Reasons to Visit
If you are looking for superb game viewing, Kenya is a serious contender. You are likely to see leopard, lion and cheetah in the Masai Mara, home of BBC’s Big Cat Diaries, in addition to fantastic and varied game viewing both here and in Kenya’s other parks and reserves.
In the Great Migration two million ungulates including wildebeest, zebra and antelope species, undertake a journey of roughly 1,600 kilometres. The herds reach the Masai Mara in July and remain there until October when, following the rain, they start the slow march southwards back to the Serengeti Plains.
If you want to enjoy the game reserves to yourself and don't mind the odd rain shower, June it is an excellent time to visit Kenya. During this time the animals take advantage of the abundant food and give birth to their young. They can be a little harder to spot because of the increased vegetation but you should not have to wait too long before seeing something new and you should still see all the animals that you would during the dryer months. It is also worth mentioning that travel at this time can be less expensive than travel later in the year.
Dawn over the Mara from a hot air balloon is a very special sight. You float up high, guided along the course of the Mara river by the prevailing winds, above delicate networks of animal tracks across the landscape. Champagne breakfast in the bush awaits you on landing.
Kenya is home to the iconic Masai and Samburu. For centuries they have lived a traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle herding their cattle to areas of water and grazing. A stay at a community lodge means you can support local people, help preserve wilderness areas and enjoy a great safari.
The Masai Mara is one of the most famous reserves in Africa. Home to the extraordinary Great Migration, which sees hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra cross the Mara River each year, it has always been a favourite location for countless wildlife documentaries.
Meru achieved world recognition with Joy Adamson's 'Born Free' and the story of Elsa the lioness. Meru is well of the beaten safari trail and is located to the North East of Nairobi. On clear mornings you can see the snowy peaks of Mount Kenya to the southeast, and when the sun is directly behind, the Nyambeni Mountain range the backdrop is amazing! The game here was depleted in the 1940s as it was a popular area with hunters. However, animal life is now plentiful as the land has been protected sine 1959. The variegation is mainly Bushland so binoculars and a keen eye will be essential to find the game.
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Africa and The Indian Ocean
The Masai Mara covers an area of 1,800 square kilometres and is probably one of the most famous reserves in Africa. The most famous act played out anually is the Great Migration, which sees up to two million wildebeest undertake a journey of roughly 1,600 kilometres.
Kenya's Lakes & Plains Flying SafariMore details
The wind whistles in the thorn trees. On a solitary acacia a vulture ruffles its feathers. Above are endless skies to match the endless horizons. This must be the Masai Mara, home to the greatest animal show on earth.
The Mara Game Reserve, as it was originally known, an area of some 1,812sq km, was established in 1961. Its southern boundary is contiguous with Tanzania's Serengeti National Park, and it is divided into two sections. The main reserve of 518sq km has been developed on the lines of a national park, where no intrusion of human settlement is allowed and game-viewing is only permitted on game-drives and horseback on organised riding safaris. Bordering the main reserve are numerous conservancies including Mara North, Olare Orok, Naboisho, Ol Kinyei and others. Here local Maasai are permitted to pasture their cattle and where there is a greater diversity of safari activities available, including walking safaris, fly-camping and cultural visits to learn more about the Maasai. A distinct benefit of staying in the conservancies is that the amount of accommodation and number of vehicles is strictly limited, meaning you can enjoy the wildlife to yourself!
The Mara is world famous for its vast assemblages of plains game, together with their associated predators. It is perhaps the only region left in Kenya where the visitor may see animals in the same super-abundance as existed a century ago. The Reserve extends from the edge of the Loita Hills in the east to the Mara Triangle and the Siria Escarpment in the west. Everything is big here; it is a country of rolling plains and rounded hills, of groves of acacia woodland and dense thickets of scrub. The reserve is bisected by the Mara River and its tributaries, which are margined by lush riverine forest and the site of spectacular river crossings during the migration.
The Mara possesses the largest population of lion to be found in Kenya. It also boasts large herds of topi and a small population of roan antelope, animals not found in many other Kenya reserves. Among the great variety of large beasts are elephant, buffalo, black rhino and hippo. Other mammals include leopard cheetah, Burchell's zebra, Coke's hartebeest, wildebeest, oribi, eland, Thomson & Grant's gazelle and warthog. The game is swelled during the months of July, August and September when the great migration comes onto the plains.
The bird life of Mara is as profuse as its mammalian fauna. The river is home to kingfishers, storks and Pel's fishing owl. The riverine forests see large flocks of crested guinea fowl whilst the ground hornbills, secretary birds and bustards can be seen on the plains. Finally, there are more than 53 species of raptor. Whatever you want to see, the Mara will not disappoint.
The Green Season in Kenya is often overlooked, but it is a good time for wildlife and visitors alike. The quantity and quality of game-viewing is among the best on the continent, and even the most hardened safari-goer will find something to delight and surprise.
Entitled simply "Africa", Sir David Attenborough's latest five-part series was filmed across five different regions of this extraordinary continent, capturing animal behaviour never seen before.
Each year, the annual Great Migration in Africa sees up to two million wildebeest and zebra undertake a journey of over 1,600 kilometres across Kenya and Tanzania.
The cradle of humanity, Africa is home to some of the world's great tribal cultures. Visiting some of these will not only leave you with some indelible memories; it's also likely your presence will go toward supporting vital local community projects.
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Include a visit to Masai Mara National Reserve on your tailor-made trip around Kenya by contacting one of our specialists...
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Further reading:Tours in KenyaWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout KenyaCountry Guides
Other countries in Africa:BotswanaMadagascarMalawiMauritiusMozambiqueNamibiaRwandaSouth AfricaTanzaniaThe SeychellesUgandaZambiaZanzibar ArchipelagoZimbabwe
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