Journal Entry: Day 252

(Nomad: Day 1437),
Naboisho conservancy, Masai Mara, Kenya,

After 2 nights in Nairobi, I finally arrived in Masai Mara, a famous area that always tops number one of the place to see/visit in East Africa. It is a very animal-rich place, with all the well-known animals and many more. Thus I had to pass by this place everybody is talking about especially for sounds; otherwise, I would have felt empty leaving Kenya without this experience.
I arrived by plane, a small one, which is probably the best way to come here. I chose to go to one of the conservancies and not the national park. After a small research, I found out there are as many animals in the conservancies, it is also less crowded with tourists, it is freer to go around, and is allowed to walk unlike the park, it also directly support local communities. Due to the high price of the stays here, I decided to stay only two nights, and this at two different places each night, which will allow me to record different environments. Also, I did not plan to leave drop rigs this time after my experience in Namunyak.
First day here, I have to say I am not disappointed with the number of animals. They are everywhere. There are tons of zebras, more than I would have expected. Also, I can hear them at times, they make a very particular sound. There are also Elands, Thomson’s gazelles, topis, wildebeests, dik-dik, hyenas, giraffes, buffalos, warthogs, cheetah, hippos, vervet monkeys, baboons, …. and many more, but also many birds. I am surprised to have seen only one elephant though. The soundscape is beautiful, I am happy to hear just very few human noises, but at times it can be annoying, as planes are passing by, and visitors are doing game drives. Also inside the camp, there can be some noise from the workers or neighbor tents. Hopefully, in the first camp I stayed, the tent were spaced enough so I could not hear much noise. The wind can blow strong sometimes, which is not recording-friendly. I did drive around with a guide, I tried three times to do ‘game drive’ safaris (as they call it). however, I don’t think it is the right way to record sounds. First, there are many noises from the car itself even with the engines switched off, and it is difficult to get out of the car. Secondly, it is more adapted to photography, spotting animals, and doing instant shots, but it does not really work with sound; since sound needs time, and cannot be captured in an instant like photography. Thirdly there are usually other people driving around too, and making noises. Fourthly, while driving the sound of the engine makes it impossible to spot interesting sounds, so the drive is only based on visual queues. I was quite disappointed with these drives, even though I was able to take nice pictures; I decided to not do any more drives like this. Today is the last day here, I am still recording more sounds, then time will go fast, I will arrive in Cape Town Thursday if all goes right; spending one night in Nairobi will allow me to do a needed PCR test.

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