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Masai Mara National Reserve

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According to estimates, around 250-300 lions live in the Masai Mara – the highest density in the whole of Africa. It is very easy to spot them, especially in the open tracts of the savannah.

 

Arriving on the Masai Mara upland - the green plateau that runs at 1,700 metres above sea level between the heart of the Rift Valley - is simply an amotion. Endless savannah punctuated by red-bark Acacia and dotted with forests – as described by the name Masai Mara, Maa being Masai for “spotted”. A grassland where everything has its special place: the colours, the atmosphere, the rain and the drought. And then us, with our breathing held in front of this sight.  

Why

 

The Maasai Mara represents the cherry on the cake of a trip to Kenya, and is often the primary reason for visiting the country.

 

It is the only park in Kenya where an encounter with the Big Five is a certainty.

 

What are the Big Five animals?

Elephant, Lion, Rhino, Leopard, Buffalo

 

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How to get around

 

Game drives organised by expert local guides are the best way of visiting the park. The drivers know the places to go in order to find the wildlife, as well as the more drivable tracks. 

 

Our drivers are capable of getting close enough to a lion that one can almost hear its breathing (whilst our own is held with excitement)

 

About us


I spent my youth in Nairobi
, in the district of Westlands, and today I divide my time between Italy and and Kenya. My brother, however, never left the country; bewitched by Kilimanjaro or perhaps because he is still in search of his leopard. It is he who still pulls me, our children, friends and acquaintances into trips that are never the same twice; on safaris that start out by the book, but never fail to end in adventure. My daughter went on her first Safari to the Masai Mara when she was five and it was a great experience for her and also for us as parents.





 

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A population of about 50 cheetahs live in the reserve’s grasslands. They are concentrated particularly in the Mara Triangle. It must be because they are used to the tourists hanging out of the land rovers’ roofs that the cheetahs pose with such nonchalance.

 

The best period to visit the park

 

is between July and August, during a great wildebeest migration. During this period the park is also full of tourists - the safari minibuses are almost as numerous as the animals themselves!

 

A trip in a hot air balloon becomes a wonderful alternative to the traffic!

 

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Flying over the Savannah in a hot air balloon is like entering the bush on tip toes, or on the wing. The balloon safary begins at break of dawn, about 6 am – nature is an early riser – and lasts for around 1 hour. After a while, the sensation of being at one with the landscape is absolute. The flight is always followed by a champagne breakfast “in the bush”, with a well laid out seating arrangement.

 

Masai Mara is located 270km west of Nairobi, at a remote southwestern corner of the country, right at the edge of the Tanzanian border.

 

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How to get there:

 

  • From Nairobi the easiest way is by car, it will take same five or six hours just to the eastern of the reserve to which should be added the driving time within the limits.

Nairobi - Masai Mara

Distance: 150 Miles

 

Travel time by car: 5/6 hours approx

  • From the Coast- Malindi - the ideal course of action is to fly in on small charter planes, all the camps and lodges have a landing strip. This leaves you more time to dedicate to the actual safari. (Do not trust drivers who offer to driver you there in a short time, it is technically impossible)

 

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Malindi - Masai Mara

Distance: 507 Miles

 

Travel time by plane: 2 hours approx

 

 

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Wildebeest Migrate

 

The beginning of June – with the peak in August – hails the start of the annual gnu migration, as from the Serengeti National Park they enter the Mara reserve in search of pasture and between September, peaking in October, the mighty herd of gnu abandons the desiccated steppe of the Maasai Mara in order to return to their Tanzanian park of origin.

 

This event, dictated by the rainy season, is one of the most spectacular phenomena in nature. The passage of this powerful herd of 1.4 million head, accompanied by zebra as well as predators taking every advantage to hunt, is an absolute must for safari photographers. Spectacular scenes straight from the greatest documentaries.

 

 

 

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Closely watching a gnu isn't easy, better in photo.

 

Gnus belong to the family Bovidae, which includes antelopes, cattle, goats, and other even-toed horned ungulates.

 

 

*KWS – Kenyan Wildlife Service

 

It is a state corporation with the mandate to conserve and manage wildlife in Kenya, and to enforce related laws and regulations with the goal to work with others to conserve, protect and sustainably manage wildlife resources. The community wildlife program of KWS in collaboration with others encourages biodiversity conservation by communities living on land essential to wildlife, such as wildlife corridors and dispersal lands outside parks and reserves. 

 

The challenges facing wildlife and biodiversity conservation in Kenya are many and varied. They include climate change, habitat degradation and loss, forest depletion, tourism market volatility, human wildlife conflict brought on by population growth and changing land use habits of communities that co-exist with wildlife as well as wildlife crime.

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© Kenya non solo safari - Manuela Pox - 2012 -