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Introduction - Road - Park & Map - Places/Things to see - Pictures - Park fact - Wildlife - Fees - Climate - Camping - Lodges

 MAASAI MARA RESERVE     
MAASAI MARA INTRODUCTION :
Maasai Mara is the most visited park of Kenya and it has the official designation of National Reserve - Read Difference between National Park and National Reserve

North-Kenyan part of the Serengeti national park in Tanzania, Maasai Mara has a large concentration of gameN, especially wild cats and birds, and is one of the only place in Kenya to see the "Big Five"N.

The ecosystem of the Mara is unique as large open grassplainsN are soaked by permanent riversN (Mara, Talek and Sand River) which provide different habitats (plains, riverine forests, swamps) and beautiful sceneries.

There is a large choice of accommodation, from lodges to camping sites, in and around the game reserve. But no low or medium budget hotels -
See list of hotels, lodges and camp sites.

It is a must to visit the Mara when visiting Kenya.
Maasai_mara_road_map
How to get there (from Nairobi) :
Travelling by road to the Maasai Mara has become more comfortable with the repair of the road but there are still big potholes on the way (before Narok) and 35 km of untarred road before the maingate, so you 'll need to plan at least 4 hours drive. From Nairobi, take the Narok road coming down from the escarpment towards Maai Mahiu. At Maai Mahiu, take direction Narok (C12, bording the Mt Longonot). After Narok, continue upto the maingate (Sekenani gate).
Distance Nairobi-Maai Mahiu : 75 km; Maai Mahiu-Narok : 125 km; Narok-Sekenani gate : 67 km

MAASAI MARA RESERVE :
This spectacular expanse of grassland covers 392 km² and receives ample water from the long Mara River. The western and eastern borders of the park feature the Oloololo Escarpment and the Loita Hills respectively.

The highlight of the Mara is the great migration of wildebeestN and zebraN coming from the Serengeti in search of lush grass - watching millions of gnus crossing in mass the deadly Mara river is fascinating.

Maasai Mara is world famous for its abundance of wildlife and its unique ecosystem. The big cats seen in the park are lionsN, cheetahsN, and leopardsN. Lions are often found in large prides and it's not uncommon to see them eating pray early in the morning. ElephantN, buffaloN, and hippoN roam in large herds as well as the topiN, impalaN, zebraN and Coke's hartebeestN who are also abundant.
 MAASAI MARA RESERVE      Flash (full size) --- GIF (full Size)
Flash Tip - Click left in the map to zoom or to print

 PLACES/THINGS TO SEE

topi mara
See all pictures
 WILDLIFE IN MARA TRIANGLE :  In the Mara, everything is big ! Mara possesses a great variety of mammals. Large beasts such as lion, buffalo, elephant, hippopotamus, leopard, giraffe and black rhinoceros are very easily seen in the reserve. Others mammals occuring in the park are Thomson's and Grant's gazelles, cheetah, common zebra, wildebeest, oribi, warthog, Coke's hartebeest. Note also the presence of a rare subspecies of topi and hartebeest known as the jimela topi and the Jackson's hartebeest respectively and of the roan antelope (only seen in Shimba Hills N.P. and in Mara). Birdlife in the park is also abundant as more than 53 different species have been recorded. Birds commonly seen are ostriches, vultures, eagles, marabous and the spectacular secretary bird - See full list of wildlife seen in the park - Print a checklist for your next safari !!
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See all pictures
 ZEBRA/WILDEBEEST MIGRATION : In the Mara, the world's largest migration of wildebeest and zebra takes place every year between June and September. More than 2 million wildebeests make their safari northwards from Tanzania's Serengeti National Park to eat the lowest fresh green grass of the Mara - the higher part being already eaten by zebras who arrived a few weeks before the gnus. Wildebeests usually cross the Mara and Talek rivers twice late August, to go North to the Olorukoti plain and back South to the Serengeti.
See pictures of gnus only - See pictures of zebras only
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 BALLOON SAFARI/NIGHT SAFARI :  Most lodges in the Mara can organize balloon safaris. Done very early in the morning and most of the time accompanied by a bush-breakfast with champagne, the average cost of the expedition is 385 USD. The best period to fly is July-August, that is during the gnus migration. If you are planning to take pictures, you may need a pretty good lens as balloons fly at high altitude. Some lodges located around the park can also organize night safaris. Much more cheaper than the balloon flight, night safaris can be an alternative to experience the african wilderness. Most animals are very active during the night.

.  PICTURES GALLERY - DIAPORAMA.        See the picture's list for mara       SEARCH: in
Big game (22 pic.)
Buffalo (1) - Elephant (1) - Giraffe (2)
Hippopotamus (1) - Leopard (7) - Lion (8)
Rhino (0) - Cheetah (2)
Landscape (7 pic.)
Mara plains (3) - Mara trees (3)
Talek river (2)
Other pictures (25 pic.)
Zebra (3) - Hyena (0) - Gnu (7) - Thomson's gazelle (2)
Grant's gazelle (2) - Topi (1) - Crocodile (1) - Birds (3)
Impala (1) - Baboon (1) - Coke's hartebeest (1)
Defassa waterbuck (1) - Maasai (2)
maasai mara big game maasai mara landscape maasai mara animals

 PARK FACTS
 Altitude : 1,450 - 2,080 m (4,757 - 6,824 ft)
 Reserve area : 392 km²
 Localisation : Near the city of Narok (District of Narok)
 Distance : 267 km from Nairobi (about 4 hours drive)
 Entrances : the park has 6 entrances (Sekenani, Ollolaimutiek, Sand River, Talek, Musaria and Oloololo gates) and 5 airstrips.
 Historic : Opened November 1974.
 Attractions :
   o Annual wildebeest and zebra migration from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara in June-September.
   o Exceptional gameviewing ("Big Five") : lion, elephant, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, buffalo (but also leopard and cheetah).
   o Big hippopotamus pool at the Mara River.
   o Traditional Maasai Culture.
   o Fabulous views of the plain & Rolling hills/slopes & Oloololo escarpment.

 WILDLIFE/VEGETATION  --> Just click on the name to see snapshots and a fact sheet of the animal...
LIST OF ANIMALS WHICH CAN BE SEEN IN THE PARK
!! Print a checklist for your next safari !!
Antelopes and gazelles (per alphabetic order) :
Antelope (Roan) - Bushbuck - Dik-dik (Kirk's) - Duiker (Blue) - Duiker (Common) - Duiker (Weyn’s) - Eland - Gazelle (Grant’s) - Gazelle (Thomson's) - Gnu (White-bearded) - Hartebeest (Coke's) - Hartebeest (Jackson's) - Impala - Klipspringer - Oribi - Reedbuck (Bohor) - Steinbok - Suni - Topi (Jimela) - Waterbuck (Common) - Waterbuck (Defassa) -
Other ungulates and mammals :
Buffalo (Cape) - Elephant (African Bush) - Giraffe (Maasai) - Hippopotamus - Hog (Giant Forest) - Hyrax (Eastern Tree) - Hyrax (Rock) - Hyrax (Southern Tree) - Pig (Bush) - Rhinoceros (Black) - Warthog (Common) - Zebra (Common) -
Carnivores :
Aardwolf - Cat (African Wild) - Cheetah - Civet (African palm-) - Civet (African) - Dog (Hunting) - Fox (Bat-eared) - Genet (Small-spotted) - Hyena (Spotted) - Hyena (Striped) - Jackal (Black-backed) - Jackal (Common) - Jackal (Side-striped) - Leopard - Lion - Mongoose (Banded) - Mongoose (Dwarf) - Mongoose (Grey) - Mongoose (Marsh) - Mongoose (Slender) - Mongoose (White-tailed) - Otter (Clawless) - Ratel - Serval - Weasel (African striped) - Zorilla -
Primates :
Baboon (Savannah) - Bushbaby (Lesser) - Colobus (Eastern Black-White) - Galago (Large-eared greater) - Galago (Small-eared greater) - Monkey (Blue/Sykes/Diademed) - Monkey (Green Vervet) - Monkey (Patas) -
Others (rabbits, hares, insectivores) :
Aardvak - Pangolin (Temminck’s ground) - Hare (Cape) - Hare (Spring) - Porcupine (Crested) -
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Vegetation :
The main vegetation of the reserve is open grass plains covered by dispersed acacia woodlands and dense thickets of scrub. Luxuriant riverine forests are seen along main rivers. The hilly south-eastern region is mainly composed of dry forest, small acacia woodlands, dense scrubs and broken bushes. The vegetation of the north-western is slightly denser as the area is soaked by the Mara river, and it is composed of dense woodlands, bushlands and one large swampy area. The soil is black-cotton except around the Sand River (south).

 FEES  CLIMATE
Smartcard is NOT needed (National Reserve).

 ENTRANCE FEES/DAY :
New tarif (Sept. 2003)
Adult resident - 500 Kshs
Children resident - 200 Kshs
Adult non resident - 30 US
Children non resident - 10 US


 VEHICLE FEES/DAY :
Less than 6 seat - 250 Kshs
6 to 12 seats - 500 Kshs

 CAMPING SITES & BANDAS/SELF-CATERING (in/around the park)
All campsites are located near the Talek gate and are managed by Maasai living in Talek town. There are also a few very basic bars and garages in the town. I recommend the two first campsites which are managed by Edward the Moran (Maasai warrior who most of time stands near the Talek bridge awaiting new customers). In the safari business since now more than 15 years, Edward speaks good English and knows everything about the reserve and animal's behaviour. If you take him as a guide, you are sure to spot lions, cheetah and leopard before everyone else.

maasai
New Crocodile Campsite :  Managed by Edward, the campsite has the advantage of being the closest to the Talek gate. Rates are 250 Kshs per person/day, 300 Kshs for the firewood, 300 kshs for a watchman per day and night. You can also ask for goat/cow meat for a nyama choma. Hot shower and toilet available.
Do not hesitate to take Edward as a guide :
750 Kshs for the morning (6am-12pm) and 1,500 Kshs for the full day (6am-6pm).
Contact: Edward Nailekae, Crocodile Campsite, P.O. Box 530, Narok. Tel: 254-050-22484
Ilaramata Special Campsite (K.T.17) :  Also managed by Edward, the campsite is close to the back entrance of the Fig Tree Lodge and is really nice. The best place to camp around Talek. Night watchman is advised as the campsite borders the Talek river. Hot shower and toilet available. Rates and services are identical to the New Crocodile Campsite.
Riverside Campsite :  One of the first campsite of the Mara, the Riverside campsite is opposite to the New Crocodile Campsite. The campsite has also a permanent shelter which is very useful during the rain season. Hot shower and toilet available.

 LODGES, TENTED CAMPS & HOTELS (in/around the park) Report broken link - Keep me up-to-date
There is a large choice of lodges and tented camp in and around the game reserve.
IN THE PARK
Mara Sopa Lodge:  Contact - Visit their webpage - Mara Sopa booking form
Sopa Management Ltd - Central reservations. P.O. Box 72360, Nairobi.
Tel: (254 20) 336088 or 220182 or 336724 or 337410 - Fax: (254 20) 223843 / 331876.

"The lodge blends in perfetly with its surrounding hillside landscape. The accent here is on the Masai people and the fabulous wealth of wildlife, birdlife, and natural flora to be found in the Masai Mara."


Sarova Mara Camp Lodge:  Contact - Visit their webpage
Sarova Hotels - Central Reservations. P.O. Box 72493, Nairobi.
Tel: (254 20) 271 3333 - Fax: (254 20) 271 5566.

"The Camp is set in the African bush but the luxurious tents all have permanent roofs, zip-up fronts, electricity and ensuite facilities."


Keekorok Lodge:  Contact - Visit their webpage - Block Hotels booking form
Block Hotels - Block House, Lusaka Road, P.O. Box 40075, Nairobi
Tel: (254-20) 540780 - Fax: (254-20) 545948/543810.

"Keekorok Game Lodge was opened in 1965 and was the first lodge to be built in the Mara. And it is sited in the direct path of the annual migration..."


Mara Simba Lodge:  Contact - Visit their webpage
Mara Simba Lodge. P.O. Box 66601, Nairobi.
Tel: (254 20) 4444401/2 or 4444451/61/71 - Fax: (254 20) 4444403.

"Mara Simba was conceived as the ultimate lodge in the Masai Mara. The emphasis is on exclusivity and comfort, the ambiance is Maasai, the decor incorporating ethnic design elements from the culture of the proud tribe in whose realm the lodge is set...."


Fig Tree Camp:  Contact - Visit their webpage
Mada Hotels Reservations Office - 1st Floor, Oakwood Hotel, Kimathi Str. P.O. Box 40683, Nairobi.
Tel: (254 20) 221439/218321 - Fax: (254 20) 332170.

"Fig Tree Camp is set on the banks of the Talek River and is one of the originals camp of the Maasai Mara. The luxury accomodation and quality services make the Mara safari the highlight of any Kenyan trip...."


Mara Intrepids Club:  Contact - Visit their webpage
Heritage Hotels - P.O. Box 74888, Nairobi. Tel : (254 20) 4442115/4446651 - Fax : (254 20) 4446600/4446533
"Welcome to Mara Intrepids - the most talked about destination in the world's most talked about wilderness. Sitting above a sweeping bend in the Talek River, at the confluence of the Maasai Mara's four game-viewing areas, the camp enjoys one of the most spectacular locations in the entire Mara ecosystem..."


Mara Serena Safari Lodge:  Contact - Visit their webpage - Serena booking form
Serena Hotels - Williamson House, 4th Floor, 4th Ngong Avenue. P.O. Box 48690 - 00100 Nairobi Kenya
Tel : (254-20) 2710511 - Fax : (254-20) 2718100/(254-20) 2718102/(254-20) 2718103

"The Mara Serena Safari Lodge is the ultimate safari destination and is set high on a bush-cloaked hill, embraced by arcing vistas and washed by a sea of richly rolling grasslands..."


Governor's Camp:  Contact - Visit their webpage - Governor's booking form
Governors' Camp Head Office - 1st Floor, Block A, Ngong Racecourse, Ngong Road, P.O.Box 48217 - Nairobi.
Tel: (254 20) 273 4000 - Fax: (254 20) 2734023/2734024

"The setting is magical. So much so that almost a century ago it was reserved, exclusively, for Kenya’s colonial Governors and their royal visitors. Now Governor’s Camp nestles in the forest along the winding banks of the Mara River, it’s waters teeming with hippo and crocodile...."


Little Governor's Camp:  Contact - Visit their webpage - Governor's booking form
Governors' Camp Head Office - 1st Floor, Block A, Ngong Racecourse, Ngong Road, P.O.Box 48217 - Nairobi.
Tel: (254 20) 273 4000 - Fax: (254 20) 2734023/2734024

"The guide Kenya’s Best adds: There is something about this camp that is very friendly, yet private. Guests seem to enjoy mingling with the staff and each other, and because of the smallness of the camp, you really feel special."


AROUND THE PARK
Siana Spring Intrepids:  Contact - Visit their webpage
Heritage Hotels - P.O. Box 74888, Nairobi.
Tel : (254 20) 4442115/4446651 - Fax : (254 20) 4446600/4446533

"Siana Intrepids occupies a lush indigenous forest watered by the largest natural Siana Springs. The camp offers guests unique opportunities for thrilling walking safaris, night drives and fly-camping along the seasonal streams beneath the Ngama Hills..."


Oseur Tented Camp:  Visit their webpage - Oseur booking form
Pax Tours & Travel Ltd - Hughes Bldg 3rd Flr Kenyatta Ave, Nairobi.
Tel: (254 20) 336528

"Oseur Tented Camp nestles in shady riverine forest and is divided into three units of ten tents, each one is designed to be self-contained with its own dining tent, bar and log fire to preserve the feeling of intimacy only possible in a small camp...."


Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp:  Contact - Visit their webpage - Kichwa enquiry form
CC Africa - P.O. BOX 74957, 00200 Nairobi
Tel: (254 20) 3751545 - Fax: (254 20) 3750468

"Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp consists of 40 Hemingway-style safari tents shaded by dense forest canopy. The camp's two thatched rondavels overlook the Sabaringo River, shaded by tall Fig and Ebony Trees...."


Kichwa Tembo Bateleur Camp:  Visit their webpage - Kichwa enquiry form
CC Africa - P.O. BOX 74957, 00200 Nairobi
Tel: (254 20) 3751545 - Fax: (254 20) 3750468

"Kichwa Tembo Bateleur Camp is an exclusive enclave of nine elegant tents. The magnificent appointment of the camp ensures shade from a dense forest canopy and unobstructed views of the game-rich plains..."


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