Reasons why the Masai Mara is a ‘must visit’ safari destination
The highlight of majority of travelers to Africa is a Kenya Masai Mara safari: looking for the big five. In Africa, the big five game animals are the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and rhinoceros.
The origins of “Safari”
The word “safari” in Swahili means journey. The verb for “to travel” in Swahili is “kusafiri”. The word “safari” first entered the English language at the end of the 1850s thanks to the famous explorer Richard Francis Burton. These days we use the same word “safari“ in so many different languages. Almost everybody understands the word’s meaning.
In colonial times, the main attraction of a safari was big game hunting. And the term “big five” comes from the same colonial period which was coined by big-game hunters referring to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino).
Nowadays safari refers to overland travel to view the stunning African wildlife. It is about wildlife photography, game watching and game viewing.
Masai Mara a destination of choice
Most people associate Africa as a destination for a safari. It is in particular the case in East Africa where you find the Masai Mara and Serengeti Savannah. This regions have become the greatest tourism attractions draws for all types of safaris. Kenya is regarded one of the best for a safari holiday in the Masai Mara.
For the majority of travelers to Africa and Kenya’s Masai Mara, a safari is generally the highlight of their trip. Safari can now take many forms to satisfy all nature lovers. Searching for the big five wether you do a 4×4 safari, horseback safari, hot air balloon safari or an helicopter safari is always an exhilarating experience. Guides can also take you by foot to point out the flora and fauna, including the birdlife of the region. Walking safaris are also a great opportunity to meet the local community.
Each safari can be very intimate and tailor-made to suit each individual traveller or group seeking an African adventure.
The sheer beauty of the Masai Mara wilderness makes a visit so special. As well as safari’s, it provides a wonderful backdrop for a honeymoon or romantic getaway. Remember the “out of Africa” movie? Kilima Camp is located on the same famous escarpment, Oloololo Escapement called also Siria Escapement.
The Masai Mara and its neighboring private conservancies offer a range of accommodation, from child-friendly to romantic and family holidays to small incentive groups.
Amongst the owners of the lodges and authentic tented camps available in the Masai Mara. There is a real concern about sustainable and developing global tourism, preserving wildlife and local communities and many demonstrate their commitment by being recognised by Eco-tourism Kenya.
Masai Mara Wildlife ( ou National Reserve )
Named in honour of the Masai people, the Masai Mara is famed for its amassing safaris and wildlife diversity.
The Masai Mara is not a National Park, but rather a National Reserve belonging to the Masai people. It is administered by the local county councils.
It is one of the best-known and most popular reserves in Africa with breathtaking vistas and game.
The Masai Mara has 1,672 sq. kilometers of unspoiled wilderness offering the best a safari can offer, not only in Kenya, but anywhere in Africa.
Game viewing is excellent year around thanks to the diverse population of resident game, including the Big Five and popular species like zebra, giraffe, hyena, eland and gazelle. The Masai Mara’s big cats are often the stars of a popular wildlife TV series and movies!
The Masai Mara National Reserve has fenceless borders with a number of private conservancies. Kilima Camp conservancy is one of the private conservancy bordering the official Masai Mara National Reserve.
This vast protected landscape is one of the top wildlife and safari destinations in Africa, and Kenya’s flagship conservation area.
The Masai Mara is world-renowned and is especially famous for its exceptional populations of predators such as lion, leopard, and cheetah. The Masai Mara is also famous for the 1.5 million wildebeest. They migrate through its lands from July. You can also spot the rare black rhino and the thriving elephants.
The best kept secret and exclusive part of the Masai Mara is the Mara Triangle, the North-Western part of the Masai Mara. The Mara Triangle is managed by the Mara Conservancy on behalf of Trans-Mara County Council. The rest of the Masai Mara reserve falls under Narok County Council. The Mara Triangle has been most efficiently managed with evidenced in the guides’ discipline, successful anti-poaching efforts. It has well maintained road infrastructure. Although one third of the Masai Mara, the Mara Triangle has only one lodge within its boundaries (compared to the numerous camps and lodges on the Narok side).
Masai Mara Safari
There are a few lodges and camps which game drive in the Mara Triangle itself. Kilima Camp is one that does. The Mara Triangle also has the lowest density of visitors and vehicles in the Greater Masai Mara. It is the most exclusive part of the Masai Mara. Still very wild with no fence. Not only is this the most productive part of the entire Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem in terms of grass nutrition. The Masai Mara is also spectacularly scenic and amazing safaris experience.
There are two ways to reach the Masai Mara and two types of safaris: “fly-in safari” and “driving safari”. The “fly-in safari” would be the best option if your budget allows it. Visitors are flown directly to the Masai Mara on light aircraft. There are several airstrips in the Masai Mara depending where the visitors will be staying. The flight takes about 40 minutes from Nairobi and there are direct flights from/to the coast too. All flights offer beautiful aerial scenery. A “driving safari” will be more appropriate for bigger groups / families and often cheaper, but coming by road can be a one-day affair, and usually take about six hours.