A stunning landscape, populated by a proud warrior people and incredible prolific wildlife, the Masai Mara is a powerful magnet for anyone with a taste for safari adventure holidays. As grassy plains, towering escarpments, incredible skies and impossible sunsets conspire to create the perfect backdrop for the spectacular action that takes place every day across the Masai Mara, red-cloaked Masai men lead their cattle across the land, protecting them from predators who patiently watch and wait. Come to the Masai Mara on a safari holiday and from the moment you start to drive across it you’ll know this ancient land barely tolerates your presence, tossing you around over giant potholes, huge bumps and around stubborn cattle, which were clearly here first. Step out onto the open plains and you’ll swiftly feel very small.
Safari Holidays: highlights of the Masai Mara
Amble along the Masai Rivers
The Mara and Telek rivers bring life to the Masai Mara, creating a fertile environment for the most incredible game viewing. In the deeper pools, hippo brows float clumsily on the water while elephant families gather to cool themselves and hose each other down. Towards the shore crocodiles bask on flat rocks and sandbars, waiting to mug the first creature that takes their fancy, while rhinos lazily sunbathe in the mud; it’s hard to imagine these huge creatures being able to get up to charge anyone, but you don’t want to be in the way if they do!
Race across the boundless grasslands
This is where you are guaranteed some of the best game viewing in the Masai Mara. Here is the haunt of the cheetah, the fastest animal on the planet, and its favourite dinner, the tail-twitching Thompson’s gazelle. On a rocky outcrop sits a pride of lions, tails swishing, eyes peeled for zebra, belligerent buffalo or baby giraffe as their own cute, furry cubs play-fight among themselves. If you’re lucky you may see an elusive leopard, dozing in the branches of an acacia tree, undisturbed by the sounds of crowned plovers screeching overhead.
Catch the Wildebeest migration
Visit the Masai Mara between July and October for the world famous spectacle of almost two million wildebeest, zebra and Thompson’s gazelle migrating en masse from the Seregenti in search of greener pastures. All closely followed by lions, cheetahs and leopards hiding in the tall grass, waiting to pounce and feast on the weakest of the bunch.
Float up, up and away
A balloon trip across the Masai Mara gives you a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the action taking place below. To float over the misty savannah at dawn as the herds and big cats wake up for their breakfast is worth every penny.
Visit a Maasai village
Maasai people live in small settlements of mud huts, living off the meat and milk of their livestock, their rituals and traditions are an integral part of their everyday life. They believe that God sent all the cattle down to Earth, only for the Maasai. Visiting a Maasai village gives some insight into their way of life, though be prepared to spend some money – they know how to drive a hard bargain! On the other hand, they do make exquisite beaded jewellery and your money will help make up for the cattle they’ve lost by not killing the lions that helped entice you here.
The Sunday Times - writes about the perfect safari in Kenya (12 October 2008).