Maasai Mara Game Reserve is one of the ‘must visit’ place for any wildlife enthusiastic who would like to see the Savannah wildlife. The park is very big, 1,510 sq km(580 sq miles) and raises 1,500-2,170 meters above see level.
Its not possible to cover the park within a few hours, so if you want to embrace all the park has to offer you got to plan your adventure to cover a few days.
Hence, the question arises of where am I going to stay during this time am exploring, what kind of hotels are there in the Mara and how do I book?
If you try to search for Maasai Mara Hotels on the internet, you might not get an actual hotel which might disappoint you. This is because there no actual permanent structures in and around the Mara due to ecological reasons. The place has tented camps and lodges in place of hotels.
Tented Camps & Lodges
Well the thought of leaving in a tent in the wild does not really resonate well with most people who have not been in the Mara before(my mother falling in this category). There is the fear of being attacked by the same wildlife you came to watch or the bugs and insects in the area that can easily claw in.
The tents and lodges are built in the traditional way, meaning that they have the outward look of a tent (as the door is replaced with a zip) but the inside structure is a well-built hotel room. They are always well lit and very secure, no animal can come near the camp.
This lodges and camp also vary from 5 star look to those suitable for a budget safari. Booking is definitely done same process as hotels, even some big hotels in Africa have tented camps here in the Mara.
Some of these tented camps are found inside the game reserve while others are located at the border of the Mara. Safety is definitely assured as animals keep their distance but humans too should keep their distance away from the animal space.
How safe am I in a tented camp?
Well in the wild we have the herbivorous animals and the carnivorous animals. Mostly the carnivorous animals keep their distance from human settlement as they know humans are enemies but the herbivore like the monkey, zebra, impala come to graze even near as they know humans do not pose a danger to them.
Hence, you are extremely safe in the tent except for the many animal noises you will hear at night and maybe some monkeys or baboons who might visit and steal some foods.
It is however very crucial not to leave the camp without a guide even if you have the urge to go for a jog in the jungle, Maasai Mara is a no for such. Always follow instruction as given by the camp attendant because the area is a wild animal territory and its not easy even for the game rangers to know every move the various animals intend to take.
How do I see all the animals?
Well there are two options provided for exploring the Mara;
- Game drive in designated vehicles most with an open roof top.
- A balloon safari which need to be arranged in advance.
No one is allowed to walk in the park and there are various warnings in the park for people not to leave their vehicles and stick to the marked paths.
Best time to see the animals in their true nature is in the morning when its most likely to see a kill happening or in the evening when they come out from their resting place from the scotching sun.
How do I maximize on seeing all the animals in the Mara.
Well Maasai Mara Game Reserve is one of they few parks that have all the Big 5 (Lion,Elephant,Buffalo,Rhino,Leopard)in it. When doing the safari, always aim at seeing all these animals.
To be able to achieve this you either need more days to maximize covering the whole park or you can opt for a full day game drive with the option of a picnic in the Mara grasslands. This is one of the packages offered by the various lodges in the Mara.
There is quite a good coordination between the tour drivers and the park rangers and they always communicate while they are maneuvering through the park. This helps them spot where the big animals are and also make sure no one is left stranded in the park.
The wild beast migration
The wild beast normally migrate from the Serengeti Game Reserve in the neighboring country Tanzania to the Maasai Mara through the crocodile infested river Mara. They normally do these in thousands of numbers. It has never been understood why they do these but it is really a wonder to see these animals cross.
This is one of the biggest event in the Mara which happens once a year between the months of July and August. This is normally reserved for the big animal production houses like the national geographic and the big cat diaries crew but if you are determined to attend the event you can try your luck.
The only disadvantage is that it is not certain at what time the animals actually move so people have to camp there for days going to weeks waiting for the animals to move then in a span of hours the event is over.
How do I get to the Mara?
From the main airport, your travel agent can organize for your pickup via road to get to the Mara by road. These normally takes 4-5 hours as one views the country scenery. There is also the option of chartered small aircraft or helicopters that can get you direct to the Mara in an hour or less depending on the travel package you choose.
Pointers when at the Mara.
- Aim to see the Big 5.
- Get a good zoom in camera to get great photo memories.
- Insist on early morning or late evening game drives as that is when you get to see the animals at their best.
- Always get a guide who is from the local area to learn more about the place.
- Have an adventurous spirit as this is a very rough terrain and needs one not to be fainthearted.