Friday, February 24, 2012

Wednesday, Feb 22nd, Massai Mara Sopa Lodge


We jokingly refer to it as the Massai Massage. The trip over the first 200 miles to the Massai Mara Lodge is over road that requires auto acrobatics. Our driver, Joe, is a master at driving our van on the crown of pot-holed asphalt flanked by gravel. The trick is to drive with one tire on the gravel, and one on the untouched asphalt in the middle of the paved section of the road, with the van at an angle of about 20 degrees. And remember, they drive on the left side of the road here.

The second shorter section wasn’t bad, as some of it was actually completely asphalt. But while the country has decided to concentrate its paving funds on the main east west road (trucks carrying goods from inland to the country’s port), smaller roads are being systematically de-paved. That will eliminate the need for the trick described above. The road to Massai Mara was experiencing a de-paving at the end of the middle section as we drove it, and we were glad to meet the de-paver as we crossed to the end of the middle section.

But the last 60 miles was never even prepared for paving. It was dirt and rocks just chaotic enough to create a teeth-grinding experience, especially if driven at the speed necessary to get us there for lunch. By the end, we had all recalled the worst road stories ever, and some were planning on adding this one to the short list. This evening, I heard at least one couple planning to take a local flight back to Nairobi at the end of this tour.

But as bad as the drive in was, the stay here has been great. This reserve is 1,600 square miles of protected wild animals and gorgeous African savannah. Our game van’s roof raises up, and Joe takes it everywhere in search of anything. The only rules are that we can’t get out of the van, and we have to head back to the Lodge at 6pm. We’re fine with both, as I’m sure are the animals.


To see the photos taken today, click on: Wednesday, Feb 22nd, Massai Mara Sopa Lodge

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