Why the Maasai Mara is Among the Most Visited Parks in Africa
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Why the Maasai Mara is Among the Most Visited Parks in Africa

With an annual migration of wildebeests, the Maasai Mara is a favorite tourist destination in Africa. The visitors flocking to the park annually are not interrupted by the seasons because the migration is not the only attraction at the Maasai Mara. This makes Maasai Mara one of the most visited parks in Africa.

The Maasai Mara is arguably the best and greatest wildlife reserve in Africa. The Park has lived up to its billing with numerous visitors on an annual pilgrimage to the park to marvel at mother nature’s wonders especially during the wildebeest migration. In essence you are bound to witness thousands if not millions of hooves as the animals browse around the park's vast grassland.

Despite the fact that you can see different animal species at the park, the crocodiles in the Mara river, the lions and the wildebeest are the most memorable. Dubbed the eighth wonder of the world, the 2 million plus wildebeeste migration is an experience unlike any other. The crocodiles are at their happiest and most active as the wildebeeste and a 200,000+ zebra population cross the Mara river. Carry your cameras to capture the breath taking shots.

However, you can spot a solitary white rhino, a cheetah just about to pounce on its prey, a leopard resting on a tree top and the rest of the big five; African Elephant, Water Buffalo, Lion, in other parts of the park.

Facts on the Maasai Mara

The Maasai Mara lies to the South-west of Kenya and is also home to the Maasai who co-exist with the animals right in the park. The Park is approximately 200km (370miles) from Nairobi(Kenya's capital) by road. High seasons are between June and August , December and January. The June – August season is the wildebeeste migration period and normally the animals migrate back to the Serengeti when the grass dries up between October and December.

You can also fly to the Mara with the following Airstrips housed in the park, Mara Serena Airstrip, Musiara Airstrip and Keekorok Airstrip, Mara Shikar Airstrip, Kichwa Tembo Airstrip and Ngerende Airstrip. Flights to the park are available at Kenya’s Wilson airport.

Entry fees at the gate are USD 60 for adults and USD 30 for children. Numerous lodges and camps offer accomodation at the park. Lodge accomodation varies between USD 50 - 200 per person per night while camping ranges between USD 25-100 per person. Ensure you secure your booking early either online or through your travel agent to avoid inconveniences especially during high seasons.

Activities while at the Maasai Mara revolve around the weather calendar. It rains in April and May and again November and this can cause some areas of the Mara to be inaccessible due to the sticky 'black cotton' mud. July to October is dry and the grass is long and lush after the rains, temperatures vary between 85°F (30°C) during the day and 60°F (15°C) at night. This is a good time to come and see the huge herds of migratory herbivores. The warmest time of year is December and January, an appropriate time to go bird watching, the Mara boasts of 53 birds of prey species among other species. June and July are the coldest months.

Pack appropriate clothing depending on the weather patterns above. The Mara is a malaria zone just like most African tourist spots and you should ensure you get anti-malaria shots or drugs from your country of origin.

The Mara is segmented into the following zones Ngama Hills to the east with sandy soil and leafy bushes liked by black rhino, Oloololo Escarpment forming the western boundary and rising to a magnificent plateau, Mara Triangle bordering the Mara River with lush grassland and acacia woodlands favourite for migrating wildebeest, Central Plains forming the largest part of the reserve with scattered bushes and grassland.

Other activities at the Mara

You can go for balloon rides especially during the warm periods while you view the vast grassland and blue skies normally witnessed at this time of the year. If you are driving your own vehicle ensure you avoid off-road drives and after dark drives which are normally prohibited. It is also necessary to hire guides in case you got lost in the vast Maasai Mara.

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Comments (2)
Ranked #2 in Africa

Excellent write for our dearest Africa Teddy!

Ranked #22 in Africa

Thank you Colin.