Masai Mara N.R. Travel Guide

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Wild Animals as close as possible

Wild Animals as close as possible

Alex Bonato

The Masai Mara is definitely Kenya’s most popular tourist attraction. The Mara had become the country’s most visited park or reserve because of the amount of game within a fairly small area. Here you have the best chance of seeing a leopard or cheetah, and you’re sure to see lions, elephants, buffalo, giraffe, hyena, and many types of ungulates, such as impala, Thomson’s gazelle, topi, and hartebeest. The annual migration of wildebeest is an extraordinary sight, where millions of the animals move in from the Serengeti in July and August.

The only draw-back of the Masai Mara is that it is too crowded with tourists. You literally cannot look anywhere without seeing a white Nissan filled with other travelers. Game is located by finding the groups of tourist vehicles, some times up to 20 or more surrounding one cheetah or lion. It detracts from the experience making you feel like you’re in a zoo without cages. Still, there’s nowhere in Kenya where you can see this many animals with so little effort.

Most visitors that visit the Mara have booked trips with a travel company. There are many companies that offer different deals. Most are 2 or 3 nights, with two or more game drives in the park a day. Prices for a tented camp safari average about US$ 200 per person for the trip, including meals and lodging in tents. Gametrackers and Let’s Go Travel are two companies which can give you a good safari for a decent price. Their contacts are at the beginning of the National Parks section.

There are many upper-end deals as well, where you’ll stay at very expensive resort hotels or tented camps. There are more than a dozen such resorts, some inside the park boundaries. If you’ve booked your safari with a tourist company, you’ll have no choice where you stay. If you have your own vehicle and a lot of money, you have several options. Mara Intrepids Club (# (02) 338084) offers tents for US$ 223/304 for singles/doubles with full board and game drives. Low season rates are an excellent value at US$ 100/160. Nearby also on the Talek River is the Fig Tree Camp (# (02) 221439), which is also a tented camp. For US$ 125/170 you can get a single/double with full board, or US$ 50/100 in the low season. The Mara Serena Lodge (# (02) 711077) lies on the Mara river in the center of the park. They have singles/doubles with full board for US$ 120/160, or US$ 50/100 in the low season. If you want to stay outside of the park and save money on expensive park fees, try the Mara Safari Club (# (02) 216940), or the more affordable Mara River Camp (# (02) 331191).

The high season is usually considered to be from December through January, then June until mid August.

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