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Keekorok Airstrip, Masai Mara

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Of all the tiny airports I have landed in in various parts of the world, I still remember Keekorok with much fondness – for various reasons. Keekorok Airstrip, Maasai Mara is bang in the centre of Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya and is comprised of a dirt runway sometimes over run with wild elephants and zebras, has the bumpiest landing, has a waiting area and no control tower or room. Well, its an airstrip – it is, I hear a damn sight better than few of the airstrips in Alaska – but I wouldn’t know that for sure.

I have been to the Masai Mara a few times, but only once flew in – thanks to a severe shortage of time. But to land in the middle of a game park full of elephants, to have coffee at one of the most luxurious lodges in the game park, to see the King of the Masai Mara in such large numbers, to watch crocodiles in the Mara river, zebras and wildebeest – is always amazing.

NOTE: IF you are pressed for time, fly into Masai Mara, go on the game drive and fly right back. It takes 45 minutes from Nairobi to Keekorok. Safari Links and Air Kenya operate flights on this route.

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My return flight (Safari Links) was a bit late – given that it had rained very heavily sometime ago and there was a lot of thunder and lightening. I was worried we would miss our onward flight back home from Nairoboi – there was no way we could make our way to Nairobi – no matter how hard we drove in the old Toyota van – there was no one to ask – the airstrip is manned by two men who, for reasons best known to them, spend their time staring at an old laptop and smiling among themselves, instead of talking to the few air-travelers that wait with angst and fear for the flight to arrive. I should add here that no matter how hard you try or panic, the ‘airport staff’ only have one way to comfort you –

“Your flight will arrive any moment now.”

You don’t really need them to tell you that – as far as eyes can see, the horizon in clear and you cant miss a plane, now can you?

 

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