East Africa is one of the most exciting travel destinations in the world, known for its stunning beaches, rich culture, diverse landscapes, and glorious safari destinations! The Maasai Mara in Kenya is one of East Africa's most visited destinations for all of the above. A rich landscape, untainted or influenced by the western world, it's not hard to see why this perfect destination makes the bucket list of every avid traveller. For those who love nature, wild animals, exploring, camping, safaris, interaction with unique cultures, or seeking adventure, this breathtaking location is perfect for you!
Exploring a natural wonder like the Masaai Mara is a feat that should not be taken lightly. To have the best experience it's important to be prepared, especially if this is your first trip to a wild safari destination. As your East African travel specialists, we have prepared a list of important items to consider to help you get the best from your Maasai Mara adventure. Have a read through these before your trip!
Tripindigo's Cheat Sheet To Navigating The Masaai Mara
1. Meeting the Locals
The people of the noble tribe are called the Maasai, which means people speaking the maa language. Maasai was incorrectly spelt as Masai by the British settlers, and the name continues to be misspelt today. The Maasai are very brave, noble, and unique, set apart visually by their bright red robes, and the spears that they carry.
Fun fact: Traditionally, the only way for a boy to become a warrior was to solely kill a lion, using his spear!
Interaction with the Maasai can be a meaningful and enriching experience but tourists must ensure that they are respectful towards the unique culture.
Maasai tribes people, Image Source: MaxPixels.Net
2. What to Pack
For every vacation, there are some essential items that the tourist must pack. For a trip to the Maasai Mara, visitors must carry a torch, comfortable footwear for walking, a camera, clothing to suit the weather (it is advisable to carry an extra layer of outerwear, as a protection from the cold or mosquitoes), sunscreen and sunglasses, mosquito or insect repellant, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, and basic medicine such as band-aids, and painkillers.
Packing cool loose clothes, sunscreen and a hat is vital for a trip to the Massai Mara, Image Source: @stilclassics via Unsplash.Com
3. How to Get There
Tourists could choose to drive to the ‘mara’ whose closest point is 280 km away from Nairobi. However, an even better choice and easier way to get to Maasai Mara is by flight, which is more quick and comfortable, and less rough. Travellers can enjoy scenic, magnificent views from the sky. The experience is unique and private, as these planes are small and have few seats; tourists are advised to book flights online beforehand.
4×4 off-road vehicles are ideal for exploring the terrain, Image Source: @sne5ha via Unsplash.Com
4. Which Animals to Spot
The most exciting part of a safari is wildlife or game viewing. In the Maasai Mara, visitors can easily spot the glorious ‘Big Five’ which are lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffaloes. Large herds of herbivores such as gazelles, antelopes, zebras, and wildebeests can be seen. Visitors might also catch a glimpse of a hippopotamus or Nile Crocodile. Smaller species such as foxes, dik-diks, caracals, monkeys, warthogs, aardwolves, baboons, and mongooses are also present!
Wildlife gathering at the waterhole, Image Source: @coffeebluv via Unsplash.Com
5. When To Visit
The Maasai Mara is a wonderful destination all year round, but for every tourist, the ‘best’ time to visit this extraordinary location might be different, depending on a few factors. To see the Great Migration
6. To see the Great Migration
The Great Migration is an extraordinary spectacle, which can be witnessed in the Maasai Mara in late July, early August, or late November. At this time, millions of wildebeests, as well as tens of thousands of zebras and gazelles migrate across East Africa and can be seen grazing and frolicking in the Maasai Mara.
Wildebeest grazing at sunrise in the Masai Mara, Image Source: MaxPixels.Net
7. The best Weather
The best weather is the dry season, where safaris, hot air balloon rides, and game drives are not interrupted by the rains. March and April are the peak of the wet season, and excessive rainfall may disturb the experience. From June to October, the weather is favourable, with sunny days and a pleasant atmosphere. In these months, animals are easy to spot as vegetation is short, and herds tend to gather around water holes. The short rains in November are also pleasant, as the air is cleared, and the light showers make the atmosphere cooler. This is a good time to spot exotic migratory birds!
8. Avoiding the High Season
April and May is the low season, with lesser costs and fewer crowds. While April has more rainfall, May is a good time to visit to avoid other tourists, interact with the locals, enjoy the privacy, and avail low season discounts! Wildlife viewing and bird watching are excellent at this time. The vegetation is lush and green, and visitors may see lots of flowers!