Many of my friends have recently asked me about my now famous trip to Masai Mara in Kenya, Africa. Since they prefer to go on vacation abroad away from the typical destinations within India (which they often find very crowded) they keep asking me about how they can also plan a trip to Kenya.
I have already written blogs about Masai Mara but have never shared how the trip was planned and what are all the sights and places you can see. Traveling to Kenya for tourism is not that very expensive and if planned properly and it can be easily be managed within the same budget you would spend on an exotic location in India. Careful pre-planning would save you a lot when it comes to airlines and hotels. The best way to head to the African continent would be either from Mumbai or New Delhi. There are more flight options from Mumbai and thus it is always the first choice. You can reach Mumbai either through a connecting flight or by train.
In 2007 I had the wonderful opportunity to attend World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya. It was a life changing experience for me to meet so many people from different parts of the globe. For few days Nairobi became the capital of the world. When someone travels to Kenya then the words Masai Mara always comes to their mind. A trip to Kenya would be incomplete without visiting the great Masai Mara game reserve for a true African Safari. To my luck there were some safari organizers at the World Social Forum venue and I had already negotiated a one night and two days package for 200 US $. This would including pick up and drop to and from Nairobi, safari, entry fee, lodging and food. I was picked up at 8 AM from my guest house. Luckily I was the first one to be picked up so I secured the priced front seat. I had done my breakfast at the guest house and since I knew that the next meal would be lunch so I had stuffed enough food inside me for the long journey. My luggage just included a few clothes for a night’s trip. Rest of the group members were picked up from different hotels and by 9.30 AM the minivan was ready to head towards Masai Mara. The group was a mixed bag with Brazilians, Americans and of course good old Indians (mostly Guajarati). Within an hour we left the bustling Nairobi town and were now in the real Africa. The roads were good so the journey for the next couple of hours went smoothly.
Africa as a continent is a Pandora’s box, you never know what to expect next. I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Kenya in 2007 to attend World Social Forum 2007 with the theme “Another world is possible”. For me it was my first experience of the continent. I had mostly read about Africa in the novel Chander Pahar (Mountain of the Moon) by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay where it was described more like a dark continent with wild animals roaming all around. To me I always imagined Africa with these in mind thus was awestruck with the stark contrast in the living standards. Basically in Kenya or rather whole of Africa you have two class of people, rich and poor. Middle class is non-existent thus you see people in the streets sniffing glue to stop the hunger and also find people in their convertible Merc’s.