Maasai Mara National Reserve (also “Masai Mara”) is one of Africa’s most magnificent game reserves. Bordering Tanzania and Kenya, the Mara is the northern extension of the Serengeti and forms a wildlife corridor between the two countries.
It’s named after the statuesque, red-cloaked Maasai people who live in the park and graze their animals here, as they have done for centuries. In their language, Mara means “mottled,” perhaps a reference to the play of light and shadow from the acacia trees and cloud-studded skies on the vast grasslands.
The park is famous for the Great Migration, when thousands of wildebeest, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle travel to and from the Serengeti, from July through October.
In the Mara River, throngs of hippos and crocodiles lurk. The park is also known for providing excellent predator sightings, thanks to its relatively large populations of lion, cheetah, and leopard – especially in the dry months from December through February.
Things to do in Masai Mara
The Masai Mara is one of the best places in Africa for big cat sightings: lions, leopards and cheetahs are all easy to spot. Then of course, there’s the big-ticket draw: the year-round migration that sees nearly two million wildebeest, plus half a million antelopes and thousands of zebras, following the rains around Tanzania and Kenya. The most anticipated part of this journey is the dramatic Mara River crossings that occur between July and September as the animals enter Kenya.
Hot Air Balloon ride
A hot air balloon over the Masai Mara is possibly the most incredible way to see this fantastic ecosystem. Get a better perspective of the area and admire the Masai Mara’s beauty from the sky.
Enjoy the tranquility of a balloon ride as you float above the plains watching the wildlife below. Seeing the forest and the rivers of the Masai Mara is a truly unique experience as we drift in the breeze. See why the Masai named this the ‘Mara’, which means ‘spotted’ as you see the circles of trees, shadows from clouds, and scrubland that create the beautiful scenery.
The main event of your Masai Mara safari camp experience, game drives take you out and into the Masai Mara to search for the iconic animals. All members of the Big 5 live on the Masai Mara and you have the possibility of seeing lions, elephants, cape buffalo, and rhinoceros, as well as giraffes, hippos, hyenas, Nile crocodiles, wildebeest, zebra, gazelles, antelopes, and more.
Witness the Wild beast Migration
The wildebeest migration is an annual event where over a million wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle migrate from Tanzania to Kenya’s Masai Mara in a continuous cycle following the rains and fresh grass.
The migration often takes place between the months of July and October and is anticipated by hundreds of tourists and the Masai Mara’s predators alike. This is also the time when the wildebeest give birth and life echoes all around the Mara. Life not only arrives with the birth of wildebeest, but also with the actions of predators and the arrival of lions and hyenas.
The Masai have been living on the Mara for a few hundred years and still live with traditional customs and traditions, albeit influenced a little from the modern world. While on the Masai Mara, you can visit a Masai community, such as the Mara Rianda.
This is a community of 48 traditional houses surrounding an area for the Masai’s cattle. This is a great place to visit if you’re interested in exploring the Masai culture to enjoy traditions and customs that have remained as they are for centuries.
VIsit Mara River
The Mara River is one of the documentary world’s most famous because of the annual wildebeest crossing. The river begins in Kenya’s highlands then drains into Lake Victoria, the world’s largest tropical lake.
This is a very important water source for animals along the Mara River and grows to double its usual size after heavy rains. The animals you can find here include bird-life, hippos and crocodiles and the river is found in the heart of the Masai Mara National Reserve
A walking safari is a great way to get onto the Masai Mara in the same manner as early explorers. Enjoy exploring the area on foot with highly trained guides. As you are no longer inside a custom designed safari vehicle, enjoy more excitement as you explore the Masai Mara looking for some fantastic wildlife.
The Masai Mara is a great place for birdwatching with 470 birds to find. Although it’s the big animals that dominate people’s attention, there are some fascinating birds to find as well. Among the diversity, you can see ostriches, the world’s largest bird, tiny sunbirds, and 46 different birds of prey.
The grasslands hide the ground hornbills, which are about the same size as a turkey, kori bustards, secretary birds, plovers, and white stalks. The swampy areas are then great places to spot different storks and cranes, such as saddle-billed storks scouting for catfish.
You can spot the goliath heron, which is the world’s largest, plus sacred ibis, yellow-billed storks, and great white egrets. There are many different kingfishers with seven species of giant kingfishers to see. You can usually spot these on the Mara River itself.
The Mfangano Island is a land area in Lake Victoria to enjoy a relaxing experience after or before your experience of the Masai Mara. The completely different environment makes a fantastic compliment to your adventures on Africa’s savanna.
Lake Victoria is the world’s largest tropical freshwater lake and sits on the border of Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania in Africa’s Great Lakes region. The lake is drained by the famous Nile River and is home to around 200 different species of fish. The lake is extremely important for the regional economy with various industries relying on the water.
Because of its size, Lake Victoria is home to some beautiful geographical features, such as many different reefs and different Islands. If you choose, you can take tours from the camp to explore the region and see the beauty of Lake Victoria.