Masai Mara National Park is located in the remote southwestern parts of Kenya, some 260 kilometers from Nairobi. A road drive to the park follows scenic paths across the expansive Narok County. However, the fastest way to get to the Mara is to fly into the Mara Serena Airport that’s located right outside the park.
Masai Mara National Park has everything that any adventure-seeker would wish for. From wildlife sightseeing tours to nature walks and even hot air balloons, there’s literally something for everyone in this iconic game park.
In 2017, Masai Mara was voted the leading game park in Africa, toppling the continent’s most renowned parks, such as the Kruger in South Africa, Serengeti in Tanzania, and Okavango in Botswana.
In this post, we shall explore the top five reasons you should include Masai Mara in your Kenya travel itinerary.
A Haven for Africa’s Big Five
There are only a handful of game parks in Africa where you can get a glimpse of Africa’s Big 5, and Masai Mara is one of them. The Big 5 – Lions, Leopards, Buffalos, Elephants, and Rhinos are so named for being the most difficult animals to hunt on the African plains.
If you visit the Mara on a good day, you’ll encounter numerous lion prides on the prowl, as well as sight the elusive African leopard. Buffalo and elephant herds are also spread throughout the vast plains of Masai Mara. Rhinos are the fewest in number of all the Big 5, but there’s still a decent chance of sighting them during your game drives across the Mara.
Besides the Big 5, Masai Mara is also home to about 100 animal species and over 500 bird species, most of which are migratory birds. In fact, the park boasts the largest concentration of animals in Africa. Some of the common animals within the Mara include wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, warthogs, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, wild dogs, to mention but a few.
You Get To Interact With Beautiful People
During game drives across the Masai Mara, you’ll spot the red-cloaked Maasai people grazing their livestock in what appears to be a harmonious coexistence between man and wild animals. The Maasai consider the park as one of their communal birthrights. Besides, Maasai people are known for their peaceful, hospitable, and laid-back way of life, which explains why the Kenya Wildlife Service doesn’t consider them a threat to the Mara ecosystem.
The best way to explore the Masai Mara plains is to book your trip with local travel companies such as MasaiMarasafari.in or AjKenyasafaris.com. Their guides were born and raised in Kenya, and they will smoothly and safely guide you across the Mara. If your travel schedule allows, request to have a Masai Mara village visit added to your travel itinerary. The trip takes you to the traditional Maasai homesteads, known as Manyattas. Here, you will get to learn and share in the history and heritage of this indigenous Kenyan community.
Treat your taste buds to local cuisines as you listen to some of the tales of bravery, most of which involve encounters with the Mara’s fiercest predators. When you’re done, have a Moran accompany you in a short safari walk around nearby mud-thatched villages. In the villages, you can spare some time to learn the Maasai’s traditional jumping dance, also known as adumu. And don’t forget to shop for souvenirs, which usually include beaded jewelry to sandals.
Home to the Seventh Wonder of the World
Another special highlight of Masai Mara is the Great Wildebeest Migration. Every year, more than one million wildebeest cross into Masai Mara from the Serengeti National Park in neighboring Tanzania, in pursuit of the rains. The migratory herds also include thousands of zebras, Thomson’s gazelles, among other grazers.
The epicenter of this historic migration is at the Mara River that lies on the migratory route. As the herds attempt to make their way across the river, the resident Nile crocodiles treat themselves to one of the most savage feeding frenzies in the animal kingdom. And as the crocs spook the crossing herds, the ensuing pandemonium results in a stampede that further claims hundreds of animals, mostly the very young, the very old, and the sickly.
Those that make it to the other side have lions, leopards, cheetahs, and spotted hyenas to contend with. However, the promise of lush vegetation across the river fuel’s the herds’ drive to cross despite the lurking dangers.
This iconic wildlife spectacle takes place between July and August.
Numerous Accommodation Facilities
Typically, Masai Mara lies in the remote outposts on the southwestern plains of Kenya. Well, we all love it that way when going on a safari tour. But at the end of the day, you’ll need a hotel or lodge facility. AjKenyaSafaris.com can help you find a place that’s close and within your budget.
Choosing one facility over the other will depend on what you’re looking for. Some hotels allow you to sleep in tents while others have cottages. But whichever facility you choose, you’re assured of modern conveniences, such as Wi-Fi, power services, and a swimming pool. You also get to sample a wide assortment of indigenous and exotic dishes as you interact with the friendly hotel staff, most of whom are multilingual. If you are travelling to the Mara with a family, we recommend family rooms.
Even if you don’t fancy the idea of staying within the Mara, there’s no need to fret. You can always fly into the park directly from Nairobi every morning. And for those that desire to camp in the midst of nature? There are provisions for those too, provided your tour operator makes prior arrangements with your hotel and KWS staff.
Lots of Activities in and Around