Masai Mara Budget Travel


The world-renowned Masai Mara National Park is Kenya's flagship park. With sweeping plains that seem to stretch to the end of the world, abundant wildlife - including the Big Five - and the breath-taking annual Great Migration, the Masai Mara is a dream safari destination.

Geography

The Masai Mara is situated in the Great Rift Valley in south-western Kenya. It covers over 1 500 km2. The southern part of the park forms part of the border with Tanzania's Serengeti National Park. This border is unfenced, allowing the animals to roam freely and ensuring that the Great Migration is not hindered.

Beside its iconic never-ending plains dotted with Acacia trees, the park also has areas of riverine forest alongs its rivers - the main ones being the Sand, Mara and Talek Rivers.

Amongst the plains are small, rocky hills (koppies/kopjes) and, in the west, the Esoit Oloololo escarpment, Itong Hills in the north and Loita Hills in the east.

History

The Masai Mara was established in 1961. It is run by local communites and not Kenya Wildlife Services.

The park is run to ensure co-existance between the game park and the local inhabitants. Don't be surprised to see cattle grazing along the periphery of the park, unfenced from the wild animals in the park!

Maasai People

This land was populated by the Maasai from about the 17th or 18th century. The Maasai people are pasturalists, who traditionally measured their wealth in cattle and children.

Known as fierce warriors, the Maasai culture is strongly patriarchal, with decisions being made by the elders (men).

One of the most well-known tribes of Africa due to their involvement in tourism in Kenya, they are also highly recognisable with their statuesque figures and bright robes.

ipid

An experience well worth seeking out is a performance of the traditional warrior dance, the ipid.

A number of places offer visits to traditional Maasai villages and most of these will include a demonstration of this incredible dance performed by the warriors, which involves them leaping impossibly high into the air!

Wildlife of the Masai Mara

The seasonally well-watered plains of the Masai Mara and Serengeti offer a generous eco-system in which some of the largest populations of many animals live: hundreds of thousands of zebra, over a million wildebeest, a quarter of a million Thomson's gazelle, to name just three.

Add to this elephant, giraffe, hippos, lions, leopard, crocodiles and many more, with an enormous array of birds, and you're in safari heaven.

While many of the herds are seasonally seen according to their migratory routes, most of them have permanent populations in the park, too.

The Big Five

Known in the 'olden days' as the five most sought-after animals to hunt, these five are now - thank goodness - sought for shooting of a different kind: the kind that involves just a camera.

Masai Mara has healthy populations of all five - lion, elephant, Cape Buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros. It is not unheard of to manage to spot all five on a good day out in the park.

Mammals

All of the favourites call the Masai Mara home. Zebra, giraffe and over fourteen species of antelope graze on Mara's plains amongst warthog, hyenas, mongoose, monkeys and elephant.

Around the rivers, crocodiles lie in wait for prey while hippos grunt in the water and birds twitter in the trees.

Cats

Beside the regal lion, Masai Mara has leopard, cheetah and the smaller African Wild Cat, caracal and serval cats.

A sighting of one of these predators in their natural habitat is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Birds

With over 450 species of bird in the Masai Mara, this is a birdwatcher's paradise.

From tiny, brightly-coloured sunbirds to lanky ostriches and 57 species of raptor, you'll definitely not want to leave yor binoculars at home!

The Li'l Guys

Over and above all the big game, the Masai Mara is crawling (literally) with fascinating insects like the dung beetle, reptiles like lizards and slithering snakes and the ever-so-slow, but very beautiful, tortoise.

A guided walking safari is highly recommended to allow you to see these wonderous creatures up close and get a real African experience.

Great Migration

This is on many people's Bucket List, and deservedly so. It is the biggest attraction to the Masai Mara. The spectacle of hundreds of thousands of animals kicking up the dust as they move across the endless plains and crossing crocodile-infested rivers is breath-taking.

The Great Migration actually occurs all year as the animals follow the rains in a circular pattern. The most dramatic part of it - between July and September - is when the animals cross the rivers heading from Tanzania into Kenya.

The herbivores of the Serengeti migrate across the southern plains, closely followed by the predators including large prides of lion.

When and Where?

The wildebeest follow a set circular route each year, which they have been doing, well, forever, followed by many of the other species and, of course, the predators. It is impossible to give exact dates and times as, each year, these differ according to rainfall that year.

In general, the animals spend from December to May on the lush plains of the south-east Serengeti, grazing, fattening up, and having their babies in February. In late may/early June, the rains on the plains stop and the animals head north-west to the area around the Grumeti River and from there (July/August) to the Masaai Mara.

It is this migration route that provides much drama, as the animals have to cross both the Grumeti and Mara Rivers, where crocodile lie in wait. The animals then remain in Kenya until the short rains start in November, when they make their way back down south.

Masai Mara: A Must-Do

The Masai Mara National Park is a must see for every traveller to Kenya and the shear abundance of game in this Park will not disappoint.


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Tours Focused on Masai Mara

7 Day Samburu, Lake Nakuru & Masai Mara Safari

Duration 07 Days, Travel Style Exclusive Small Group Camping Safaris
Priced from pps R26728 $2022 £1562 €1774 A$2615 C$2574 NZ$2762 Full pricing info
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Samburu lioness hunt A superb 7-day budget wildlife safari that to Samburu National Park in Northern Kenya, the Great Rift Valley Lake of Lake Nakuru and Kenya's premier Masai Mara Game Reserve.

Trip Style Masai Mara Budget Safari Packages

6 Day Masai Mara & Rift Valley Lakes Camping Safari

Duration 06 Days, Travel Style Exclusive Small Group Camping Safaris
Priced from pps R21732 $1644 £1270 €1442 A$2126 C$2092 NZ$2246 Full pricing info
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Mara Wildebeest A 6 day camping Safari to the Great rift Valley Lakes of Kenya and the Masai Mara Game Reserve - one of the top wildlife reserves in Africa.

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4 Day Masai Mara Luxury Camping Safari

Duration 04 Days, Travel Style Exclusive Small Group Camping Safaris
Priced from pps R13800 $1044 £807 €916 A$1350 C$1329 NZ$1426 Full pricing info
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Lions in Mara An adventure-filled 4 day Camping Safari to Kenya's Masai Mara via the Great Rift Valley. An African Safari of spectacular scenary and epic wildlife, at an affordable price.

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Masai Mara Safari Package - Small Group Camping Tour

Duration 03 Days, Travel Style Exclusive Small Group Camping Safaris
Priced from pps R10046 $760 £587 €667 A$983 C$967 NZ$1038 Full pricing info
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Masai Mara balloon ride An action-packed short 3 day Camping Safari from Nairobi to Kenya's Masai Mara Game Reserve via the Great Rift Valley. An affordable scenic and African wildlife treat!

Trip Style Masai Mara Budget Safari Packages