The Maasai Mara Game Reserve is considered to be Africa’s greatest wildlife reserve and world famous for the Great Wildebeest Migration. This natural spectacle takes place from July to October bringing more than a million wildebeest in sweeping waves across the Sand River into the Mara from the Serengeti. The deep rumbling of thundering hooves and low grunts splits the air as the wildebeest make their way westwards for fresh pastures across the Mara River.
With an area of over 1500 km², the Mara comprises of open plains, woodlands and riverine forests traversed by the Mara, Talek and Sand Rivers. It is bordered by the Serengeti National Park to the South, the Siria escarpment to the West and the Maasai community ranches to the North, East and West. ‘Mara’ means spotted in the ‘Maa’ language of the Maasai.
The Mara is undisputedly one of the world’s finest game-viewing areas and it is not uncommon to see all of the ‘Big Five’ in a single day: elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard. The vast grassland plains are scattered with herds of Zebra, Giraffe, Gazelle, and Topi. Elephants and buffalo roam the plains and wallow in the marshes. Hippos and crocodiles exist alongside each other in the Mara and Talek Rivers and the arrival of the wildebeest represents a season of plenty for the crocodile population. Packs of hyena scavenge and hunt among the big cats: lion, cheetah and leopard. The Mara is home to an amazing concentration of wildlife making it one of nature’s greatest wonders where the small and the big find their place in the circle of life.
The Mara offers a wide range of accommodation options including luxury lodges, exclusive tented camps and standard establishments to suit all budgets. Both flying and road packages are possible. Travel by air is a short 45 minute flight. Travel by road is highly recommended for the scenic 5-6 hour drive taking you through the Kikuyu Escarpment forest before descending into the Rift Valley and continuing across the Rift Valley floor past two extinct volcanoes, Mt Longonot and Mt Suswa, large wheat farms and Maasai villages.
A hot air balloon safari over the Mara is another thoroughly memorable experience taking in panoramic views of the savannah teeming with wildlife, followed by champagne breakfast in the bush.
Visits to local Maasai villages are also an option to experience the traditional ways of life.