The Masai Mara is well known for the annual wildebeest migration and its river crossing action, between August and early December.
One of Kenya’s undisputed natural highlights is the Masai Mara National Reserve, which sprawls across more than 1500 square kilometres of the country’s southwest. The park protects a phenomenal array of game, including charismatic species such as elephant, lion, leopard and buffalo, as well as crocodile and hippopotamus in the Mara River. The birdlife is no less impressive, with over 450 resident bird species. However, the true highlight here is the Great Migration, recognised as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. To survive the dry months of July to September, some 1.7 million wildebeest, migrate from the parched plains of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Along with much smaller numbers of antelope buffalo and zebra, they move to the more forgiving grasslands of the Masai Mara. In their wake come predators such as lion, hyena and cheetah, for whom these giant herds are an easy source of prey.
The Masai Mara together with Tanzania’s Serengeti form Africa’s most famous wildlife park, the Masai Mara National Reserve. The image of acacia trees dotting endless grass plains epitomises Africa for many, then add a Maasai warrior and some cattle to the picture and the conversation need go no further. The undeniable highlight of the Masai Mara National Reserve is undoubtedly the annual wildebeest migration traversing the vast plains of the Serengeti and the Masai Mara. It is known as the largest mass movement of land mammals on the planet – with more than a million animals following the rains. Large prides of lions, elephants, giraffes, gazelles and eland can also be spotted in the reserve. Aside from horse riding safaris and traditional vehicle safaris, hot-air ballooning over the Mara plains has become almost essential.
Sandwiched between the Tsavo West National Park and Amboseli National Park, the Chyulu Hills National Park protects an important water catchment area. This unique habitat features vast grass plains, forested rolling hills and rugged volcanic cones and craters set against the beautiful backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro. Visitors can look for to a wide selection of exciting activities including camping, mountain climbing, horse riding, and excellent bird watching. Commonly spotted wildlife include: elephant, bushbuck, eland, leopard, bush pig, reedbuck, buffalo and giraffe. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the longest lava tube in the world.
Sandwiched between Mount Kenya and the northern deserts, Laikipia is where Kenya’s wild and semi-arid northern frontier country begins. The region is made up of privately owned and community ranches centred around the Laikipia National Reserve. Known as one of Kenya’s best safari areas, the high plains of Laikipia feature vast open stretches of African savanna scattered with abundant game including: Grevy’s zebras, black rhino, lion, leopard, wild dogs, buffalo and thousands of elephants. Visitors can enjoy a luxury safari experience at a private lodge or stay in the worthwhile community-run lodges which support the local Samburu and Ilaikipiak and Mokogodo Maasai communities.
The Olare Motorogi Conservancy is an 85 square kilometre expanse of prime private wilderness in southwest Kenya which forms part of the Maasai Mara-Serengeti ecosystem and wildlife dispersal zone. The conservancy lies immediately to the northwest of the main Maasai Mara Reserve. Tourism is limited to a maximum of 94 beds which maximizes the client wilderness experience and minimizes the environmental impact of tourism. Open hills provide a habitat for a diverse range of grazers, including giraffes, zebras, hartebeests, and warthogs. These herds attract large numbers of predators, including lions, cheetahs, hyenas, and jackals. In between the hills run a number of small seasonal streams, fringed by stretches of forest which are home to a broader range of species including baboons, elephants, buffaloes, hippos, and leopards.