One of the main reasons why people visit Africa is for the spectacular wildlife. And when it comes to safaris, Kenya is the magic word. The Maasai Mara National Reserve is a beautiful place to see nature at its finest. The Grand Rift Valley where the Reserve is has grassland? and this makes it one of the best places to spot wildlife. No wonder then that Maasai Mara is often called the crown jewel of the country’s expansive wildlife. With close to 100 kinds of animals and over 450 types of birds, you don’t have to travel too far to see magnificence up close and personal. The best times to visit are either July through to early November and February.
There are many reasons to visit Maasai Mara at least once in your lifetime:
Wildlife – Most people come to Maasai Mara to witness the grand display of the migration; more than 2 million animals traverse a journey from July to November. It’s one of nature’s breathtaking sights. Apart from these, look out for the big 5 – elephant, rhinoceros, cape buffalo, lion, and leopard. If other animals are what you’re seeking, you will find gazelles – both Grant’s and Thompson’s, zebra, jackals, impalas and cheetahs. From the haunting laughter of the hyenas to the burrowing warthog, there’s a lot to gaze upon and listen to at Maasai Mara.
Easy access – you can get to Maasai Mara by flying in to either one of its airstrips at Kichwa Tembo or Mara Serena. These airstrips are accessible all through the year. There is road access too from the Sekanani Gate, through Narok. So getting to the game reverse is not hard to do at all. You can do research and book on Tripindigo and other such websites that help you in your travels to East Africa.
Stay options – from something basic to the most ultra – glamorous options, you can find it at Maasai Mara. The lodges are gorgeous and the camps well equipped. Some of them are on the banks of rivers while others come with swimming pools. Mind the crocodiles! Game meat, delicious menu and entertainment choices are all part of the experience.
Other things to do – if animal viewing gets a bit much, you can always do other things. From heart pounding balloon rides to quiet dinners in the bush listening only to the ‘Mara’ at night, there’s something for everyone. Drives can take you to unexpected sights. You could also make your way to a Maasai village with a chance to immerse yourself in a way of life as old as time itself. In fact, if you’re looking for the quintessential wedding destination, this is the place for you.
The weather – if you don’t like extremes in weather, this is the place to be at. Maximum temperatures go up to about 30 degrees centigrade and dip to about 20 degrees. It rains from November to May, with heavy rains in April, May and the ‘little rains’ in December, January.
The Maasai people – an integral part of the ecosystem are the Maasai people and their way of life. It is one that is close to nature, a relationship of respect and protection. There’s no conservation effort without the involvement of the tribes. This is a way of life you’ll do well to get familiar with. Interactions with them will give you a renewed appreciation of nature, people and the connection between the two.
The conservancies – Kenya’s wildlife protection strategies include a private – public relationship. Under this, the Mara conservancies do the kind of work that helps protect the world of nature and ensure its pure perfect state. Everyone stands to benefit – whether it’s the owners of the land, the communities or the travelers. The traveler stands to gain the most, because there’s so much more to see and experience.