Sunworld Safaris Review
by Rosemarie Lamb
We saw so many leopards, cheetahs and lions; it was like a dream come true! The more time I spend in the bush, the more time I want to spend.
Safari Company Performance
The safari was with Sunworld, booked through Wildeye travel group specialising in photography – Big Cat Safari.
The performance of all the staff at the Mara bush camp was excellent. Always greeted with smiles and friendliness, nothing appeared to be too much trouble for them.
There was plenty of staff to the ratio of guests. The drivers and guides were fantastic. They were knowledgeable and quite spectacular at finding the animals that we so wanted to be able to see.
Each day we thought could not be better than the last, but it was! It was a joy to be with Wilson, James and John.
The vehicles were always clean, comfortable and we always had plenty of water, food and beanbags (essential for photography)!
All aspects of the Mara Bush camp where we stayed for the duration of our trip were excellent.
The tented accommodation was comfortable and clean. There was plenty of room to unpack the safari gear and also to store my camera equipment when not being used.
It's not the sort of place where you worry about your hair and make-up. You're in the bush on safari.
Showers were hot and took just a few minutes from asking for the hot water, to it being delivered, carried up to the top of the tent, and the pipe switched on.
There was always plenty of bottled water for teeth brushing, and the bins were cleaned on a very regular basis.
Fresh flowers were also put in the tent which was a lovely touch to see.
I loved my tent in the bush and could quite happily live there forever!
Considering the food is prepared in the middle of the bush, in a tent with limited resources, it was really very good.
Breakfast, which we took picnic style whilst out on our morning safaris, was huge with plenty of choice.
Usually fruit, fresh yogurt, toast, marmalade, boiled egg, bread rolls, fried crispy bacon, sometimes a fruit pastry or cake or even pancakes, fruit juice and plenty of tea or coffee. Being out so early in the morning certainly gives you an appetite.
For lunch, if we came back to the camp, there was a hot meal waiting, like lasagna, chicken, pastas, great soups and the evening meals were excellent.
We had barbeque meats one evening along with garlic bread and baked potatoes, very nice, and one evening a traditional Masai meal. It was delicious, lots of great vegetables and meats.
I never felt hungry on the trip once as I ate so much.
The purpose of the trip for me was to see animals in their natural environment, behaving naturally and in freedom.
This trip was undoubtedly one of the best I have ever had for game viewing and up close experiences.
I have been on around 40 safaris within Southern Africa, India and Borneo over a 25 year span, so the safari experience is not new to me.
What was so great about this trip and our trackers and drivers, was the respect and care that was shown to the animals.
The care, patience and skill of how the drivers approached the animals, gave a safe distance and on many occasions stopped a way off, and then, the animals themselves just walked up closer to us, made this a totally brilliant experience.
We watched a beautiful leopard, feeding from a kill. As leopards generally drag their kill up into a tree, this is just brilliant to watch.
The young leopard Kali, whom we saw on 5 separate occasions during our trip, was such a delight to see.
At only one year old, he is still a little clumsy and his antics up high in the tree on what looked to be such delicate and thin branches had us laughing in hushed giggles.
After watching the leopard eat for up to an hour, we would then be brimming over with pleasure, chattering away, and hungry for breakfast.
A delightful setting for breakfast was the riverbanks as there was always the possibility of seeing elephants, hippo and perhaps leopard come down to drink.
Our guides gave us little tidbits of information and great stories too.
One Maasai story about the noise the hippos make is that when they are all under the water, they tell jokes to each other, and then hold in the laughter until they reach the surface.
The hyenas also love jokes so they listen in too and then laugh out loud for all to hear.
Days driving in the park may seem to be long, we were sometimes out for over 13 hours at a time, but it just is such a pleasure, seeing the wildlife, smelling and listening to everything around you, every sense you have is totally awakened in the bush.
I just loved seeing the numerous cheetahs (over 16 different cats) that we did, especially Shakira and her cubs.
She was on a kill when we arrived, a small impala I believe, and after gorging themselves on the kill, they actually used the vehicles to shelter under and relax for a while.
This was a wonderful thing to see and to be so close was thrilling. Also to have seen 5 different leopards during our stay were totally awesome.
To see Kali, totally unbothered by our presence, resting on the top of a termite mound in the sunshine, yawning and stretching, and just doing his thing, I was overjoyed.
And of course, the Marsh pride of Lions, over 13 of them in one area, playing, fighting, interacting with each other, but all about 10 feet away from us!
It was perfect!
Each day before dawn, we would assemble in the darkness, be allocated our driver for the day and then set off eagerly from the camp.
As the sun rose, the noise of the birds and the calls of the animals fill the air, then we would spend a few hours driving skillfully next to the river bed, leaving no bush or tree unexplored.
After finding a suitable, safe area to stop, we then met up with the rest in our group and had our alfresco picnic.
Blankets on the ground, hot coffee and our boxes stuffed full of goodies, we would talk about our morning's sightings.
In the distance would be zebra, wildebeest, impala, topi, and some elephants.
After a full day of animal spotting and photographing, we would eventually return to the camp, more often than not a bit late for dinner.
One of the staff would always be in traditional Maasai dress, and his elegant walk and posture was accompanied by the gentle jangle of bells, sewn into his garments.
We helped ourselves to the wonderful hot meal, prepared by the excellent chef, who watched in appreciation as we filled our plates.
The camp fire roared and flickered in the distance, and we enjoyed a glass or two of wine or beer, chattering about the days sightings, and generally enjoying our communal dinner.
The evening meal was followed by coffee or drinks sipped outside, around the campfire, the stars above twinkling like diamonds on a black velvet cloth.
The roar of a lion or the laugh of the hyena often breaking into the conversations being held, reminding us just how close we were to this wonderful wild Africa.
Then when eyes could not stay open for any longer, our Morani warrior would accompany us back to our tents, walking quietly, single file in the darkness, his spear glinting in the moonlight.
The trip for me, was all about being on safari and being given the opportunity to view the animals, photograph and video them.
In all honesty, my expectations were surpassed.
We had a great group of likeminded people with us, starting as strangers, but leaving as friends who all shared these brilliant 10 days at the Mara Bush Camp.
I will definitely go back, Africa is in my blood now and there's nowhere quite like it on earth!
Tips & Advice
Use a great safari company like Sunworld.
Don't pack too much stuff. Relax completely. After a few days, you get brightness in your eyes and a glow to your skin so look great anyway!
For your camera, take plenty of chips/films and spare batteries.
Take a pillow case or two to keep the dust out of your equipment. Good sunglasses/sun cream/hat.
A Pashmina kept me shaded or warm as required.
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