A Masai Mara safari is an adventure not to be missed. It offers you the opportunity to see African lions close-up, witness the great wildebeest migration, take a hot-air balloon safari, visit the famous Masai tribesmen, camp under the African sky and much more.
The Mara, as the Masai Mara National Reserve is often called is a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise. In the Reserve you will be able to see all the big five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo), numerous plain animals including wildebeests, giraffes, gazelles, zebras, antelopes, topis, hyenas, cheetahs, warthogs etc, and more than 500 species of birds.
Here are some of the features that make The Mara one of the top tourist destinations in Kenya.
African Lions Spotting
The Masai Mara National Reserve is dubbed the Kingdom of the Lion. There are more than 30 prides of African lions that roam in the Mara grasslands. A Masai Mara safari is therefore the perfect way to get up close and personal with the King of the Beasts.
The Great Wildebeest Migration
Each year between July and October, more than a million wildebeests, hundreds of thousands of zebras and gazelles trek from the Serengeti plains in Tanzania right through The Mara. It is a spectacle to behold as the herd crosses the Mara River and encounters hungry crocodiles.
Other predators of The Mara such as lions, wild dogs, hyenas, jackals and vultures prey on the young, injured and weary migrants.
Hot Air Balloon Safari
A Masai Mara safari on board a hot-air balloon is an unforgettable experience. Balloon safaris in The Mara normally take place early in the morning and last for roughly an hour. The view of the endless savanna grassland, the spectacular sunrise and the wild animals below is unrivaled.
Visit The Maasai Tribesmen
The Maasai people are held in awe for their tall elegant features, proud bearing and fearsome reputation. Much of their traditional land has been lost to modern Kenya, but in the lands around the Masai Mara National Reserve they continue their traditional way of life in symbiosis with the flora and fauna. To get to know more about the fascinating Masai tribesmen, be sure to embark on a Masai Mara cultural safari.
Camp Under The African Sky
For the real bush experience, you can camp under the African night sky separated from the sights, sounds and smells of the wild by a mere canvas. Never fear, camping safari-style is a luxurious affair so you needn’t be afraid of roughing it.
For many people, the Mara is only worth their time and money during the wildebeest migration period. If you are one of these people, I would like to convince you otherwise. There are still attractive and appealing reasons for you to visit the reserve at other times falling outside the migration period. Consider the following points and you might just change your mind, and tour the Mara even when the Migration is not taking place:
1. Safari Is Cheaper As Hotel Prices Are Lower
The lodges and camps charge the highest rates during the migration period. Strictly speaking, almost all the lodges in the Masai Mara will adjust their prices upwards from June 1 till October 31. Before June and after October 31, the prices are not so high. In fact, April and May are the cheapest seasons to travel to the Mara, but also the wettest. That means wildlife viewing may not be at its best in April and May, as most animals are deep inside the bushy vegetation. But if you visit during any period outside April and May, you will enjoy the Masai Mara at reasonable rates.
2. It is Less-crowded in the Masai Mara Reserve
Another good reason why you should consider visiting the Masai Mara outside the migration period is the fact that there is less human and vehicle traffic in the reserve. Game viewing is less crowded and therefore more enjoyable. The majority of visitors in the Mara will be targeting the Migration period giving your time and space to enjoy yourself.
3. The Resident Wildlife Population is always there (remember?)
Apart from the real, marvelous spectacle that is the migration, there is still a lot of game to view in the Masai Mara even when the migration is not taking place. The resident wildlife of Masai Mara alone is enough for any visitor, at any time of the year. They will always be there before, during and after the migration.
4. Get Personal Attention from the Safari Hotels and Lodges
Because there are fewer visitors, you get personal attention in hotels and lodges. Most lodges do record slightly lower room occupancy levels outside the peak season (migration period). Traveling during this time, there lodges are not so full of visitors, means getting more personal attention and services from the lodges. This will offer you a better value for your money and your time.