5 reasons why the Maasai Mara National Reserve is worth a visit
I love weekend getaways and micro-holidays, they are a great way to break up the ordinary. When living in Nairobi a weekend away is much more than breaking the ordinary, it is witnessing the extraordinary! I recently took a road trip out to the Maasai Mara – that’s right, my weekend getaway was to one of the world’s most incredible National Reserve. How lucky am I?!
The Maasai Mara
The Maasai Mara National Reserve is as incredible as you could imagine. Herds of animals everywhere you look, breath-taking landscapes and those sunsets – just wow. This was my second visit to the Mara and I was no less impressed than on my first visit. Want to know why I went twice? Here are my top 5 reasons why the Maasai Mara National Reserve is worth a visit… or two.
1. The Wildlife
It goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. Head to The Mara if you want to see lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, antelope of every variety, giraffes, vultures, crocodiles or hippopotamus. Notice there is an ‘s’ on all of them? Well that’s because chances are you will see multiple of each! The park is filled with wildlife and you’ll rarely find a moment when the landscape isn’t looking back at you.
2. The Light
The grass is so green that in the morning light that it seems to glow. The landscape evolves in the shifting daylight and not a moment arrives where you want to put your camera away. Sunset though, that is the magical time when the view could not possibly become any more African!
3. The Location
A seven hour road trip from Nairobi, The Mara is incredibly convenient to get to. The drive out includes stopping at the Rift Valley for the all important photo op and also a pit stop for lunch. I’m a HUGE fan of road trips, having grown up in an isolated part of Australia and spending family holidays in the car, so for me seven hours was a piece of cake. I also love overland travel and the chance to see the landscape change. (You can also fly but it’s $$$).
4. The People
The Maasai people manage The Mara and they would have to be the most iconic tribe of Kenya / Tanzania. The drive to the park and within it allows a chance to see how the tribe lives. Most accommodation facilities provide the option of a Maasai walk, giving you the opportunity to question a Maasai and check out their village. The Maasai will often spend the night sleeping with their herds within the park itself – the same park that just showed you a bunch of lions. This tribe really is strong and brave!
5. The Opportunity
How often in life does one have the chance to sit beneath an Acacia tree surrounded by wildebeest and zebras? When you visit the Mara for a full day safari that is exactly what you will get. No fences, no guards, nothing to separate you from the African wilderness and all her glory. What more of a reason do you need to head out to the Maasai Mara?
Between the people, the landscape and the incredible array of animals, the Mara is definitely a location to add to your bucket list. If you need any more reason to head out on safari in Africa, check out my photo essay on East Africa. Those faces are sure to encourage a visit!
The Footprint Scale
Safari in the Maasai Mara:2/5 footprints
Offset the travel and you have a great eco adventure. Wildlife tourism is a great antidote to poaching and enables community engagement rather than isolation. Be mindful of the camps you stay in and ensure all rubbish is collected (the windblown plastic is bad).