Maasai Mara is Kenya’s most popular safari destination for game viewing, bird watching and cultural visits to the local Masai villages. Masai Mara, in Narok County, was 1672 square km until 1984 when it was reduced to 1510 km2 to allow the Masai community to herd their livestock on ancestral land.
Consequently, private conservancies were introduced to maintain the route used by wildebeests and zebras, gazelles and elands during the annual migration of wildlife from the plains of Serengeti in Tanzania into Maasai Mara in Kenya. The conservancies ensure there is more area for wildlife as well as preserve the rich biodiversity.
The conservancies have been created around the Maasai Mara Official perimeter to help protect the Maasai Mara eco-system, and to create a source of income for the Maasai people who are landowners.
Conservancy fees apply and are charged differently from the Mara Reserve fees. By paying the entry fee for one, you can not visit another conservancy unless you pay a second entrance fee.
The Masai Mara conservancies are:
Things to do in Maasai Mara include bird watching, game viewing, hot air ballooning, fly camping, bush dining and guided nature walks. Hot air ballooning is a must-attempt activity in Masai Mara. This usually takes place early in the morning and you will get spectacular view of the landscape combined with the rising sun and animals going about their business in the reserve.
Wildlife to see in Maasai Mara includes giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, and a variety of carnivores. There are hundreds of birds too. The vegetation ranges from savannah grasslands to woodlands and riverine forests.
Though Maasai Mara is perfect for safaris all year round, the best time to visit Maasai Mara is between July and October, to watch the world famous wildebeest migration. During this time, millions of wildebeests and thousands of zebras and gazelles cross from the plains of Serengeti in Tanzania to the lush plains of Maasai Mara.
For big cat lovers, the drier months of December to February are ideal to see a cheetah taking down a gazelle or a lioness giving birth. It is also in the Masai Mara where famous wildlife documentaries such as the Big Cat Diaries and Discovery channel wildlife documentaries were shot.
Maasai Mara is hot and dry most time of the year. Therefore, avoid dark coloured clothes and go for light shirts, t-shirts and shorts. The best colours for a safari in Mara are brown, green and khaki. These colours are easy to clean after a dusty drive in the plains. For night game drives, you need long sleeved shirts. Carry a sun-hat, a pair of binoculars, a camera and sunscreen.
Some hotels in Masai Mara have a detailed list of what to pack for a safari. They explain the main dos and don'ts depending on the activities visitors will undertake. For example, if you want nature walks in the reserve, you need an excellent pair of walking shoes.
Visiting Masai Mara is easier as part of a safari package on Jumia Travel that includes accommodation, transport and guided tours.
By flight from Nairobi's Wilson to the Masai Mara takes about 45 minutes. Guests and visitors can also fly to other destinations from Masai Mara such as Lewa Dwns and Samburu. There are several airstrips in Maasai Mara:
If you prefer to drive to Mara, expect a 5 to 6-hour road trip through the Great Rift Valley and into the dusty plains of Narok County. There are several gates depending on where your camp or lodge is located:
When To Go
From late July through to early November, the migration of plains wildlife happens from Serengeti, Tanzania.
The migration back into Tanzania happens in late November through December in anticipation of rains in Serengeti.
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