Visit Masai Mara Kenya
I wouldn’t want to throw this again and again after so many other people have done right into your faces. Having to repeat and insisting on how Kenya and the Masai Mara national wildlife reserve position themselves as the 8th world wonder or more less wanting to answer questions like when is the best time to visit the Masai mara Kenya?. Nevertheless this would be a copy_ paste scenario. But im talking from my own experience while adventuring this awesome destination with action packed adventure: Needn’t i to say wildlife photography is my hobby and yes, i pressed the right button.
Having been a Safari guide in the Pearl of Africa Uganda, working for several safari companies in including East Africa but now a well positioned, fast growing local travel agency in Uganda, I still find my passion and love for wildlife but more so behind the shutter button when capturing these wildlife encounters. I haven’t stopped my adventures in Uganda alone (of course being my home country), but i would loosely explain my continuous adventures to these east African regions into selling Africa destinations or being updated for purposes of selling combined East Africa trips).
With no doubt, you will (if you have been to any of the East African Countries) agree with me that Kenya or Tanzania has vast wildlife than Uganda: That’s absolutely true. You would be marveled speculating at un-ending wild beast herds, drive through plains dotted with zebra herds in a mixture of tall and curious standing giraffes, un fearful herds of elephants, crying Hyenas, Many prides of lions, curious brother Cheetahs walking majestically through the plains or more so lucky to find them feeding on their catch. And then, You wouldn’t have seen it all until your drive takes you descending to the Mara river_ Now this is where real Wildlife action takes place… Undoubtedly spectacular.
Completely relying on my own story and adventure through the Masai mara, I will share some of the Reasons as to why you should consider Masai Mara for a safari through East Africa and absolutely possible if you would like to double it with Gorilla trekking in Uganda: Bwindi impenetrable National park. Read with me through these strong and personal put reasons.
Un-ending, jaw dropping savannah plains
Now. There is that time of the day during morning hours at sunrise or evening hours when retiring back to the lodge..The photographer’s die-hard time and normally call these the Golden hours. While in the mara, I would constantly ask Peter (who was my driver and a friend ) “stop, stop, Stop a minute please, I would ask” and here he would be running for his break peddle asking me what i had seen. I would point my camera to the sunrise below the savannah horizons, take numerous shots of the sunrise while controlling my Breathing levels and then exhale completely again, I would put away my camera and watch every second of the rising sun opening out from the clouds in what you would term as “The African Sunrise”. And peter would continue asking me what it was that i had seen, politely answering, the sunrise and the plains, “hmmmmmm ..Ohh That, nilikuwa najuwa umeona Kichwa, dowa dowa ya juu ama ya chini” Literaraly translated in Swahili, I thought you had seen a lion or leopard or cheetah somewhere” he would add. (Probably because he has seen enough of these sunrises and sunsets and they aren’t so special anymore) but to me, even back here in Uganda, this is something i wouldn’t trade for anything spending seconds, minutes and hours spectating at.
Our morning days would start as early as 6 o’clock from the lodge and start right away with the . Staying at Asnil Mara camp was and still remains the best choice i made being located just next the Mara river. While this is also known as the best time to spot wildlife, It doubles as the best time to watch the sunrise uncover from the far end hills on the savannah just below the cloud horizons. While on a game drive, I would turn full-time clockwise and only see unending beautiful plains while single standing acacia trees distantly separated from each other would create a scene like in the lion King movie. Looking beautiful with a curious giraffe standing beneath while reaching out for the leaves on the tree as the morning brightens more. While above the savannah horizons on the different view angle is a 10km line of a combined social zebras & Wildbeats headed to the Mara river leaving the rising dust on the bare ground reflected in the Golden lights.. Now that’s envisioning a moment you would like to add your wide-angle lens to your camera and grab that special moment.
Absolutely no regrets on this, I wouldn’t hesitate to give an A++ to Ashnil mara camp for the services. While i stayed here for most of my 5 nights in the mara, I had the Argue visiting other Lodges like Sarova, serena, sopa, Mara leisure, mara tree tops, mara Eden, fig tree, mara simba and kekerok lodges. The one thing that surely kept crossing my mind is “These guys know what they want and know what they are doing”. If I am to throw a simple advise: if you ever plan on visiting the mara and want the best top notch lodges, plan your visit early enough in time to secure a place in any of the lodges mentioned. In my one-on-one with the managers and supervisors i found on ground during my visit, statistics show that most of the places were fully booked up and a few rooms would be available basically due to a few cancellations and some not showing up.
Most of these lodges consequently present a moment to reflect on, They present suitable locations for game viewing. Have i said that you would sit back on your cottage balcony and watch the Wildebeest migration or have all these wildlife come closer to your cottage or be immersed in a wildlife scenario something that feels so special? No!! I haven’t mentioned that these lodges have well raised cabins with ensuit showers and a touch to a wilderness look. Did i mention that the staff and food at these lodges is an A+ rating? No: i probably didn’t mention that the prices are affordable for the kind of service. Absolutely and with no doubt the reasons these lodges would be fully booked in the peak season.
Unlike these midrange lodges, the budget, Shoe string lodges are another story. In my personal and open opinion, i would surely suggest that you take either mid-range or high end lodges. Look!! The budget Lodges in Mara are just a bed thing “ Call it “Just to sleep for a night” but wouldn’t even match the value of a dollar paid. Most of these budget and shoe string lodges are owned and run by very local People or some masai’s with no single experience or knowledge, all that is important is “sleep, eat what is available, get going to the park and pay what was set” in the end this ain’t worth it and the visit to the Mara would turn into a nightmare if you get food poison: Trust me it would be hell for you. I’m not trying to downgrade these accommodations but im trying to be sincere and recommend something that would turnout an amazing safari and yes, where you stay matters a lot. However if you don’t mind the above, There are quiet good budget accommodations you can stay, but Do Not expect a lot from them. Otherwise the mid-range and high-end lodges & camps are the better or more best option to spice up your stay in the Mara.
Vibrant Wildlife Encounters
Talking about the Big 5 in the wild, This would be possibly one of the greatest encounters while on Safari but the Mara alone is enough to present you this in a blink of an eye. On day 2 of our Visit masai mara tour after witnessing the Wild beast Migration, Peter received a tip of a sighting and asked me to get into the vehicle quick for this sighting, and guess what this was after a marathon of driving? A Black Rhino that had just crossed from Serengeti into the Mara. It Didn’t swim through the Mara river like the wildbeasts but found its way through the sand river. I probably had never seen a black Rhino in the wild apart from the stories i hear back here in Uganda about the last Black Rhino that was poached in Kidepo valley national park, Years before i even dreamt of being a guide or now a tour operator. But here it was quietly feeding in the Mara plains as we calmly stared at it packed next to the road track. Oh By the way we had Tanzania in our back, it was a stone throw away.
Talking of more vibrant wildlife during my 5 days visit masai mara, If i wasn’t seeing hyenas stalking down the zebras or watching lions, jackals or cheetahs crossing, i would be witnessing a leopard camouflaging in an acacia tree somewhere on the opposite side or shifting its prey to a safe place. Now, When you encounter zebras, its in millions and thousands, when you encounter Girraffes, it’s the same, the hyenas are many, the pride of lions are in each corner and when it comes to the wildebeests, they look like another kind of starnge shrub vigorously growing in the mara because they are just so many and countless.
Action packed wildlife Encounters
On a good day during my visit masai mara massive game drive, the plains are just awesome. When you are not spectating at lions hunting, you will probably watch hyenas stalking zebras for chances. When you don’t witness cheetahs doing their marathon or already sunk their faces in a pool of blood, on the next corner in a tree is a leopard with its teeth carrying an almost 50kg gazelle to the tree protecting it from other predators. Then there comes a moment to reckon for life when you descend down to the Mara river. Here is the right place where unequalled action takes place as you witness a combination of both fear and braveness of the Wildebeests playing game with hungry crocodiles of the mara river. Action you would definitely watch all day long till sunset. I probably watched about 25 Crossings in the 5 days i camped in the Masai Mara and the Mara Triangle including one that we saw while seated on our cottage balcony at Ashnil Mara camp…. That was awesome i must totally confess.
The great Migration
Absolutely the extraordinally spectacle and ranks as the 8th world wonder. Isn’t that a little enough for one to visit the Mara? Probably yes. Considering that I visited during the right months (End of July and beginning of August). During the Great Migration Safari, Hundreds and thousands of wildbeasts & zebras cross the hungry crocodile and infested mara river in search for the new grass in the mara following the new sprout of finished rains in Apirl, may and mid june. I have seen before these migrations on Tv, Wildlife channels and you-tube but hadn’t seen this action live. Here i was well positioned in the safari land cruiser on a first hand watch as we had numerous crossings in one day.
However the one thing you should consider having as part of this safari to masai mara for the migration is PATIENCE.. yes, a lot of patience is needed here and the wait is absolutely rewarding. The Ng’nus ( wildbeasts) work in groups and team to cross the river, and when one jumps into the water, the rest will follow suit. But before they do, as you wait for them to re-group, sleep will probably catch up with you in the vehicle. It surely gets to this boring part of waiting, but it’s wildlife and worth the little sleep and wait. Meanwhile, hungry crocodiles are on the loose to have one catch for the day and this presents a wildlife action while you watch a crocodile open wide its jaws in an attempt to grab one or two Wildebeests.
Visiting the mara would be the best choice made by any safari enthusistic traveler. If You love wildlife and would love to be part of such encounters, East Africa including masai mara is absolutely a destination that would offer you a different experience every time you visit. you wouldn’t get enough of it, its always different…