This is the third of a four-part series on national parks in Kenya and Tanzania.
The Masaai Mara is a national reserve in Kenya, about a 4-5 hour drive southwest of Nairobi, and encompasses a hilly region (that continues into the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania) that is home to probably the greatest population of wild animals in Africa. Several rivers criss-cross the Masaai Mara, providing the animals with an abundant source of water and food. The lush vegetation along the banks of the rivers forms a stark contrast with the grassy plains where massive herds of wildebeest (gnus), buffalos and zebras roam. The region is also home to large populations of giraffes, lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, hyenas, crocodiles and various antelope species. The annual wildebeest trek (between the Serengeti and Maasai Mara) takes place between the months of July and November – the times of the actual migration are difficult to predict. A fantastic way to view this mass migration is by means of a hot air balloon safari. Floating silently above the hundreds of thousands of animals, you’ll be witness to a true spectacle of nature, one that will never be forgotten.
This region is also home to the Maasai, a fiercely proud tribe who are renowned for the vibrant colours of their traditional dress and their fascinating customs. It is an intriguing and worthwhile experience to visit a Maasai village but expect steep entrance fees and souvenir-pushers. Take it in stride, be respectful but above all, take the time to truly appreciate the wondrous Maasai culture and their (often torturous) history.
Scroll down to view some of my best pictures of this magnificent park. Read the other editions of this African safari series: ‘Serengeti Magic‘, ‘The Splendor of Lake Nakuru‘ and ‘The Splendid Tarangire‘.