The Masai Mara National Reserve is an extension of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, a small part of the Serengeti ecosystem covering some 40,000 sq kms between the Rift Valley and Lake Victoria. The abundance of Mara wildlife is legendary. Almost every species of animal you can think of in relation to East Africa lives on these well-watered plains. It is a fabulous, exciting and diverse park and we love to recommend it.
The Mara probably rates as the number one reserve in Africa for sightings of unbaited leopard. The area is also superb cheetah country and the profusion of small-size antelope, especially gazelles, ensures a ready food supply. Cheetah hunts and kills are regularly witnessed in the Mara. Game tends to concentrate in pockets where grazing is at its best at any particular time.
Herds of topi, Grant’s & Thompson’s gazelles, zebra and impala often mix together on favoured open plains. Defassa waterbuck are also common. Buffalo frequent places of higher, tougher grass. Giraffe can be encountered anywhere. The riverine forests are particularly good for birding and the river itself has many excellent hippo pools with high banks for excellent viewing. ‘Mara’ means ‘spotted’ or dappled, a reference to the acacia dotted savannahs of Southern Kenya where the Maasai live.
The Masai Mara is home to the most spectacular natural event on the planet, where two million wildebeest and grazers make their way around the Serengeti National Park and into the Mara in search of fresh pastures.
The Migration is likely to be in the Masai Mara between the months of August to October. If you are lucky, you can witness a river crossing where the wildebeest bound fearlessly into the raging Mara River in their thousands. It is utterly astonishing to witness and makes the Masai Mara, along with the Serengeti, hugely popular for safari enthusiasts around the world.
The landscape of the reserve is mainly gently rolling grassland. The Mara River runs from north to south through the reserve and then turns westward to Lake Victoria. Most of the plains are covered in a type of red-oat grass with acacia and thorn trees.
It is just as many imagine a safari to be: classic African savannah, with sweeping views and acacia dotted horizons.
Kenya has a touch of safari magic which is difficult to replicate anywhere else on the continent. The people are welcoming, the wildlife is exhilarating and the atmosphere electric. With so much to see and do, you could spend weeks getting lost in Kenya’s charming embrace; and many people do, keeping them returning year after year.
Kenya has a touch of safari magic which is difficult to replicate anywhere else on the continent. The people are welcoming, the wildlife is exhilarating and the atmosphere electric.
The Laikipia Plateau is a patchwork of conservancies run by vast safari ranches; the private concessions which make up this diverse and exciting area of Kenya. The privacy means you can enjoy a wealth of activities.
Ol Donyo Wuas (the best lodge in the region) in Masai means ‘The Spotted Hills’ and is the name given by the Masai to the Chyulu range between Tsavo & Amboseli National Parks.