Living for a little while in the beautiful Maasai Mara, doing my fieldwork is a great experience in itself. Going out each day looking over open landscapes as far your eyes can reach and seeing zebras, antelopes and elephants is an amazing privilege. However, being out here also sometimes offers opportunities that I wasn’t prepared for. One of these was going on a helicopter ride over the Mara.
Around 10 in the morning I heard the unmistakable sound of the blades from a helicopter, and went to the helipad with the two others I was flying with. We were asked if we wanted to have the doors off, which we agreed to. It makes the photos better not taking them through a Plexiglas window. After a quick safety briefing, we put our seatbelts and headsets on. The headsets drowning out the loud noise of the engine and the roaring wind. Of course, the experience of feeling the wind whip past you as you put your hand out is also a fun experience. We flew over the Mara seeing zebras, antelopes, wildebeests and other animals disperse as we flew over. Sometimes flying low that you could almost see the wind from the helicopter move the grass, circling around a spot to take a photo and feeling as if we were almost lying sideways. Then move up higher and looking at the shadow below getting smaller. We flew over small settlements and people looking up. We saw elephants in the long grass and the tracks they leave behind in it, as they move about.
We finished by zigzagging along the river, as hippos dove under the water. The sensation of a tickle in my stomach as we followed the river before ending back where we started.