Kenya: So Where Exactly Were We?
For those who have not been to the Mara, it can be difficult to picture the geography and understand how vast it is, and just how scattered were our various sightings.
When I travel, I like to record the precise details of every place we visit. I use a smartphone app which does not require cellular network connectivity (but will use it if present), but uses the phone's GPS receiver to record the coordinates of wherever I am.
At each place we visited, and at each wildlife sighting or other stop we made, I recorded our position and the details about what took place there.
When we returned, I plotted all of the details onto a Google map, breaking down the locations by days, game drives and other activities and places of interest.
We were based in the Mara North Conservancy (MNC), which is a privately-managed, 28,000 hectare region of the greater Mara ecosystem, located close to the Mara River which forms its northern-most border.
The neighbouring conservancies (also known as private concessions) and reserves are Lemek Conservancy to the north, Motorogi Conservancy to the east, Olare Orok Conservancy to the south-east, and the Maasai Mara National Reserve to the south.
To the south of MNC lies the Maasai Mara National Reserve, which itself is over 1,500 square kilometres in size, and which forms part of the greater Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, spanning both Kenya and Tanzania to the south. On one of our days, we departed from the Mara North Conservancy and headed into the main reserve, where we encountered wild cheetahs for the first time.
The Mara is 270km west of Nairobi, and takes 45 minutes to reach by light plane, with numerous airstrips being spread around the Mara, two of which we used being within a few hundred metres of each other.
The Mara North Conservancy and the Maasai Mara National Reserve are both quite famous, and were extensively featured in the superb BBC series Big Cat Diary. One particular leopard was filmed at a spot called Leopard Gorge, which lies to the south-west of Elephant Pepper Camp, and, incidentally, was the location of our first leopard sighting in the Mara.
So, here is a map which shows where exactly we were, with images captured at many of the places.
I hope readers find interest in seeing where we were, and gain a greater understanding of an undeniably fantastic part of the world.
Published on Friday, 2nd October, 2015.