Kenya Safari Adventures with Julia’s River Camp: Part 2
I’m sitting at a picnic table. Behind me are the sprawling and beautiful plains of Kenya’s Masai Mara. In front of me is a horseshoe bend of the great Mara River. I can see hippos and crocodiles uneasily sharing the water. The tall and steep banks of the river offer me protection and a safe panoramic viewpoint. The heat of the morning sun radiates a silence across the river as it discourages the wildlife to move and hunt until the evening cool.
I am sitting alone waiting for Rachel and our guide Eric to join me from our jeep. Eric approaches in a hurry.
“Tim, I think it’s best if we have breakfast in the car!” he half whispers.
“Really?” I reply, confused as to why we would leave this picture postcard picnic.
“There are lions on the other side of the car, and they are coming this way…”
The picnic table, chairs, blankets and food immediately disappeared into the car as if they too, were scared of being eaten by lions. I strapped myself into the car keen to continue my 32 years streak of being a breakfast-er, not a breakfast-ee.
The lions had finished stalking towards us, now relaxing in the long grass. Two adult males with glorious manes slept side by side. Their three lionesses lay around them forming a perimeter.
Beyond them grazed a few bachelor buffalo: a small group of old male buffalo who had been banished from their respective herds by their successors. They started bellowing as a group of elephants approached them, but stubbornly did not move. The elephants paid no attention to them, just adjusted their course towards the river. They were now on a collision course with our pride of lions.
The elephants approached the lions nosily, emitting loud trumpet blasts. The lions sprung up to clear out of the way. As the elephants moved past us, one male lion fixed his gaze on our jeep. He approached us heading straight for the passenger side of the open sided vehicle.
He was hot and wanted to rest in the shade of our jeep. We were sitting less than 6 feet away from a 250kg lion! So close that I could see the scars and scratches on his face from previous fights. His giant teeth glistened as he yawned and if I wasn’t so fond of my arm, I would have reached out to touch him.
Trying to take a selfie was a dilemma. Whilst it was exhilarating to be so close to this marvel of nature… I didn’t fancy turning my back on him.
This wasn’t our first or last encounter with a lion. Since safaris have been popular in the Masai Mara since before these lions were born, they are comfortable with safari vehicles and people. However, make no mistake. These are wild killing machines who leave skeletons and corpses of animals all over the Masai Mara to remind tourists and local Masai that, while they may sleep in the shade during the day, when night falls they hunt without mercy.
We’d like to thank Eric, Julia’s River Camp and of course the lions for this amazing experience. We’re also thankful that we got to meet these amazing creatures during the day… and not at night!
Julia’s River Camp is located in the north of the Masai Mara and is a safe, comfortable and charming glamping camp. Julia’s River Camp offers really good value for money and game drives are included. We will be publishing a full review of Julia’s River Camp on the blog so please check back next week. Thank you to Julia’s River Camp and Kananga International for sponsoring our stay. We had only been asked to review their tented camp, however had such a great experience with them that we wanted to share with you other facets of our amazing adventure. As always our opinions are always honest and our own.
Last modified: 2nd October 2016