The Maasai Mara is Kenya’s most famous nature reserve. If you are dreaming about a safari, what you are seeing in your minds-eye is the Maasai Mara. It is classic savannah – grasslands where animals are plentiful and the vistas are spectacular. The area is the site of one of the most spectacular animal migrations in the world and home to tremendous concentrations of resident game including lion, cheetah, elephant, leopard, black rhino, hippo and over 500 species of birds.
For travel to the Mara, we advocate staying in one of several private concessions which border the park. Not only do these concessions increase the area where animals can move safely and form a buffer around the national park, they offer a more exclusive and flexible wildlife experience. While you will still likely spend a full day inside the main reserve, especially during the migration, adding game-drives inside the private concession means that you do not need to spend your whole time jockeying for views of lions or elephants with other vehicles. In addition, private concessions are able to offer bush walks, night drives, and off-road driving, activities not allowed in the main Mara Reserve.
Finally, these private concessions are often tribal land leased to the properties, meaning that some of the revenue generated goes back into the local communities in addition to providing employment and projects funded by the properties.
Our favorite private concessions are Mara North, Olare Orok and Naboisho for their high animal densities and low number of beds within each. It can take time for a new concession to have the wildlife densities that make for good game-viewing, but these three consistently deliver.
You can fly or drive into the Maasai Mara. We typically advocate flying as the drive from Nairobi takes 6+ hours. There are also flights between the Mara and other game-viewing areas in Kenya, as well as to the Serengeti and onward to either Uganda or Rwanda for gorilla trekking.
BEST TIME TO GO TO ON SAFARI IN MASAI MARA.
July to October are considered by most to be the best time of year to visit the Masai Mara. This is the most exciting time of the year to visit as the herds of the Great Migration arrive in July and graze the plains of the Mara until October time. With wildebeest and zebra in their thousands, and other species of animals that often tag along, speckled across the reserve, predators such as the cats are ready awaiting their next meal. On the other hand, one of the downsides to this season is the high visitor numbers. The Masai Mara is one Africa’s most concentrated parks in terms of game and size, so vehicles shamelessly often crowd around the game. However… the beauty of the Masai Mara is that is has opened up to private conservancies, known as the Greater Mara Conservancies, so guests and vehicles are not necessarily limited to the regulated areas of the Mara Reserve. Many of the conservancies, especially the Mara North, have high game concentrations and a huge variety of luxury and unique camps and lodges to choose from. So for those looking for a quieter and more intimate experience, the conservancies are the way forward!