“Mara” means “spotted” in the local Maasai language.
Maasai Mara National Reserve is an area of preserved Savannah wilderness in south-western Kenya, along the Tanzanian border. Its animals include lions, cheetahs, elephants, zebras and hippos. Wildebeest traverse its plains during their annual migration. The landscape has grassy plains and rolling hills, and is crossed by the Mara and Talek rivers. The area nearby is dotted with villages (enkangs) of Maasai people.
Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Kenya. The reserve is located in the Great Rift Valley in primarily open grassland with wildlife greatly concentrated on the reserve’s western escarpment.The Masai Mara is regarded as the jewel of Kenya’s wildlife viewing areas. The annual wildebeest’s migration alone, also called The Great Migration, involves over 1.5 million animals arriving in July and departing in November.There have been some 95 species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles and over 400 birds species recorded on the reserve.Nowhere in Africa is wildlife more abundant, and it is for this reason a visitor is almost assured to see the Big Five (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and rhino) in the Mara.
At an altitude of 5,300 feet (1,600 metres), the rainy season in the Mara runs from November through May, with peak rainfall in December-January and April-May. The dry season runs from June-November. Max temperatures up to 30°C and min temperatures around 20°C.The best time to visit the Masai Mara is between July and October, during peak season when The Great Migration happens. Early November and February can also offer excellent game viewing.Activities available in the Mara include game viewing, camping, night game drives, visits to Masai cultural villages, ballooning, bush dinner, lunch and breakfast and scene photography.
1. GAME DRIVES
Masai Mara is one of the world’s most famous national parks. See all the members of The Big Five (elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and rhino) together with 95 other species of mammals and 550 species of birds. In the Masai Mara you’ll also witness the annual migration of over one-and-a-half-million wildebeest.Park entry fees is payable to park authorities upon entry to Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
2. Hot Air Baloon Safari
This is a delightful experience, drifting slowly and silently over the vast African plains. As the sun breaks over the horizon, spread beneath you is a panorama of Africa, vast herds of animals oblivious to your presence above. The Balloon leaves just before sunrise when the breeze on the plains is still cold. Once airborne, the balloons are blown by the prevailing winds across the broad landscape. Apart from the hiss of the burners, the flight above the Maasai Mara plains is magically silent. The pilot controls the height of the craft by regulating the flow of hot air into the balloon. Sometimes the balloon will descend over the plains for a close up view of the wildlife; on other occasions, it rises to clear a tree canopy and rise over the riverine forest.
3. Maasai Cultural Visit
This activity is only possible if clients are spending a minimum of 02 nights in Maasai Mara. Normally it would take a whole morning or afternoon, but it’s better before it’s too hot. It is recommended to book early as the activities have to be booked and confirmed well in advance. Usually visitors are welcomed by a group of Maasai Morans (warriors) and Maasai women with traditional dances which the visitors are free to join. After the welcome, the Maasai people demonstrate some of their ways of life, including making a fire from the friction of rubbing 2 sticks together. A Maasai blacksmith and a medicine man (Laibon) also demonstrates their trade in their traditional ways. There is also a show on how the Maasai harvest blood from cows, which they then mix with milk and eat. This among other activities are showcased and the visitor is encouraged to participate.
4. Ranger Experience – Mara EcoQuest Program
This Masai Mara EcoQuest program is based on our EcoQuest which includes unique elements which reflect the fascinating dynamics occurring in the wildlife areas of the Masai Mara.
This program is packed with adrenaline of the “Big Five” on the Masai Mara plains, guiding skills, and life and work with Maasai Mara communities will give you the unique safari experience you’ve been looking for. It is an immersive educational safari for those wanting to visit Kenya specifically and the five day to two week duration fits perfectly with the wildebeest migration and other Kenya travel plans.
Why do the course?
If you are a wildlife enthusiast wanting to gain a greater understanding of nature while experiencing East Africa’s wildlife, then the Masai Mara EcoQuest is for you.
Live in our Mara Training Centre with daily bush activities on the Mara plains teeming with wildlife; learn to track and trail game; learn about the fauna and flora, study the Kenya night skies and get to know how the ecosystem ticks. Your appreciation of the life of safari guides in Africa and of Kenya’s natural world will exponentially expand. Located alongside the Mara river, the centre is nestled between community villages and wildlife areas. Whilst absorbing all there is to know about nature on game drives and wilderness walks, gain exposure to the fascinating three-way relationship between Maasai Mara wildlife,communities and conservation efforts.