The park is located in Kenya’s Rift Valley Province in Narok Sub County. It’s commonly known are Mara by the indigenous Masai People. It is one of the biggest parks in the country established in 1961 starting small, but now covering over 1510sqkm. The park is famous for its large numbers of wildlife species and birds, great savanna, rivers, valleys and unique tree species. Masai Mara is part of the Great Mara Ecosystem.
Masai Mara Park and Serengeti National park of Kenya have a lot in common. A major one being the great migration that attracts a lot of people in the park to view these amazing animals.
How to access the park
The park is easily accessible by road or air transport.
Road transport, the park is 241km from Nairobi city South East of Kenya, you should board a bus, or taxi or self- drive from Nairobi to Masai Mara. At most, you will take 5 hours to the park. A 4WD is highly recommended during the rainy season.
Air transport, you should book flights from Jomo Kenyatta Airport or Wilson Airport to any of the three airstrips close to the park (Musiara, Keekorok and Olkiombo) which only takes 45minutes.
What to go with
The park has dry and wet seasons. It’s ideal to consider weather and activities that will be done. Above all, you will need footwear (hiking boots), sandals, long sleeved shirts, a light rain coat, long trousers, a hat, sun glasses, a camera, binoculars, camping equipment, among others.
Things to do
There various activities that tourists can engage in for total fun and relaxation and the outstanding are as follows.
These are organized either during day or at night. It’s through these that tourists get to see the wildlife of the area. Guided rides are for a particular timelines and along these safaris, tourists see wildlife clearly. The most crowded places with are water holes and wonderful views are got. Others are spotting relaxing in the park, others in their comfort zones.
The park is a paradise for birds. The reason you carried the binoculars, is to catch most of the park’s bird species. Tourists are guided on this activity for it’s the guided that know where to see them best. The activity however, is most enjoyed in the wet season when migratory birds join the natives of the park. Look out for them.
An adventure without walks is incomplete. Take time and also join in the walk safaris and tour the whole area. Visit the bushes, swamps, valleys, and also watch out for wildlife and birds on your way. Walk along river banks, and visit research centers, visit animals in their hiding places. You will appreciate creation the more with such tours.
Visit to Masai villages
Create time and tour Masai villages close to the park. Masai tribes is the dominant tribe around the park and has been a source of attraction for they have a unique way of life and culture. An interaction with them won’t leave you the same again. Find out their definition of a man, or how they are so associated with animals. They can even entertain you with their traditional dance.
Air balloon safari
This will take your breath away. Tourists tour the whole park from the sky. You will have wonderful views of wildlife, vegetation, trees from above. The activity is so exciting and clear images of the park can be got. Get an opportunity of crossing path with birds.
When to go
The park experiences a dry and wet season. The park is visited all times throughout the year and at all times its very interesting. However the dry season has been recommended as registering the best attractions and moments in the park.
Dry Season (June-October)
The season is composed of sunny weather almost throughout. It’s a rare case to experience rain during this time. This period is perfect for game viewing. The grass in the park is relatively short, and trees aren’t so think hence animals are easily spotted along game drives.
It’s in the dry season when the great migration occurs. From end July to October, wildlife can be seen crossing River Mara.
During this period visitors are at no risk of catching malaria for there are no mosquitoes and other insects that spread diseases.
However, this is the busy period of the park and it’s normally crowded. Bookings need to be done early.
Wet Season (November -May)
The period is characterized of short and heavy rains, and few days of sunny weather. In the first period game viewing isn’t disrupted, wildlife can still be seen. You can get a chance of seeing some giving birth.
The early period of this season is the peak time of bird watching. The park is visited by migratory birds.
It should be noted that period from March- May, there heavy rains that disorganize tourism activities and some places of accommodation close down. It’s better not to visit during this time.
There so many attractions in the park the fact that it’s huge, but putting into consideration of time, you might not be able to visit all of them. We have listed the best of this park that you can’t miss out.
This is the leading tourist attraction in the park. The existence of these wild animals has led to the popularity of this park. There a number of mammals that will be seen on one of your game rides and walk safaris. Especially in the wet season. These animals will be seen roaming the park in herds, or at water holes having a drink. The likes of lions, leopards, wild beasts, elephants, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, antelopes, Thomson’s gazelles, cape buffalos, rhinoceros, bat eared foxes, hippos, topi, Grant’s gazelles, impalas, duiker, and jackals, among others will be seen at close range by tourists on different occasions.
The park is a home for over 470 species of birds. Most of these are migratory birds that visit the park in the wet season. The wet season registers the peak period of seeing these birds. Bird lovers normally visit during the first wet season. With the help of binoculars you will have a glimpse of long crested eagles, vultures, hornbills, secretary birds, lilac breasted roller, ostriches, crowned cranes, African Pygmy falcons, Jackson’s bustards, Marabou storks, guinea fowls, Pel’s fishing owls, and black bellied Hartlaubs bustards, among others. Guides will direct you to favorite bird spots.
Visit the landscape of the park. It has savannah vegetation, swamps, valleys, trees of different species, and plants. These lands have served wildlife and birds for years. This has given room for research that is being conducted on different animals.
This is the highlight of the park. It normally happens from end July to October. Herds of wild beasts, buffalos, antelopes, elephants among other animals migrate from the nearby Serengeti National Park to Masai Mara but what is amazing are the views of these animals. Many of them as you can imagine be on the move. If you book during that time, you won’t miss it.
The source of the river lies in Kenya and pours in Lake Victoria, the largest tropical lake. The river has wildlife in it. The likes of crocodiles, buffalos, hippos, among others. Access to this rivers gives opportunities of wildlife views since it’s the main source of water especially in the dry season. The famous lake is the focal point of the great migration of animals from Tanzania.
Cultural Visit to Masai Land
The indigenous Masai Tribe have a unique culture and hasn’t stopped catching people’s attention. From a few things known about them, some have taken time to travel all the way to this land to know about these familiar people to the big five animals. A visit to their lands will not only grant you an access to them, but will be a source of enjoyment from their famous traditional dance.
There is a variety of accommodation places in and outside the park. Tourists should rest assured that accommodation is available in all categories such as: Luxury, Midrange, and budget. All these places provide wonderful services, comfortable places of rest, facilities and other amenities depending on the cost of your accommodation.
Among luxury accommodation there’s: Mara Serena Safari Lodge, Mara Ngenche Luxury Tented Camp, Mara Bushtops Luxury Camp, and Mara Explorer Camp
Sand River Masai Mara these provide customized service.
Among the midrange accommodation we have, AA Lodge Masai Mara, Nalepomara Lodge, Mara Leisure Camp, and Mara Siria Camp, Keekorok Lodge.
For Budget accommodation, look out at Mara Manyatta Camp, Mara Buffalo Camp, Mara Bush Town House, Mara River Lodge among others.
In conclusion, the wondrous sights and sounds of Masai Mara National Park are worth your time when you visit Kenya. An experience in this park will alert you of the beauty of creation and not forgetting a place of relaxation and satisfaction.