Book Flights to Masai Mara

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.

Book with Tripindigo today and tick this destination off your bucket list.

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.

Main Attractions

The Masai Mara is a stunning African location and its main attractions are:

  • The annual wildebeest and zebra migration
  • Spectacular sunsets and amazing landscapes
  • The Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Rhino, Elephant)
  • Good chance to see the big cats (Lion, Leopard, Cheetah)
  • Abundance of wildlife
  • Excellent bird watching
  • Hot air balloon safaris
  • Cultural visits

 

The annual wildebeest and zebra migration in the Masai Mara

The many documentaries off the annual migration you might have seen on television still don’t prepare you for the sheer immensity and intensity of the hundreds and thousands of wildebeest and zebras when they cross the Mara River. The dust kicked up, the grunts from the wildebeest, the sounds of the river as one by one each animal takes a leap of faith, the ever-present predators following their prey, they all create a very African, very powerful and raw image that will always remain with you.

Spectacular sunsets and amazing landscapes in the Masai Mara

We’re not sure why, but the African sunsets are often simply stunning. The skies turning a deep red, no filters needed, and catching the last rays of the sun in the evening can be a highlight for many.

Combine that with the picturesque landscapes and you will find plenty of photo opportunities to try to capture the beauty of Africa.

Spotting the Big 5

The annual migration is not all the Masai Mara has to offer. Any time of year is a great time for a safari, with amazing experiences waiting for all who visit. The wildlife is incredible, with the opportunity to spot the Big 5 if you are lucky.

Seeing the big cats

You are almost guaranteed to see some of the big cats when visiting the Masai Mara and if you are lucky you might see them catch their dinner too.

Abundance of wildlife

Apart from the wildebeest, the Big 5 and the many cats, there are lots of other animals in the Masai Mara. Seeing your first giraffe in the wild is something you will never forget, along with all the other animals.

Bird watching

If you like birds you are in for a treat in the Masai Mara. More than 450 species have been recorded in the area (478), including migratory birds and birds of prey (46 different species). The Masai Mara is a mecca for bird watching and you will spot many different birds in any visit.

Hot air balloon safaris

Sunrise hot air balloon trips are a different way to enjoy the beauty of the Masai Mara. Float gently above the vast grasslands of the Masai Mara and finish with a delicious breakfast in the middle of the plains.

Cultural visits

Most lodges offer excursions to a Masai village, a great way to get a glimpse into the lives of this ancient culture.

How to get there

Fly to the Masai Mara

The fastest way to get to the Masai Mara, and a great experience, is to fly in one of the small planes from Nairobi to one of its many airstrips located right in the Masai Mara and the surrounding conservancies. Depending on the location of your accommodation you fly to the nearest airstrip, potentially spotting your first wildlife as you descend to the grassy landing strip. Once your luggage has been transferred to the vehicle, the fun continues with your game drive starting straight away en route to your accommodation.

Drive to the Masai Mara

Another option is to drive to the Masai Mara or the surrounding conservancies. The nearest gate to the Masai Mara (Sekenaki) is approximately a 4-5 hour drive from Nairobi, depending on the state of the last 50km or so of dirt road as you get close to the gate. Here the fun also starts before you even get to the gate as wildlife roams around freely before you even get to the Masai Mara – there are no fences to stop them!

Book your cheap flights with Tripindigo today and see if you are lucky to spot the Big 5 in the Masai Mara.

Best time to visit

The Masai Mara is great for a visit anytime as it has warm daytime temperatures and cool nights all year round. As it is located at an altitude of around 1500 – 1900m the daytime temperatures are on average between 25°C/77°F and 28°C/82°F.

Kenya has a dry season from June to October, a wet season called ‘short rains’ in November and December, another dry spell in January and February, followed by the ‘long rains’ in March, April, and May.

High season

The migration generally happens in the Masai Mara from July to September, this is a great time to try to see a crossing of the thousands of wildebeest and zebras. This is a busy time of the year in the Masai Mara and be prepared to share the crossing of the wildebeest with several other cars. As soon as you leave the popular river crossings you can find yourself all alone again.

Low season

Low season in the Masai Mara is usually in the long rains from March to May. Driving on the tracks can become difficult in certain areas, but the main tracks are passable year-round.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The migration between the Masai Mara and the Serengeti is the longest and largest land migration in the world.
  • The Big 5 can all be seen in the Masai Mara.
  • The BBC television show ‘Big Cat Diary’ was recorded in the Greater Masai Mara area.
  • The Masai Mara and the Serengeti are separated only by a national boundary on a map – Kenya and Tanzania

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