Maniagos sizzling platter offers diplomats a rare treat at the World’s Eighth wonder
The quintessential annual wildebeest migration in Kenya and Tanzania is arguably the most captivating and spectacular natural event in the world. The more than three million mammals send out their native enchantment as they cascade over the vast expanses of the newly-crowned Eighth Wonder of World - the Masai Mara, crossing the crocodile infested waters of the Mara River. The vertiginous enormity of the event is awe inspiring as migrants consist of 1,300,000 Wildebeest, 360,000 Thomson’s gazelle, 191,000 Zebra, and 12,000 Elands.
In a tailor made and handsomely packaged safari expedition, Diplomat East Africa in conjunction with Maniago Safaris is giving our readers a chance to break away from the roll and mill of everyday life – in order to capture the thrill of Africa’s Eden in real time. Producing one of the world’s most spectacular sights is a natural inclination played out during the migration.
Maniago Safaris have joined the fray of tour companies with the express aim of offering a delightful mix of African harmony and unforgettable safari in the wild. The ‘greatest show on earth’ as it has been referred to in the past is a star attraction for not only international and domestic tourists but also envoys.
Duncan Muriuki, managing director of Maniago Safaris says they have singled out diplomats as they are the best word of mouth ambassadors for Kenya not underscoring the fact that Maasai Mara and famous natural beacons like Lake Nakuru are just not found anywhere else. Founded in 1993 as Abercrombie & Kent Travel, it later changed its name to Maniago Safaris in 1999, after a management buyout.
Indeed Maniago partners with some of the best lodges in Masai Mara and as the migration gets underway the proximity to the Mara River makes it ideal to witness the rough and tumble of the moment firsthand.
The company boasts of the exclusive expertise of Masai Chief James Ole Nairuko amongst its driver guides. Nairuko was crowned chief during a ceremony covered by National Geographic Spanish Version in 2007. “He is best known for sharing his wealth of knowledge as a driver guide/naturalist for Maniago,” says Muriuki adding, perhaps rather ingeniously that the diplomats will also get a chance to visit and interact with the local Masai community getting to know their way of life.
“Our Masai Chief James Ole Nairuko personally selects the souvenirs for each guest depending on a myriad of factors like gender; age etc so that the gift is relevant. The experience is further complimented by take away souvenirs like Masai belts, rungus, wedding necklaces and bracelets.
Maniago’s expertise is further cemented by their participation in the migration spanning the last two decades. “The animals are not there on show for us who go to view them, they are living their lives and so this is where the skills in planning, organising and executing the safari around the migration comes in; it is not just a chance event,” Muriuki enthuses.
He cites one of the migration trips out on a game drive in Saruni area in which a family of lions lazily stooped up in what appeared to be a leisurely walk in an area that was teaming with wildebeests. The lions seemed to drift away from each other but this later turned out to be a well executed hunting strategy. Minutes later, a baby wildebeest was drawn effortlessly and in what appears to be a suicide move driven by maternal love, the mother came trying to rescue the baby only for her to end up on the lions’ dinner table in one swift move.
In lieu of the fact that the migration is a natural occurrence, tracking the migratory path is paramount to getting the most out of the experience. Use of modern technology to get instant updates by the field staff is also complimented by the mobile phone connectivity spread across Masai Mara. Muriuki says that they are able to get blog updates as well as updates on youtube and facebook with recent images and activities of what they have seen minutes back. Also, anyone in their mailing list benefits from these free updates on their mobile phones.
Value for money also drastically ups the stakes for Maniago. The migration time is a more pricy period to travel than other times of the year purely from a demand and supply logic as everyone wants to go there. Discounts are therefore the catch phrase. Maniago’s rallying call is, the client is always right and must be treated as such as they ensure the next customer tomorrow.
Aside from the rush that comes from being enthralled by this spectacle, the itineraries laid out by Maniago boasts of a wide array of adventurous goodies. These include, game drives that are carefully selected with scouting done ahead of time to ensure you do not drive endlessly before seeing game.
“This also ensures you are going in the right direction,” says Muriuki adding that this is common when planning a trip for a VIP.
The evenings will reflect a kaleidoscope of cultural influence rich in Masai entertainment including surprise mock attacks by warriors; a thrill albeit a little bit of a shocker as it looks genuine to the very last detail. Other special offerings include a bush breakfast by the river not to mention ballooning over the plains of Masai Mara to watch the migration from the air. And as Muriuki advises, “ballooning is very relaxing and I always say it’s like a massage for the brain due to the soothing effect that the experience gives.”
A migration tour requires flexibility sometimes going out all day with lunch and drinks including champagne for sundowners as you watch the spectacle from the safety of well chosen spots. What Maniago has lined up is not a pre-packaged tour but rather real time designed programmes that will as much as humanly possible follow the migration pattern. However, as the MD recommends, a one way drive and one way flight will be ideal for an optimal experience as the roads are greatly improved.
His penchant for customer satisfaction has persisted in recent years as he recalls when he used to do this for the Concorde Millionaires on their around the World trips when Masai Mara was the only safari stop they used to make in their world tour.
Of all the mammals of Africa, the wildebeest is perhaps the most unique. Despite the assumption that the migration is a frenzy with the blind pilgrimage of wildebeests, they have been known to possess what is known as a “swarm intelligence”, whereby they explore and overcome the barrier as one. This creature with a 30-year life span solely inhabits the plains and open woodlands especially the Serengeti National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site in Tanzania, Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya and Liuwa Plain National Park in Zambia.
What an exciting time this exceptional natural phenomenon best renowned as Africa’s greatest wildlife spectacle guarantees to deliver- as the vast plains rumble to the sound of the galloping herds designed to enchant those lucky few.
Highlights of the Wildebeest experience
• Balloon safaris, remote wilderness, nature walks, bush camping, wildlife and photographic safaris.
• Masai entertainment including surprise mock attacks by warriors
• Champagne for Sundowners as you watch the spectacle from the safety of well chosen spots.
• DEA – Maniago Deal is the attractive discounts offering value for money
To Book Contact
Tel - +254 4449461/2, +254 721 170474
By Jane Mwangi
|< Prev||Next >|