (so fast the first photo is out of focus).