The world’s famous Masai Mara National Park is located at the Tanzania and Kenya border. This is Kenya’s best Safari national park boasting of over 1500 square kilometers of rolling Savannah plain grasslands. The reserve, gazetted in 1961, is located west of the Rift Valley and is a natural extension of the Serengeti plains, in Tanzania.
The Mara River, the reserve’s backbone, traverses north to south heading for its westbound way unto Lake Victoria, through the Tanzanian park. This course is the natural barrier crossed every year by the large migratory herds of wildebeests and zebras which march across the two parks. More than one million wildebeests and 200,000 zebras move in search of the mineral rich sprouting grasses on the Kenya Side, along the way while crossing the crocodile-crowded Mara river, many animals die or drown and leave their bones by the Mara banks to be fed on by the Crocodiles.
From July – October you can witness the incredible wildebeest and zebra migration. The Mara showcases big families of elephants, buffaloes, lions and hippos among many more.
The Masai tribesmen also offer cultural tours which really add to the experience this introduces one to a typical way of life of the Masai tribesmen who are predominantly nomads co-existing with the wildlife.
Ballooning safaris are also available at an extra cost. The Mara safari would then be conducted from the air as millions of wildlife is viewed from the Balloon before guests landing in the bush for a champagne breakfast.
Masai Mara is located 270 km west of Nairobi, at a remote southwestern corner of the country, right at the edge of the Tanzanian border. The fact that there is no major road to the reserve, joined to Masai Mara’s geography itself, split into two by the river, makes it advisable to study the route for each particular situation. The optimal way for each case will depend not only on the place of departure, but on the destination as well, whether it lies outside or inside the reserve, and in the latter case, whether at the eastern or western sector.
Because the roads are not in good condition, the best way to access the Mara is by Charter flights from Nairobi or Tanzania.
There are plenty of lodges and campsites both inside and outside the reserve the abundance of luxury lodges and tented camps including game drives in their full board rates, as well as the remote location of the reserve, seem to invite an increasing number of visitors to the reserve.
Preferred accommodations for safaris in the Mara include; Mara Serena Lodge, Mara Sopa Lodge, Keekorok Lodge, Kichwa Tembo.
Besides the overwhelming accommodation list, Masai Mara boasts of 25 campsites.
There are campsites close to every gate. The one near Oloololo displays a nice view of the mountains. The Musiara campsite is very popular for being a safe area, shaded and with plentiful wildlife including lions. Near Talek there are 10 campsites located east of the gate, bordering the river at the north bank, which at the same time is the reserve’s limit. Several of them are nearly always booked up by safari companies. West of Talek Gate there is another campsite called Riverside Campsite.
Still near the gates, in Sekenani there are 4 campsites, placed half a kilometer from the gate, outside the reserve. Finally, the Sand River Campsite, next to the gate of the same name, is located by a waterhole usually visited by animals at night.
In addition to those located by the gates, there are other campsites such as the Crocodile Campsite, a private site close to the outer limits; Naunerri Campsite, 3 km off Sand River Gate; and the Mara River Campsites, 4 of them, by the east riverbank outside the reserve. One of them is located right south of Mara Camp. Also near Olkurruk Mara Lodge there is another site, overlooking the plains from the mountains.