Kenya’s Maasai Mara blew me away. My partner and I stayed in both the Naboisho Conservancy and Maasai Mara Game Reserve (or “the Mara”, as locals call it). Because the Naboisho Conservancy is a private game reserve within the larger Maasai Mara ecosystem, we were allowed to do a morning walking safari and a night game drive – both of which were not permitted in the Mara. We saw the highest concentration of wildlife in Naboisho than anywhere else, even including the famed Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. The Mara was just magical and magnificent – vast, open and full of surprises. We saw thousands and thousands of wildebeest on the Mara as they followed the rains and did their annual migration.

Having grown up watching The Lion King hundreds of times over, I’ve been fascinated by the circle of life on the African savannah since young. The real life wildlife watching exceeded all my expectations. It was a real privilege to be there. Apart from all the big animals, I also fell in love watching the brightly colored and elegant birds of the Mara, who were absolutely a joy to photograph.

But in the end, the experience in the Maasai Mara was special mostly because of the friendly and high-spirited Maasai warriors who guided us on the safari. The Maasai live and breathe the Mara and know the lands like no other.

Here are some of the most special photos and videos I captured on the Kenyan safaris.

Follow me on Instagram @qiuyunsong13 to see more of my travel photography.

An aerial view of migrating wildebeest and zebras:

The Maasai warriors do their traditional welcome dance:

A close up of the thousands of wildebeest everywhere on the Mara:

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