The Masai Mara (also known by the spelling Maasai Mara) is located in the south-west of Kenya and, with an area of approx. 1,510 km², is one of the largest nature reserves in Africa. Together with the Serengeti National Park, which is located in Tanzania, the Masai Mara forms an important ecosystem.
The Masai Mara Reserve has become known for its immense animal wealth, especially big cats, the great wildebeest migration and the proud nomadic Maasai people.
Masai Mara – An experience for true nature fans
The Masai-Mara National Park is well known for an extensive safari . Experienced tourists therefore appreciate the destination very much. It offers close-up experiences with the animals and a unique landscape that you are welcome to capture in pictures. The nature reserve covers a generous area of about 1,510 km² and is part of the Serengeti savannah. This stretches from northern Tanzania to southern Kenya and covers a total area of 30,000 km². The Masai Mara got its name from the people living there, who call themselves Masai. “Mara” is taken from the Maa language and means “spotted” or “spotted”. If you look at the landscape from above, for example on a fly-in safari through Kenya, you can see the trees standing in the savannah, which look like dots from high above.
The vegetation in the Masai Mara consists mainly of grass. The animals are always on the lookout for fresh greenery, which is a wonderful place to watch. Along the Mara River there is also bush and tree savannah with gallery forest.
Crossing of the Mara River
With a length of 395 kilometers, the Mara River is an event worth seeing on the Masai Mara safari. It begins in the town of Nakuru, flows through the Masai Mara, crosses the border of Tanzania and finally empties into Lake Victoria. As the only river in the national park that does not dry up, it provides sufficient water and ensures the survival of many herds of ungulates such as zebras, wildebeests and antelopes. The Masai Mara Safari is particularly interesting when you can watch the seasonal mass crossing of wildebeest across the river. There are already many documentaries about this. However, seeing this spectacle up close is a unique experience, especially as there are crocodiles lurking on the shore and you never know what’s going to happen next.
How to reach Maasai Mara
From Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, it is about 270 km to the Masai Mara. The journey takes about 5 – 6 hours by car, and only 45 minutes by plane. If you want to enter the Mara from the coast of Kenya or from the port city of Mombasa, it is only advisable to travel by plane. From Mombasa the flight time is about 2 hours. When visiting the Masai Mara, most holidaymakers opt for a fly-in safari, i.e. arriving by plane, or for a round trip that takes in several national parks.
You can use Ukunda Airstrip for fly-in safaris from the south coast and Mombasa Airport from the north coast. There are also flights to the Masai Mara from Malindi/Watamu.
Flora and fauna in the Maasai Mara
The term Mara means “spotted” in the Masai language. This describes the landscape exactly, in which acacias and bushes stand out like small dots in the open savannah. Some rivers, like the Mara River and Talek River, flow through the vast plain.
In the Masai Mara, the conditions are perfect for observing the Big Five (elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo). But other predators such as cheetahs, hyenas and jackals as well as herd animals such as zebras and many antelope species are also at home here in large numbers. Numerous hippos and crocodiles live on and in rivers. The most well-known representatives of the birds include the ostrich, vulture and crowned crane.
Best time to travel to the Masai Mara
The Masai Mara is a year-round destination. The African wild animals can be observed all year round. However, the months from July to October are the best travel times to experience the “Great Migration of the Animals” up-close. This spectacle is repeated year after year. When food supplies run low in the Serengeti, hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, zebra and antelope gather to embark on a massive migration to the Masai Mara. In total there are over 2 million herd animals making their way through defenseless terrain to the fresh pastures. The biggest obstacle is the Mara River, where the animals throw themselves into the water and countless crocodiles are waiting for them. When the pastures of the Masai Mara have been grazed, they migrate back to Tanzania.
Visiting the Maasai people as part of the Maasai Mara experience
With a visit to a Maasai village, you immerse yourself in a foreign culture and learn a lot about everyday life and the life of the Maasai. The village community welcomes the guests with their traditional dances and songs. Then the chief explains the structure of the village and you can take a look at the huts, which were built from wood, clay and cow dung. The Maasai women offer their handmade jewelry for sale at simple market stalls.
If you are interested, the safari driver can organize a trip to the village. As a rule, an entrance fee of around EUR 20 per person is payable by foreigners. However, locals can pay cheaper.
Experience the Big Five in the Maasai Mara
What awaits you when you discover the “Big Five”? Big game hunters named five specific animals in Africa that are now part of the “Big Five”: buffalo, lion, elephant, leopard and rhino. The size of the individual animals was not taken into account here, but mainly the degree of difficulty and the danger that could be assumed during a hunt if the animal attacks. With safari trips to the Masai Mara conservation area, you will learn a lot about the animals and the vegetation thanks to experienced travel companions. So you can not only hope for great pictures, but also let the atmosphere and the surroundings have an effect on you. You will hardly experience anything more exciting than the Masai Mara Safari anywhere else. If you are lucky, you will also be able to experience the animals up close, as there are often water points near the individual camps that attract the animals. This gives you the opportunity to watch elephants and co. and enjoy the spectacle in peace and quiet from the terrace. It is extremely interesting to watch the animals looking for food, especially the elephants or giraffes. Being very large, they move slowly and very gracefully. In the evening hours, this is a particularly beautiful moment that one likes to take in at the end of the informative trip through Kenya.
Hot air balloon safari over the Masai Mara
You have probably seen this on the movies.
If you want to experience the Masai Mara in a very special way, you can book a ride in a hot air balloon. In the early morning, during sunrise, the balloon hovers over herds of animals and the original landscape.
If you want to put the finishing touches on your Masai Mara safari, you can also book a balloon ride over the beautiful landscape. From a bird’s eye view you can see everything again and examine the animals from a different perspective. With a balloon safari you float above the magnificent savannah of the Masai Mara. Nature can be observed from a bird’s eye view for about an hour. Moments that you never forget.
Overnight in the Masai Mara? There are camps and lodges
The best way to get to know the Masai Mara and its amazing wildlife is to go on a Kenya Safari. Safari Tours offers travelers a variety of Masai Mara fly-in safaris as a complete package, consisting of round-trip flights within Kenya, accommodation on a full-board basis, entrance fees and game drives. As a guest you have the choice between different accommodation categories, from simple, functional camps or lodges to high-quality luxury accommodation.
Many of the camps or lodges, for example Governors Camp, are situated on a river or overlook the wide plains and offer the safari traveler excellent game viewing.
The Maasai Mara area has many different safari camps and lodges. There are lodges and tent camps that have different levels of comfort. You will feel completely comfortable here, because the tents usually have their own bathroom with hot water and therefore leave nothing to be desired by travellers.
Weather in the Maasai Mara
It is impossible to predict the exact weather in the Masai Mara. There can be dry and rainy seasons at any given time, but there is a broad pattern for the climate in the national reserve. The months of December to March have the hottest and driest days. Especially newborn gazelles and many predators can be observed.
The months of April to June are generally part of the rainy season, which can vary in intensity. Most precipitation falls in the late afternoon or at night. The Masai Mara turns green, attracting hundreds of thousands of Serengeti wildebeest and zebra from July, who graze the lush plains until around October.
Warm temperatures are to be expected at the time of the Great Migration. The weather is nice, but light rain is not uncommon. The Masai Mara is about 1500 to 2000 m above sea level, so it can get cold in the early morning, late evening, and at night.
Costs, procedure and accommodation of a Masai Mara safari
To book a safari in the Masai Mara area, start a price inquiry, because depending on the scope and stay, the price ranges from 800 euros to 2,200 euros per person. Expert safari guides are also happy to help you choose the right safari in the Masai Mara. Especially those who embark on such a trip for the first time have great expectations of a safari in the Masai Mara. Wrong decisions would be annoying. Those who book with us will also enjoy special services, such as stopovers on the jeep safaris to photograph the zebra herd or other animal species extensively or simply to take in the landscape. Whether adventure or relaxation, Kenya and East Africa in particular, offer breathtaking moments that can be extensively reported on at home. As a rule, the 3-day trips are carefully planned by us in order to be able to present you with all the impressions that you can expect from a safari in the Masai Mara.
Depending on the type of trip, you will be picked up from the bathing hotel on the first day and taken to the airport on a fly-in safari. The safari plane takes the vacationer directly to the national park. After arrival in the protected area of the Masai Mara, you start the game drives of the Masai Mara safari tour with a guide. Sometimes you have free time on safari, usually after lunch, which you can enjoy in this wonderful nature. In the afternoon the safari tour in the Masai Mara continues. Many species of animals can be observed early in the morning and in the afternoon. After this exciting excursion, you will be taken to your appropriate camp at sunset, where you can enjoy a well-deserved night’s sleep after an excellent dinner.
This is only so that travelers can capture as many impressions as possible. After all, the holiday should also be worthwhile. On the last day of the Masai Mara Safari you can admire some animals again early in the morning. After that you will be accompanied to the airfield in the protected area and then you can enjoy your following vacation days on the coast of Kenya. After this exciting excursion, you will be taken to your appropriate camp at sunset, where you can enjoy a well-deserved night’s sleep after an excellent dinner. Travel companions always plan the safari tour in the interest of the tourists, which is why it usually starts very early in the morning. This is only so that travelers can experience as many interesting scenes as possible. After all, the holiday should also be worthwhile. On the last day of the Masai Mara Safari you can admire some animals again early in the morning. After that you will be accompanied to the airfield in the protected area and then you can enjoy your following vacation days on the coast of Kenya.
What more do you need to know about Kenya?
Of course there is much more to discover on a Masai Mara safari than just the animal-rich nature reserve. Mombasa, for example, is the second largest city in Kenya and at the same time the most important port city in East Africa. It is a very important economic center in Kenya, because in addition to the coffee trade, chemical and food industries, Mombasa also has steel and aluminum rolling mills, a cement works and an oil refinery. The neighboring countries Uganda and Tanzania are the main beneficiaries of this. They use it for their import and export trade. Furthermore, Mombasa, which by the way has about 915,000 inhabitants, is connected to Nairobi and Uganda by a railway line and even has an international airport, which is also where most tourists romp about.
Anyone who has booked their hotel on the coast of Mombasa can first review all their experiences on the beach after the safari in the Masai Mara. Of course you can also explore Mombasa on your own, stroll through narrow streets, follow the scent of exotic spices and get an idea of the history and culture.