The Best Things to do in Masai Mara

The Masai Mara is a dream destination for many avid travellers. From the rolling savannas,  to its spectacular natural diversity of wildlife and cultural community, the Masai Mara is renowned all over the world as an animal paradise.  

Considered as one of the most popular safari destination in the world, and voted as one of the wonders of the world, the Mara has plenty to offer. There are numerous activities to do in the Masai Mara but we’ll share our top 10 bucket list things to do in the Mara.

Hot Air Balloon Safari

A balloon safari is one of the most incredible and thrilling ways to see the Masai Mara ecosystem. You get a better view of the rolling plains and the animals below. Some lodges have their own hot air balloon safari and may be included in the package. If they don’t offer this service, you can ask them to organise one for you.

Enjoy the peace and calmness of the hot air balloon as you experience magical sunrise.. Most hot air balloon safaris are scheduled early in the morning as this is the perfect time for game watching. Balloon safaris offer avid wildlife photographers a perfect opportunity to take amazing pictures of the Mara eco system. As is the tradition of many balloon safaris, once you land, you’ll be greeted with a bottle of champagne and a breakfast in the bush.

Game Drives

Game watching is the pimary reason for going on a safari and what a better way to experience it in one of the most unique game reserves. Boasting as the most wildlife concentrated areas in the world, the Masai Mara is a must visit safari destination. 

Game drives happen early in the morning and late in the evening when it’s easy to spot animals. You’ll most likely go for a game drive in a custom 4X4 vehicle suited for the rugged terrain. Most of these drivers have years of experience and know the best spots to find wildlife.

Apart from the day and afternoon game drives, you can also go for night game drives. This is the perfect time to observe nocturnal animals such as leopards, and hippos. Night game drives are a favorite of film makers who want to film nocturnal animals in the park. You’ll be accompanied and guided by a ranger who knows where to find the animals.

Nature Walks

Nature walks are another way to explore the Masai Mara. A local guide will let you know what to expect when going for the nature walk. You will use trails less used by predators and an armed ranger will be accompanying you to make sure you’re safe. The beauty of nature walks allow you to get close to animals like giraffes, elephants, gazelles, zebras and other grazers in the park. 

Horseback Safaris

Exporing the Masai Mara on a horse back is exhilarating. The park delivers outstanding game viewing and enjoying the magnificent views on horseback is truly a unique and  memorable experience. Horseback safaris goves you a once in a lifetime opportunity to ride amongst herds of zebras and wildebeests as they migrate in search of greener pastures. 

Watch the Wildebeest Migration

Regarded as one of the seven wonders of the world, the wildebeest migration is an iconic safari must-see. Every year during the months of July to October, over 2 million wildebeest migrate into the Masai Mara from the Serengeti National Park. 

Unknown to most people, the wildebeest migration is an all year round phenomenon with the highlight being the crossing of the Mara river. Most people think it happens once annually  because the wildebeest migration coincides with the peak safari season hence the assumption that this is the only time of the year the migration happens. The migration is mostly prompted by rain which can be early, on time or late.

So what is the best time to see the wildebeest migration? Keeping in mind that the migration is gradual, the best time to visit the Masai Mara to see the migration would be in August.

Cultural Tours

The Masai Mara reserve borrows its name from the Maasai people who are internationally renowned for their distinct culture. The Maasai people are found within the Masai Mara reserve and live with the wildlife. The cultural tours make Masai Mara reserve unique from other national parks in Kenya. 

In the cultural tours, you get to learn the Maasai beliefs and culture and how they have adapted to the modern way of living. You are also likely to visit their workshop where they make traditionall jewellry and leather sandals using colorful beads. These crafts make beautiful memoirs of your Masai Mara safari.

Camping in the Wild

Nothing beats camping in the Masai Mara and waking up to the sounds of wildlife not far from your tent. The Masai Mara reserve has both private and public sites open to visitors looking to experience the Mara. There are three public campsites and eight private campsites. 

If you’re looking to get a private campsite, you’ll be required to book prior to reserve the campsite. Public campsites do not require prior booking by tourists. These campsites have basic amenities such as showers, toilets, magnificent views of the Mara savanna and security by the park rangers. 

The rates for the campsites typically depend on nationality as there are different rates for citizens, residents and non residents. The charges are also different for adults and kids.

You can choose to hire a chef during your camping adventure. If you prefer to camp on your safari, enquire from your tour operator on what you’ll need for your camping trip to make sure you’re fully prepared.

Breakfast/ Dinner in the Bush

Five course meals don’t have to be enjoyed in a luxurious hotel. At Masai Mara, they like to switch it up by taking this experience in the wild. Nothing beats enjoying your dinner in the bush by a bonfire with the sounds of nature all around you. This is a great experience for partners who are looking to spend some time together. 

Bird Watching

Between the months of October and February, the Masai Mara is home to many migratory bird species from Europe and North Africa. Boasting over 450 bird species and 45 species of birds of prey, the reserve is renowned as a bird watcher’s paradise. 

The Masai Mara reserve has the highest record of bird species in Africa. Some of the migratory birds you can find include paleartic migrants and the northern wheatear. The northern wheaters breeds in the Alaska, fly west across Russia, Kazakhstan and across the Arabian Desert to East Africa.

The Masai Mara reserve is easily accessible by road or air. If you’re driving to the Mara, airport pick ups from the airport can be arranged by the hotel you’ll be staying at. If you’re travelling by flight, you’ll take a small aircraft from Wilson Airport in Nairobi and land at one of the airstrips in the Masai Mara..

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