Masai Mara Hot Air Ballooning

The perfect location for your first safari holiday in Kenya

Spot the Big Five, meet warriors and enjoy wilderness luxury on your tailor made Masai Mara safari holiday.

The Masai Mara rightly deserves its place as one of Africa’s most popular safari destinations, and the experience it provides is exceptional for first-timers, families, and aficionados alike! Wildlife is abundant with the big five prevalent, and big cat sightings are particularly impressive - in fact, it is where the BBC's Big Cat diaries was filmed and has been home to many David Attenborough clips.

When to go

Visit the Mara between July and October and you have every chance of witnessing the migration of wildebeest as they move between the Serengeti in neighbouring Tanzania, and the Mara in Kenya, in search of fresh pasture. Widely seen as the greatest show on Earth, the possibility of a ringside seat for a perilous river crossing draws thousands of visitors each.

December to February is also a brilliant time to visit the Masai Mara as it is calving season giving you a fantastic opportunity to see young newly born animals. Whilst this is the wet season, it is not the peak of the wet season, so particularly in December, rains are short and seeing wildlife amongst the lush green grasses is a real treat.

Sunrise Hot Air Balloon

One of the most popular experiences on a luxury Masai Mara holiday is a hot air balloon safari. Floating silently over the plains at dawn is the perfect opportunity to get an idea of the vast scale of the reserve, before enjoying a bush breakfast on landing. A real bucket list activity.

Avoiding the crowds

There’s no denying that the popularity of the Masai Mara can become an issue with the number of vehicles in the main National Reserve, particularly during high season. The creation of private conservancies around the perimeter of the main reserve has somewhat eased this pressure and offers a more exclusive safari experience, away from the crowds. The beauty of staying in one of the private conservancies – Mara North, Naboisho and Olare Orok to name just three – is that you can expect the same prolific levels of wildlife as there are no borders between the national and private reserves but with stricter controls on visitor numbers. These reserves are also doing fantastic conservation work making staying in one good for the environment and wildlife you want to see, as well as for you experience.

As well as fewer visitor numbers in a private reserve, you also get the benefit that you can go off-road and enjoy night safaris, something that is not possible in the Masai Mara National Reserve.

Masai culture

Of course one of the draws of the Masai Mara is the chance to have an authentic safari experience and to meet the Masai in their famed red-checked shukas. It is likely that your safari guide will be a warrior or tribe member, and as well as telling you about the wildlife, they will open up about local culture giving you a wonderful insight into Kenyan life. You can also visit Masai villages to get a true sense of Kenyan culture and the semi-nomadic lives some still follow.

Lodges vs Tented Accommodation

You can choose to either stay in a lodge which is a permeant structure, often with swimming pools etc and a similar experience to a luxury hotel or in a tented camp. If it is your first safari holiday, you may feel safer in a lodge, but if you choose to stay in tented accommodation you'll get the full safari experience. Don't be be put off by the idea of a tent, this is far from roughing it - expect Persian rugs, large double and sometime four-poster beds, and even hot-water bottles to keep you cosy at night.

Camps are often set in the heart of the action in idyllic locations and in a tent you can hear the sounds of African bush as you drift off to sleep and look at paw prints that have been through camp in morning - a true adventure.

Bush and Beach

The Masai Mara is easy to combine with another area of Kenya such as Samburu, Laikipia or Lewa, or to combine with some relaxation on the beach either by a quick microlight to the stunning Kenyan coast or by flying to Zanzibar.

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  • Ben

    Ben

    Kenya Specialist

  • Alistair

    Alistair

    Kenya Specialist

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