Last week the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Watt (Geneva College, Pennsylvania) taught a week-long intensive course at Bridgeworld College. All theology students were required to attend the course, which meant that Ryan’s regular classes did not meet. The break gave our family the opportunity to enjoy a much-anticipated three-day safari to the Maasai Mara. I think our senses of awe and wonder at God’s creative hand have been mightily renewed!
Timan, our excellent driver and safari guide, picked us up early on Wednesday morning for the 6-hour drive from Nairobi through the Great Rift Valley on our way to the Sentrim Lodge at Maasai Mara. It was fun to get out of the city, and we were thrilled by the views!
We were also thrilled and relieved to reach the lodge, as the last stretch of road (seen above is a particularly smooth bit) was as rough and dusty as it was scenic. Warm washcloths and cold drinks were provided during check-in, and then we appreciated a late – but quite delicious – lunch. Next, we eagerly embarked upon the afternoon game drive, successfully spotting a few animals on our “must-see” list already!
The kids were delighted by our tent/building accommodations at the lodge, and the grounds were beautiful. (Click for larger views.)
The waiters and other staff were kind and helpful, and took time to interact with our kids. We all loved the hot, fresh naan baked right there at the buffet during supper; in fact we loved almost everything we tried during our meals here, including different stews, curries, fresh chapati and injera (different African flatbreads), omelets, local veggies, fresh fruit and juices, not to mention yummy sweets and desserts, like trifles and mandazis (sweet coconut donuts). Sleep came easily after such a full day!
We had beautiful weather on Thursday, which was an all-day game drive including a picnic lunch on the African savannah. Amazing views over the vast plains, coupled with so much beautiful, interesting, and exciting wildlife made the day pass quickly! (click to view larger photos in slideshow.)
Try as we might, even accumulating over 1000 photos amongst our cameras and photographers for example, the immensity and scope of the experience feel impossible to capture in words and pictures. It may be cliché, but truly, you had to be there! Upon returning to the lodge, although the water was cold, it felt good to take a quick swim before dinner.
Friday morning we got up extra early for a morning game drive, and were well rewarded, including experiencing a breath-taking sunrise. Back at the lodge, we enjoyed a huge brunch spread before checking out.We were able to visit a Maasai village en route back to Nairobi. The people there were friendly and welcoming, and it was interesting to get a little understanding of the way they live. Some things seem unchanged over centuries, such as the construction of bush-fencing in the center of the village to protect their goats and cattle at night – their lives depend on their animals – while other things reminded us that these are also modern times, such as the sight of a herder using his smartphone as as the cows ambled by.
We arrived home Friday evening exhausted, yet excited and still in awe, and possibly the dustiest we have ever been! Mud puddles in the bathtub that night… and then a good sound sleep!
Oh, did you want to see some of the animals? 😉 We managed to photograph a few along the way: (click any image to view larger as a slide show.)
This song came to mind throughout our game drives:
All things bright and beautiful,
all creatures great and small,
all things wise (and weird!) and wonderful,
the Lord God made them all.