Zebra shortly after the wet season, so grass is long and smaller beasts are difficult/impossible to see.
Self Drive Safaris
Self drive is the easiest way to get around the Masai Mara, especially with young children. Flying is fast but then involved staying at the sort of safari lodge or camp that includes a vehicle and guide for game drives and that's usually expensive. Buses can be used if you're experienced, adventurous travellers, but they're inconvenient for gateways into parks and reserves where the accommodation is located.
However, a self-drive safari is a different matter. It's easy enough to see a fair amount of Kenyan wildlife off the mainstream tourist circuit in places like Lake Naivasha, Hell's Gate, Lake Baringo and Kakamega Forest but it's a lot more effort in bigger national parks - Maasai Mara included - where neither the roads nor the sign posting are in good shape so both getting lost and getting limited wildlife sightings is likely to be commonplace. It's a maze out there, every road looks the same, crap dirt roads that go to the horizon; pick the wrong one and spend a night with the lions.
A lion greets his fans.
The lion is spraying the Land Rover, marking it as his territory. Animals like these don't seem to notice carefully driven jeeps, sometimes fooling tourists into jumping down from their vehicle for a closer shot. The tourist then gets a high-speed close-up of a predator's claws and canines - often fatal to the human, but a refreshingly different flavour for the predator.
A group hug in the Mara.
Trivia: The cheetah (yup, they are not leopards) is the fastest animal in Africa with a top speed of 112kph, 70mph.
These days of austerity and competition there are cheaper safari options popping up all over the place, but especially to be found in Nairobi. For example Nairobi backpackers runs cheap and convenient safari tours from a couple of days up to a week or more. But 'cheap' is relative, no reasonable East African safari is ever going to be really cheap! You're definitely looking at over a hundred dollars per day per person for a tent, 3 meals, return transport to/from the airport and game drives.
A pensive olive baboon, the dominant male of the troop. i.e. The Big Boss.
Trivia: Baboons are extremely sociable and move in troops of 20-700, divided into harem squads controlled by this dude.
A spotted hyena with an appetite for anything.
Trivia: Hyenas laugh when either killing or mating, and scream when preparing to hunt. Nice.
Black crowned cranes.
Trivia: Just like clubbers, cranes dress up, posture, preen, strut, jump and dance to attract a mate and have a wild affair.
So which of these three creatures is the most dangerous animal in Africa: Lion; Cape buffalo; Hippo?
A Cape Buffalo calculating the odds of knocking the photographer out of the truck for a bit of excitement and death on a hot, dull afternoon.
A female hippo with two young showing some displeasure.
The African, or Cape buffalo, is the most dangerous. It is very aggressive and charges without provocation. It also likes to lurk behind thick bushes or trees waiting for short-sighted Japanese businessmen to wander into range. It's the biggest killer of humans in Africa. This beast possesses all the aggression and desire to kill that's missing from Asian water buffalo.
The hippopotamus is runner-up man-killer, especially females with young nearby, like the one in the picture.
Although lionesses kill far more game than their male mates, who are in fact lazy, good-for-nothing sex-toys (they have sex up to 50 times a day in season), the lion family kill far fewer humans than the other two animals.