Maasai Mara (Masai Mara) is known as Africa’s Greatest Wildlife Reserve, situated in southwest Kenya. Famous for the abundance of lion, the Great Wildebeest Migration and the Maasai people, well known for their distinctive custom and dress, it is without a doubt one of Africa’s most famous safari destinations.
Maasai Mara National Reserve stretches 1,510 sq km (580 sq miles) and raises 1,500-2,170 meters above sea level. The terrain of the reserve is primarily grassland and riverine forest with clumps of the distinctive acacia trees. It’s about 270 km from the capital city Nairobi and takes about 5-6 hours by road or 40-45 minutes by flight.
The Maasai Mara Ecosystem holds one of the highest lion densities in world and this is where over TWO MILLION Wildebeest, Zebra and Thomsons Gazelle migrate annually. Its hosts over 95 species of mammals and 570 recorded species of birds.
BESTTIME TO VISIT With the wildebeest migration in July to October, this is the best time to see these incredible movement of animals. Although it is not guaranteed that the wildebeest get to Maasai Mara, it has yet to let us down. Also, December to February are great times as it is dryer, however the wildebeest and a lot of the zebra will moved on to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania by then.
RECOMMENDEDNUMBER OF DAYS Due the amount to be seen in the reserve we feel a three to four day safari is suitable. If you are interested in photography the longer you stay the more chance of getting the ultimate photo.
Getting To Maasai Mara
The Maasai Mara is approximately 280 kms west from Nairobi City.
There are two ways to get to the Maasai Mara.
Drive – Driving will take you about 5-6 hours. Nairobi to Narok will take you about 2-2.5 hours, the road is absolutely beautiful and smooth.
In Narok there is a fuel station just across the river which is a great stop for food, toilet and snacks. Leaving Narok to Sekenani Gate will take you about 2-3.5 hours depending on the vehicle you are travelling with.
The road has really broken up and is NOT good at all while on the tar road. It has a lot of pot holes and special attention is needed.
At the end of the tar road the road you drive on a dirt road. This has been graded and is in good condition (July 2011). This road goes until the Sekenani Gate. Once in the reserve the roads are ok, but not the best.
A 4×4 vechicle is recommended they are normally about $250 – $350 per day and come with a driver.
Wildebeest, topi, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle migrate into and occupy the Mara reserve, from the Serengeti plains to the south and Loita plains in the pastoral ranches to the north-east, from July to October or later. Herds of all three species are also resident in the reserve.
All members of the ”Big Five” (lion, leopard, African elephant, African buffalo, and Black Rhinoceros) are found in the Maasai Mara. The population of Black rhinos was fairly numerous until 1960, but it was severely depleted by poaching in the 1970s and early 1980s, dropping to a low of 15 individuals. Numbers have been slowly increasing, but the population was still only up to an estimated 23 in 1999
Hippopotami and Nile crocodiles are found in large groups in the Mara and Talek rivers. Leopards, hyenas, cheetahs,jackals, and bat-eared foxes can also be found in the reserve. The plains between the Mara River and the Esoit Siria Escarpment are probably the best area for game viewing, in particular regarding lion and cheetah.
As in the Serengeti, the wildebeest are the dominant inhabitants of the Maasai Mara, and their numbers are estimated in the millions. Around July of each year, these ungainly animals migrate north from the Serengeti plains in search of fresh pasture, and return to the south around October. The Great Migration is one of the most impressive natural events worldwide, involving some 1,300,000 wildebeest, 500,000 Thomson’s gazelles, 97,000 Topi, 18,000 elands, and 200,000zebras. These migrants are followed along their annual, circular route by hungry predators, most notably lions and hyena.
Numerous other antelopes can be found, including Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles, impalas, elands, duikers and Coke’shartebeests. Large herds of zebra are found through the reserve. The plains are also home to the distinctive Masai giraffe. The large Roan antelope and the nocturnalbat-eared fox, rarely present elsewhere in Kenya, can be seen within the reserve borders.
More than 470 species of birds have been identified in the park, many of which are migrants, with almost 60 species being raptors Birds that call this area home for at least part of the year include: vultures, marabou storks, secretary birds, hornbills, crowned cranes, ostriches, long-crested Eagles, African pygmy-falcons and the lilac-breasted roller, which is the national bird of Kenya.
3 DAYS 2 NIGHTS MASAI MARA NATIONAL PARK JULY-OCT 2012
Day 1: NAIROBI / MASAI MARA
Departure Nairobi for the Masai Mara Game Reserve stopping for a scenic view of the Great Rift Valley. Lunch at a stop over hotel at Narok. Arrive for a late afternoon game drive. The park is essentially the northern extension of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Dinner and overnight at Olmoran Camp or similar..
Day 2 : MASAI MARA
Early morning game drive, followed by breakfast. With the early morning game drive you will be able to see the animals that are rarely seen during the day as they hide themselves and come out at night till early morning. The famous Mara is reknown for its great herds of plains, game, black manned Lions, Leopard and Cheetah. It also has numerous Elephants and virtually every type of wildlife to be found in Kenya. With packed lunch spend the whole day in game viewing. Meals and overnight at Olmoran Camp or similar.
Day 3: MASAI / NAIROBI
Breakfast at the lodge. Pack up to depart to Nairobi with an enroute game drive.
COST USD 1080
AN EXTRA NIGHT WILL BE USD 420
THE ABOVE INCLUDE :
-Transport from Nairobi to Masai Mara and back to Nairobi in a safari van.
-Game drives as by the itinerary.
-Accommodation on Full Board 2 Nights
-Vehicle, Fuel, Driver