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Looking to go on a Kenya Safari? Why not choose a
Masai Mara Safari? Simply put, it is
the best destination in Kenya for viewing wildlife - and
lots of it! The Masai Mara is home to a great wildlife
spectacle, as sometime between August and November more than
two million wildebeest migrate from the Serengeti in search
of water and grazing.
For many people, timing their
Masai Mara Safari to coincide
with the migration seems vital - but with a very abundant
and healthy resident population of animals, a holiday to the
Masai Mara is great at any time of the year.
The word Mara means "spotted". Does this relate to the
landscape, which is patched with groves of acacia and thorn
bushes? It is more likely that the name originated from the
speckled inundation of wildebeest and millions of other
herbivores during the migration. With its rolling grasslands
and wide-open savannah, the Masai Mara is the kind of
African landscape you might see in the movies.
Many predators also prevail in the Mara, including large
prides of lions, a fair number of cheetahs and leopards,
spotted hyenas and silver- or black-backed jackals.
Introduction to Masai Mara:
- With its rolling
grasslands and wide-open savannah, the Masai Mara is the
kind of unfettered, sprawling wilderness you will have
discovered in Hollywood films set in Africa. Kenya's
finest reserve, the Masai Mara pulses with raw energy as
an array of animals go about their daily lives.
At certain times of the year the famous Mara throbs to
the beat of hundreds of thousands of hooves as the Great
Wildebeest Migration takes place.
The reserve is unfenced and borders the Serengeti
National Park. The two countries share the vast
Serengeti plains, with the wildlife free to roam between
Kenya and Tanzania in search of food.
Between July and October millions of wildebeest, zebra
and gazelles cross into the Masai Mara from the
Serengeti where they gather to graze and relax on the
Mara's plains, which - at about one third of the size of
the enormous Serengeti National Park, is more manageable
from a game viewing point of view. The Masai Mara's open
grasslands teem with wildlife in every direction.
The Masai Mara Reserve is rich in Africa's biggest
attractions - predators are abundant (lion sightings are
incredibly common), and the Big Five are encountered
around every corner.
The Mara is a permanent water source for the area's wild
inhabitants and so even when the very last wildebeest
has tardily set off for the southern Serengeti, massive
resident herds remain, offering visitors everything they
could want to see on an African safari. A Masai Mara
safari provides a year-round safari experience.
The accommodation in the
Masai Mara is as varied and rich as
the wildlife experience that awaits you. From large
lodges to exclusive tented camps, your stay will be made
that much more special by the people that welcome you
Try a Masai Mara safari tour to experience the best of
the Mara. There's the focused Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara
Safari or, if time is on your side, the Northern Kenya
and Masai Mara Fly-In Safari will provide you with a
more in-depth experience.
Either way, you're sure to remember your Masai Mara
safari for a long time to come.
So whether you arrive at the Masai Mara in time for the
famous migration, or not, your experience of this piece
of raw African wilderness will be a superlative one.
- As the northern
extension of the Serengeti plains, the Mara is the
frenetic start and finish point of the annual migration.
Several million hooves treat the Masai Mara as an
inter-country pitstop. Arriving exhausted by their
desperate passage, they refuel, enjoy three or so months
(roughly August to October) of grazing and relaxing on
the Mara, and then set off once again for the freshly
rained-on southern Serengeti plains.
On a Masai Mara Safari the sight of millions of
wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebra, eland and
gazelle grazing, crossing rivers, arriving and leaving,
is quite simply mind blowing. The migration is said to
have been in existence hundred of thousands of years ago
and the cycle plays out year after year.
Masai Mara safari: Wildebeest Migration months:
- Visitors should bear in
mind that even though the migration is one of Africa's
most remarkable displays, the Masai Mara is one of
Africa's best wildlife destinations year round. Even if
your visit falls outside of the peak migration times, it
doesn't mean you won't enjoy what the Mara is renowned
for: an incredible amount of wildlife and diversity that
ranges from lions and leopards to grazing Maasai cattle.
The Masai Mara is a reserve about a third of the size of
the Serengeti National Park which also makes it a more
manageable area for game viewing.
- November: Once the
southern Serengeti's short rains have fallen, thousands
of large mammals travel fast, heads down and hooves
stomping, to the Serengeti's southern plains and the
December through March: The southern section of the
Serengeti is where all the action plays out during this
time. This is when the game animals give birth to their
young and start preparing for the northern trek. Over
8,000 calves are born on each day of the calving season;
yet less than half will live to see their five-month
birthday. Predators like the Serengeti lions and cheetah
pick and choose from the thousands of potential victims.
- April: The adults and
surviving young shift their attention to the central
areas of the park, moving towards the Serengeti's
western corridor. This funnel-shaped piece of land runs
from the Central Serengeti in a western direction to the
park boundary near Lake Victoria's shore.
June: Arriving at the corridor around June, the millions
of grazers are forced to cross the Grumeti River.
There's usually an unpredictable waiting period of one
to two weeks as the animals prepare for the
life-threatening crossing. Ironically, it is usually the
first animals that attempt to cross that are taken by
the Grumeti crocodiles - supersized predators that feast
as the long train of wildlife tries to cross.
July: From here attention shifts north as the migration
enters the private Grumeti Reserve, with a small portion
splitting off and heading northeast, to the Lobo area.
June to August: This is usually the best time to see the
migration. In August the migration reaches the far
northern area. There are a few excellent camps in this
area from which you can witness this natural phenomenon.
September to December: September is another time when
animals cross the Sand River and head into the Masai
Mara. They will stay in the Masai Mara where water is
always available, until the November rains in the south
Serengeti beckon once again and the cycle begins anew in
When to go on a Masai Mara
- You can visit the Masai
Mara National Reserve at any time of year. From a
weather point of view, there's no disadvantageous time
The Masai Mara is a superb game-viewing destination all
year round. However, most people would like to time
their visit with the Great Wildebeest Migration. Getting
the timing right is really tricky as it all depends on
when the rains fall and set the migration in motion.
The migration starts and ends in the Masai Mara so from
September to December, your chances of witnessing the
sheer mass of grazers that gather are good.
Masai Mara safari accommodation, lodges and tented
- Staying in the extremely
popular Masai Mara has its pros and cons. A central
strip of lodges form a ragged line along the centre of
the reserve. Popular and commercial, prepare yourself
for people on a Masai Mara safari, because you are going
to see a number of other vehicles on game drives. The
converse is that you're staying in the heart of one of
Africa's most wildlife-rich reserves and there are
thousands of animals for every visitor.
A stay in one of the lodges outside the reserve's
northern boundary is more secluded but there are smaller
concentrations of wildlife. The outlying lodges along
the eastern boundary provide solitude from the masses
without losing the large wildlife herds typical of a
Masai Mara Safari.
Mara Serena Safari Lodge:
This safari lodge is set on the saddle of a hill
overlooking 1 800 -square kilometres of rolling plains
and woodlands that contain one of the world's richest
Mara Sopa Lodge:
This Lodge is set in the Oloolamuita valley in the
hillside landscape. The Lodge houses 100 rooms of which
13 are suites and each room and suite has a breathtaking
view of the Olooaimutia Valley.
Mara Intrepids Club:
Set under the shade of trees along the banks of the
river, recreating the romance and charm of the old
safari experience, you will find the Mara Intrepids
Siana Springs Intrepids Lodge:
Located on the eastern edge of the Masai Mara in a
surrounding of fever trees, the camp has a tranquil
atmosphere with spacious safari style tents amongst
shady trees, which gives a romantic feel.
This exclusive five-star camp, situated on a thickly
forested river in the middle of the Maasai Mara reserve,
offers guests the ultimate wilderness retreat.
Sarova Mara Camp:
Indisputably the richest game sanctuary in Kenya, the
great expanse of plains set against the distant hills
provide a unique backdrop from which to enjoy the
Mara Simba is a comfortable, exclusive lodge on the
banks of the Talek River in the Masai Mara reserve. It
was designed to complement its surroundings and is
decorated in traditional Maasai style.
Kichwa Tembo Tented
Kichwa Tembo overlooks the game-filled plains of the
Masai Mara and is shaded by dense forest canopy. Each
luxurious tent offers sweeping views over the
Kichwa Tembo Bateleur Camp:
The Masai Mara National Reserve lies directly in the
path of what is considered to be the greatest spectacle
in the animal kingdom: the annual migration of thousands
of wildebeest and zebra from the Serengeti National Park
Governors Camp is situated in the northern Masai Mara.
If you time your arrival correctly, you may be lucky
enough to witness the great migration.
Intimate in character, Little Governors' Camp has just
17 tents set in a tranquil and secluded spot. The Camp
is simply spectacular, capturing a part of every
Governors' IL Moran
This is an exclusive, intimate luxury safari camp, with
an atmosphere of original hunting camps, and situated in
the Masai Mara. There are only ten luxury safari tents,
hidden deep within the forest, lining the banks of the
Governors' Private Camp is the jewel in the Governors'
Camps crown, for those who want an exclusive taste of
the Governors' experience.
Olonana is situated on the banks of the Mara River, in
the heart of Kenya's Big Game country. This unique
setting offers a world of remarkable opportunities for
Mara Safari Club:
The Mara Safari Club is positioned on the Ox Bow of the
Mara River, bordering the world renowned Masai Mara Game
Reserve, at the foot of the Aitong Hills.
Rekero Cottages are situated in the Masai Mara
Conservation area, just north of the National Reserve in
Kenya. The accommodation is modest and made almost
entirely from local materials, overlooking a natural
Mpata Safari Club,
Keekorok Lodge among many others.
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