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Back 08 / 06 / 2010

Masai Mara

mara018The Masai Mara Reserve is unfenced and is the continuation of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park Reserve, situated in south western Kenya. The Reserve has been named after the Masaai people who inhabit the area and is known for its large populations of Big Cats and the annual migration of zebra, wildebeest and Thomson Gazelle. It also has a huge variety of birdlife with over 450 recorded species. The Masai Mara is a popular wildlife destination for documentary film makers and writers. The BBC’s Big Cat Diary was filmed in both the Reserve and the conservation areas of the Mara.

The gentle rolling grasslands ensure that animals are never far out of sight and the reserve is full of animals throughout the year thanks to the Mara River which is a permanent source of water. The Mara is situated 1500m above sea level – the climate is mild and the adequate rains create a nutrient rich landscape for the many different species that inhabit the reserve. Although the Mara is a year round safari destination, the best time to visit is between July and October when the wildebeest and zebra are at their highest numbers – offering plenty of food for lions, cheetahs and leopards.

The area is also inhabited by the semi nomadic Masai people. There distinctive customs, colourful dress and beaded jewellery make them one of the most well known of the African ethnic groups. Unlike other Kenyans, they have maintained their traditional lifestyles, living as their ancestors have done for thousands of years. Their society revolves around each generation of men becoming warriors and involves many initiation rituals. The men’s role is to protect the villages and cattle whilst the women build and maintain the homes.

Some of our favourite camps in the Masai Mara are Richards Camp, Shompole Lodge and Elephant Pepper Camp.

Richards Camp is a small tented camp situated on the edge of a small forest offering a traditional safari experience with the comfort of modern amenities and excellent game viewing opportunities. Accommodation is in five spacious en-suite tents and there is also accommodation for families. Activities include day and night game drives, bush walks, bird watching and cultural visits to Masaai communities. Children can enjoy bush tracking, learning how to make fire and collecting Kenyan honey.

Shompole Lodge is situated near Lake Natron and Lake Magadi, overlooking the vast expanse of the Great Rift Valley and Mount Shompole. It is an eco- lodge which has been built with natural materials including quartz stone and thatch and consists of six individually styled en-suite rooms with lounges and private plunge pools. Activities include day and night game drives, bush walks, river trips, sundowner visits to Lake Natron to see the flamingos and overnight fly camping.

Elephant Pepper Camp is situated within the protected Koiyaki wilderness area, away from other camps and lodges in the northern Masai Mara. The camp has eight spacious tents with en-suite facilities and the communal areas include a spacious lounge, a dining room, bar and cosy library. The camp offers day and night game drives, bush walks and visits to the local Masai communities.

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