Maasai Mara National Reserve Attractions and Activities
Maasai Mara national reserve is one of the most prominent and famously dominant wildlife conservation and tranquil un-spoilt wilderness territory/area in Africa. Maasai Mara is a large national game reserve found in Kenya situated in the southern part of Kenya along the Great Rift Valley area covering an area of 1,510km 2 found in Narok County which is a few kilometers away from the main largest town of Maasai town Narok. Maasai Mara is naturally a magnificent park that was established in 1961 taking approximately 50 years of existence and still a land of breathtaking panorama views, iconic eco-system, vast wildlife, and many other stunning attractions. The park was named Maasai Mara in the honor of the Maasai people whereby Mara means spotted in the local Maasai language which is their definition of an area observed or seen from a far distance. Maasai Mara is a special place because of the phenomenal great wildebeest migration across the ecosystems of the Serengeti in Tanzania and Maasai Mara in Kenya in search for pasture and water which is categorized as one of the seven natural wonders of Africa as well as one of the ten wonders of the world.
How to get to Maasai Mara National Reserve
Maasai Mara national reserve can be easily accessed either by road transfer or air transfer depending on the pick-up point. However, the distance varies depending on the entrance gate of Maasai Mara you preferably want to use.
From Jomo Kenyatta International airport in Nairobi via A104 highway, B3 and C12 road takes approximately 5 hours road trip which can be combined with another safari destination in Kenya besides Maasai Mara depending on the entrance gate of Maasai Mara.
If it is a road trip en route to Lake Nakuru National park, it takes approximately 5 hours via C57 and C12 to get to Maasai Mara national reserve. Getting to Maasai Mara national reserve from Hells Gate national park takes approximately 5 hours via C12
The safest way to get to Maasai mara is by flying there using domestic charter flights which depart from Wilson Airport which is situated in the south of Nairobi. Airlines such as Air Kenya and Safari link offer domestic flights since they have landing rights on different airstrips within and out of the park. There are 9 airstrips in and outside Maasai Mara however there are 5 major airstrips that are commonly used namely; Keekorok, Serena, Musiara, Mara North, and Ol Kiombo and the less used include Kichwa Tembo, Angama, Olseki, and Ngerende. It is better to make flight reservations in advance.
The distance from Nairobi to Wilson Airport is 6.0km which takes a few minutes. Since all the domestic flights to Maasai Mara take off from Wilson Airport in Nairobi, below are the Airstrips and the time it takes to get to Maasai mara.
- From Nairobi Wilson Airport to Keekorok Airstrip, it takes approximately 2 hours
- From Nairobi Wilson Airport to Serena Airstrip, it takes approximately 1 hour
- From Nairobi Wilson Airport to Musiara Airstrip, it takes approximately 2 hours
- From Nairobi Wilson Airport to Mara North Airstrip, it takes approximately 2 hours
- From Nairobi Wilson Airport to Ol Kiombo Airstrip, it takes approximately 1 hour
- From Nairobi Wilson Airport to Kichwa Tembo Airstrip, it takes approximately 1 hour
- From Nairobi Wilson Airport to Angama Airstrip, it takes approximately 2 hours
- From Nairobi Wilson Airport to Olseki Airstrip, it takes approximately 3 hours
- From Nairobi Wilson Airport to Ngerende Airstrip, it takes approximately 2 hours.
Attractions found in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Maasai Mara national reserve is naturally a captivating park with dazzling landscapes, elegant vast numbers of different wildlife, admirable savannah plains, acacia trees, Fascinating rolling hills, and warm hospitable people. Below are the attractions in the Maasai Mara national reserve.
Wildebeest Great Migration
This is one of the largest unique and remarkable natural spectacles in the world which can only be witnessed from Kenya in Maasai Mara national park and from Tanzania in Serengeti national park. During this phenomenal migration, millions of wildebeests along with Zebras, Gazelles, Elands, Impalas, and other animals move in circular migration through Tanzania and Kenya following the seasonal rains across the Serengeti plains in search of rich pastures and water whereby some move to Lobo area and Ikorongo.
This is an area situated in the Southwestern part of Maasai Mara national reserve, in the East of Mara River and in the Northwest of Oloololo/siria escarpment and it is managed by Mara Conservancy. Mara triangle hosts a big number of wildlife including the all the members of the African big 5 and it is where the herds of great migration enter and exit Maasai Mara national reserve from Serengeti national park hence it offers a wonderful Game drive experience and a clear magnificent volcanic view.
Mara River is one of the vital grazing spots in the Maasai Mara national reserve which lies across the great migration path within Maasai Mara and Serengeti’s ecosystem which sustains a vast number of wildlife with water in the park and is well known for hosting the great wildebeest migration every year which is an exceptional experience of witnessing the animals crossing River Mara since it offers an exhilarating sight of migration crossing.
Ol Kinyei Conservancy
Ol Kinyei was the first conservancy founded in 2005 in Maasai Mara’s biodiversity in the Savannah plains and rolling hills of the park, Ol Kinyei area has different sources of water such as springs, streams, and rivers which offers beautiful scenery and this has attracted a variety of wildlife hence making Ol Kinyei a perfect place for an excellent game drive for the enthusiastic wildlife lovers to have a clear view of the wild animals at a close range.
Olare Orok Motorogi Conservancy
Olare Orok Motorogi Conservancy is home to a vast number of wild animals including all the African big cats. This conservancy is situated along the northern edge of the Maasai Mara national reserve. Olare Orok conservancy offers amazing scenery of the savannah grassland and the dome-topped hills which hosts big numbers of wildebeests, Zebras, giraffes, and warthogs throughout the year favorable for a wildlife game drive.
Musiara swamp is a large marshy area situated near the eastern banks of the Mara River and on the northern border of the Maasai Mara national reserve. Musiara swamp is a perfect spot for a game drive due to its high concentration of wild animals including the famous Musiara lion pride, a variety of bird species, and other wild animals hence it is a prominent place for both wildlife game viewing and bird watching.
Eluai plain is a peaceful massive area made up of rolling plains and broad plains, tall grass and taller scattered acacia trees in Maasai Mara national reserve. It is a wonderful place for an unforgettable game drive because it offers an amazing animal viewing experience since it is a large grazing area to a vast number of wildlife including birds. Eluai plain is a scenic place favorable for a picnic and magnificent photography of wildlife.
Mara North Conservancy
Mara north conservancy is an attractive private wilderness in the northwestern zone bordering Maasai Mara national reserve’s ecosystem in the south with a vast number of wildlife and birds. Mara North conservancy is as well as a perfect place for birding, Game viewing, and camping. Mara North conservancy has benefited many indigenous Maasai landowners since they are paid in order to preserve the natural habitats where wild animals stay.
Maasai Culture and Community
This is one of the indigenous tribes found in Kenya near the Maasai Mara national reserve and it has distinctive traditions, dress codes, and customs. Maasai people are hospitable and well known for their unique attire of red blankets and body ornamentation such as colorful bead jewelry. Maasai community offers a great opportunity to tourists who are interested in experiencing different African cultures through interactions, dancing, singing, and trying their delicious locally made dishes.
The leopard Gorge is a unique area in Maasai Mara located around a small water pool that attracts a vast number of impalas, gazelles, and warthogs. The leopard gorge is made up of rocky outcrops and caves which offer shelter to the leopards and their young ones hence worth visiting on a game drive, especially for the tourists interested in viewing these big cats.
Activities are done while in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Game driving is one of the most thrilling ways of exploring Maasai Mara’s iconic wildlife and a game drive offers a great game viewing experience while in Maasai Mara, it can be done in the wide open plains as well as gently rolling plains mainly in the Leopard gorge, Mara North conservancy, Eluai plain, Mara Triangle, Musiara swamp and many other places found within the park, however, game drives can be either done in the morning, afternoon and during the night.
Maasai Mara is a well-known birder’s paradise that hosts over 450 iconic bird species. Birding is commonly done in Musiara Marsh which is the only place where you can spot the Madagascar squacco heron birds however there are also grassland bird species that can be spotted in different areas found in Maasai Mara. Maasai Mara has a variety of bird species including migratory birds and grassland birds such as Turkey-sized Ground Hornbills, Secretary birds, striking flocks of crowned cranes, and many other birds.
Cultural encounter is one of the best cultural experiences whereby tourists get to know and explore the lifestyle of the Maasai people through interacting with them, singing, and dancing. The Maasai tribe is the most famous tribe in Kenya and is well known for its unique culture, distinctive dress code, and customs hence going on a safari to Maasai Mara offers you an unforgettable cultural experience since the Maasai people are connected to the park and live around the park.
The guided nature walk is an awesome opportunity whereby tourists explore the territory of the local wildlife which offers an insight into African nature, wildlife, and a variety of bird species. During a nature walk, tourists are able to spot a variety of both wild animals and bird species at a close range for a clear view and photography while in Maasai Mara national reserve.
Hot Air Ballooning
Hot air balloon is a tense thrilling activity that offers an exceptional game viewing experience and clear photographic opportunity whereby tourists fly above the herds in a hot air balloon as they view the wild animals from above floating in the air for approximately one hour. This a unique way of exploring and experiencing Maasai Mara’s wildlife species and the experience is unforgettable and worth trying when on an African safari in Maasai Mara National Reserve.
There are 8 private campsites in Maasai Mara however only 5 campsites are open for public use and some of the camp sites are Kiboko and Ndovu campsites. Camping in Maasai Mara helps nature lovers to easily connect with nature and all the camping sites offer magnificent views of the plains within the reserve. Tourists can as well camp around Mara River for a clear view of the great Wildebeest migration which is one of the most desired natural spectacles in the world.
Horse riding in Maasai Mara is a fun activity done by experienced park rangers and horse guides in the wide open savannah plains in the park which offers unmatched game viewing opportunities it is commonly done at Naboisho and Olerai conservancy where tourists encounter wild animals like giraffes, antelopes, and zebras.
Accommodations in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Maasai Mara national reserve is a safe protected area with affordable accommodation options ranging from Budget, Mid-range and Luxury depending on a client’s choice and intended expenditure.
The following are the accommodation options;
Mara Eden Safari Camp, Mara Intrepids Tented Camp, Fairmont Mara Safari Club, Sarova Mara Game Camp, Fig Tree Camp, Governors Camp, Oldarpoi Mara Camp, Mara Serena Safari Lodge, Entumoto Safari Camp, Neptune Mara Rianta Luxury Camp, Mara Explorer, Mara Engai Wilderness Lodge.
Maasai Mara is worth visiting not because it is famously known as the most visited park in Kenya with a vast number of different wildlife species and most importantly it hosts one of the 7 greatest natural wonders of the world known as the Great Wildebeest Migration however the experience it offers to tourists of exploring its un-spoilt natural wilderness makes it worth visiting.
For more info contact us