After spending two amazing days in the Northern part of the Serengeti National Park watching the animal from the Great Migration form a large group and then cross the river, we were quite keen to get to the Maasai Mara to see where they eventually end up.
It was a 3-hour drive from our migration camp to the border of Tanzania and Kenya. Once there, the border crossing was quite painless (which is always a good thing, especially post Covid).
Once our passport was marked with an exit stamp for Tanzania and an entry stamp for Kenya, we had to say goodbye to David our amazing Tanzanian guide. It was time to meet our new guide for the Kenyan Side, Ali. Then, on we went to the Maasai Mara. After another two-hour drive, we reached the gate.
The Maasai Mara needs no introduction. Anyone slightly interested in a trip to Africa will have heard of it. It’s one of Africa’s most popular National Parks and the one you can’t miss on any Kenyan safari.
Just like the Serengeti, the Maasai Mara is teeming with wildlife and being smaller, the wildlife is more concentrated and even easier to see. It doesn’t seem that’s even possible, but it is! Every year the Great Migration ends up in the Maasai Mara, after their long trip from the Southern Part of the Serengeti.
This land of breathtaking vistas, abundant wildlife and endless plains is absolute heaven for wildlife lovers and photographers. Just look at the photos and start planning your trip.
Where is the Maasai Mara?
The Masai Mara National Reserve is in the southwest of Kenya and covers an area of 1,510 square kilometres. It is 280 kilometres away from Kenya’s capital city Nairobi, which takes around 5 hours by car.
Why visit the Maasai Mara?
For a portion of the year (August to October), the Great Migration rests in the Maasai Mara after their long and dangerous trip from the Southern Serengeti which includes the hazardous crossing of the Mara River.
During that time, the huge herds of wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, and topi remain on the plains of the Maasai Mara, enjoying as much of the tasty grasses and fresh water as they can. You’ll see thousands and thousands of them, and it is a sight to see!
However, the Great Migration is not all you’ll see. The wildlife of the Masaai Mara is abundant and diverse. Rhinos are very elusive in the Maasai Mara now, but you can still spot four out of the Big Five all year round. And of course, there are cheetahs, giraffes and more. The rivers hold the nasty crocodiles and pods of hippos, which you can see basking in the sun or roaming out of the water.
With over 470 bird species to spot, the Maasai Mara is a bird-watcher’s paradise. We spotted so many animal kills in the Maasai Mara which meant that we saw many vultures and Marabou Storks. They love the leftovers, including sticking their long necks up dead elephant butts!
A visit to a Maasai Village
A visit to the Maasai Mara region would not be complete without a visit to a traditional Maasai village. The Maasai are one of the most iconic tribal groups in all of Africa and they populate vast areas of Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania. The dominant ethnic group surrounding the Maasai Mara, they are nomadic and warrior tribes. Most of them still retain many of their traditions and live untouched by modern day civilization.
During a visit to a village, you can meet the Maasai people, entre a typical Maasai home, learn about their daily life, enjoy their dancing and singing and visit the community’s own handicrafts market. It is touristy but it was a good addition to our safari through Tanzania and Kenya.
Where to stay in Maasai Mara?
We stayed at the Mara Sopa Lodge. The Masai Mara Sopa Lodge is high on the slopes of the Oloolaimutia Hills. It was one of the first safari lodges to be built in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, a reason why its gardens and trees are so lush and mature.
All the buildings in the lodge follow the design of traditional African round houses with conical roofs, and these stretch along the line of the hills with the impressively large public area buildings and the swimming pool at the centre.
Four zebras live in the grounds, and you will see them roaming around as you walk around the lodge.