Masai Mara – Kenya
Just the name alone, the Masai Mara, creates images of fierce lion prides, stealthy leopards, millions of wildebeest, zebra and impala and the surreal African sunsets with a lone tree in the middle of the enormous savanna plains.
Kenya’s Masai Mara is a dream destination and should be on every traveller’s bucket list. If possible, try to time your safari with the arrival of the wildebeest, usually from July to September, as they follow the rains in a continuous annual loop between Tanzania’s Serengeti and Kenya’s Masai Mara.
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The Masai Mara National Reserve and the Greater Mara explained
Mara means ‘spotted’ in the local Maa language spoken by the Maasai, referring to the lone trees, the scrubs and the clouds casting spotted shadows on the vast plains of the Mara.
The Masai Mara is not a national park, although it follows many of the rules in Kenya’s national parks, like no night drives or walking safaris allowed within the Masai Mara.
The Greater Masai Mara consists of:
- The Masai Mara National Reserve where most lodges are, the famous Mara River cuts through this area.
- The Mara Triangle, located on the western side of the Mara River
- Many conservancies around the northern and eastern side of the Mara National Reserve.
The conservancies in the Greater Mara area can only be accessed when staying in a lodge in one of the conservancies, for example, the Mara North, Lemek, Ol Choro, Olare Motorogi, Naboisho, Ol Kenyei, and Ol Derikesi.
To the south is the border with Tanzania where the continuation of the area is called the Serengeti.
If you choose to stay in one of the many conservancies around the Masai Mara Reserve, you also have the chance to go for a walking safari or try a night drive for a chance to see the many nocturnal animals out and about. Some of the best wildlife can be found in these conservancies. As they are only accessible for vehicles from the camps and lodges in that particular conservancy, they are generally less crowded than the Masai Mara Reserve.
Other more specialised safari options offered in some of the conservancies are horse riding safaris and quad biking safaris. But whichever way you explore the Masai Mara, you are in for a treat.