Masai Mara National Reserve
Masai Mara National Reserve is considered a “must see” for any new visitor traveling on a safari to Kenya. It is on the “to do” list for many Kenyans and visitors alike because the park is graced by a wide variety of unique and exquisite wildlife and birds.Masai Mara is the best place to see the”Big Five” animals (elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos and buffalo) together. The famous wildebeest migration also takes place at the Mara.
The Mara is also home to the richest concentration of wildlife, including the “Big Five” (elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, and buffalo), zebras, antelope, gnus, Oribis, hyenas, giraffes, warthogs, gazelles, hartebeests, hippos, crocodiles and others. The park has the largest concentration of African lions, including the black-maned lion.
Birdlife is as plentiful as wildlife at the Masai Mara, which boasts over 400 different bird species.
The park experiences a hot and dry climate with a regular rainfall season twice a year.
The reserve’s topography is mainly open savannah (grassland) with clusters of acacia trees along the southeastern area of the park. The Mara and Talek rivers grace the rolling plains of the reserve. Myriad seasonal rivers appear during the rainy season but dry out once the rains are gone.
Maasai Mara National Reserve does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS); instead, it is managed by the local county council of Narok district.
Herds of plains zebras are found throughout the park, as well as Masai giraffes, commongiraffes, jackals, white-bearded gnus, Oribis, warthogs, Thomson’s and Grant’sgazelles, hartebeests, hyenas, bat-eared foxes, rare Topi antelope andbeautiful rone antelope, as well as hippos and crocodiles in the Mara River.
Over 1.5 million wildebeest, zebras and several species of antelope make an annual circular tour between the Serengeti in Tanzania and Masai Mara in Kenya in search of greener pastures.
The trek happens with a fair share of animal drama as the migrating herds attract the attention of hungry predators – the hyenas and lions that prey on the lame and sick animals along the way.
The animals trek for four months (July-October) towards the Mara. The months of July and August are the best times to see what is truly the world’s most spectacular wildebeest migration and the dramatic sights that occur during the mass crossing of the swollen Mara River.
Hot Air Balloon Safaris
For the adventurous tourist who wants a sky-high view of wildlife from the air hot air balloon safaris are the best way to travel over the massive Masai Mara park. Hot air balloon rides last approximately an hour and a half and often take place at dawn.
You will get a great view of the animals while you glide above them. Breakfast is prepared on the balloon burner upon landing.
For bird lovers, the Mara birds come in every color and size. More than 400 bird species have already been recorded, including birds of prey.
You can enjoy a colorful view of birds such as vultures, ostriches, long-crested eagles, pygmy falcons, secretary birds, marabous, red-winged Schalow’s turacos, white-tipped crests, ross turacos, orange buffs, Pel’s fishing owls, wary guinea fowl, Jackson’s bustards, black-bellied hartlaubs bustards and many others.
The Maasai Cultural Tours;
You could step back in time and visit a Maasai village where you get a chance to interact with the Maasai people in their traditional setting and experience their culture. Often the Maasai Morans (young Maasai warriors) will perform their traditional dance. You also get an opportunity to purchase traditional Maasai souvenirs, art and collectibles.
What to do and see in the Masai Mara National Reserve
There is a myriad of amazing activities you can do while on safari at the Masai Mara. Take advantage of the game drives and trekking tours that are on offer, as they will allow you to see some extra ordinary wildlife. You will also have the opportunity to learn more about the flora and fauna of the Masai Mara from our excellent guides. For a different perspective of the Masai Mara, join a wildly exciting night drive. Experiencing the huge plains in the dark is an unforgettable addition to your safari adventure.
If you’re interested in learning more about the tribes’ people who have made the Masai Mara their home, visit a Masai village during your safari holiday. There you can experience what life is like for a Masai community and see their unique way of living first hand.
For something more unusual, you can take an incredible hot air balloon safaris to embrace the beauty of the Masai Mara from the skies. Such a journey could bring a touch of luxury to your safari holiday and will definitely be something you’ll never forget.
Best time to visit Masai Mara
The Masai Mara offers amazing safari holidays year-round, with each dry and wet season presenting its unique characteristics and attractiveness.
Masai Mara Dry season
- January to February
- June to October
During the dry season, wildlife is easier to spot because the bush is less dense and they frequent waterholes and rivers. Between July and October, you can even have the chance to see the annual wildebeest migration.
Dry season, as the name implies, means little rainfall, so you can experience sunshine and clear skies with fewer mosquitoes. However, due to the good weather, the reserve can be rather crowded and you can expect accommodation to be fully booked. Be prepared and reserve your safari holiday early to avoid disappointment.
Masai Mara wet season
- March to April
- November to December
During the wet season, the Masai Mara is spectacularly lush and green. There is still a lot of wildlife to be seen as babies are being born at this time and migratory birdsare also present. Even though it’s the wet season, showers tend to be in short bursts and occur in the afternoon or evening, thereby not likely to affect your safari holiday.
The reserve is often less crowded and rates for accommodation can drop significantly. If you’re looking to go on safari on a budget, visiting the Masai Mara during the wet season is the perfect option for you.
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