Masai Mara in Kenya is the most well-known Safari destination in Kenya and the greater East Africa due to the annual wildebeest migration. The National Reserve is located in southern part of Kenya in Narok County and boarders Tanzania’s Serengeti national park. Both Masai mara and Serengeti share the same ecosystem but the rain seasons/pattern are not the same. The name Safari is a Swahili word meaning a journey or loosely translated to mean travel thus Masai Mara Safari would mean travel to Masai Mara National reserve.
The annual wildebeest’s migration alone involves over 1.5 million animals arriving in July and departing in November. There have been some 95 species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles and over 400 birds species recorded on the reserve. Nowhere in Africa is wildlife more abundant, and it is for this reason a visitor hardly misses to see the big five (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and rhino).
Every year over a million Wildebeest and Zebras migrate clockwise around the Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem, taking part in two different countries and making time for birthing, courting and mating on the way as they search for greener pastures in Kenya and Tanzania.
One of the most anticipated events in the migration is the arrival crossing of the swollen Mara River that occurs around July to August and partly into September and again on their return south, around the last two weeks of October through early November. These are the best times to track and see the annual wildebeest migration in Masai Mara. While the sight of masses of animals thundering across the open plains is spectacular, the Mara River crossing will take you through a range of emotions – awe, anticipation, heartache, inspiration, excitement and much more. The wildebeest are also known as the “lawn mowers” of mara due to their feeding habit that leaves nothing in their path. As the pasture disappears in Mara a cycle of re-birth is happening in Serengeti in Tanzania thus the reason for their return to Serengeti.
Masai Mara is also known for having the most abundant concentration of wildlife in Africa and the highest concentration of lions in Kenya. The lions in Masai Mara are larger than lions in the other parts of the country probably due to the abundance of food in Mara for them.
Masai Mara has very good accommodation facilities for every budget range. Starting from top of the range luxury lodges and exclusive tented luxury camps to nice and clean budget tented camp. Talk to your travel agent for a Safari package suited to your budget. The best vehicles to use while in Masai Mara is a 4×4 Safari customized with a pop up roof for the best game viewing opportunity. Ensure you have your camera at hand to capture those unforgettable moments.
The road to Masai Mara and inside the National reserve are relatively well maintained and thus easy to get to Masai Mara from Nairobi or any other location and to navigate inside the park. Most of the Kenyan tour drivers and guides are also very well trained and experience thus they will ensure you see all the big five while in Masai Mara.