Game drives/ Game Viewing
Game drives are most common and popular activities in most of the African national parks and reserves, by definition it’s an adventure of the park through 4×4 open roof safari van or Land Cruiser enjoying the close view of the animals but observing the park regulations.
Game drives are usually done in three swifts those are:
Morning game drive which starts at dawn to catch up with sun risers, observe the African sunrise, this is the most rewarding game drive since you will find all animals very active and fresh looking for food of the day in an open savannah grassland grassing, the cats are also in the ambush looking for the food of the day by hunting. After the sun gets hot all animals go near river banks to quench their thirst and cool themselves while the cats go in hidden quite areas to relax and rest hence hard to see again.
Evening Game drive which usually starts from 4 pm till late at 6:30 pm, on this game drive we get the final catch up of the game while they are out of their hides getting their dinner and sun bathing especially the reptiles. Kobs and other animals that graze in groups will be assembling for their resting.
Night Game drives, this is strictly done under the guide and escort of well trained game rangers and mostly an extra fee is put on it. Its mostly enjoyed by film makers who want to see more of the nocturnal animals in the park, see the cats hunting at night and others.
Maasai Mara is one of the best places destinations not only in Africa but in the world for excellent rewarding game viewing with more than 1000’s of animals to see. In the Migration season which takes place between July and October millions of animals assemble to the reserve as they cross the mara river from Serengeti for new fresh pastures and water. This is the period they come for breeding for the grazers attracting more predators especially the big cats since the prey is much available.
The national Reserve different eco system has attributed to different animal species with the most famous being the big five those are: Lions, Leopards, Buffalos, Elephants and Rhinos. Other animals are the Oribis, Hyenas, Giraffes, Gazelles, Hippos, Hartebeest, Zebras, Antelope, Crocodiles and many more.
Maasai mara can be accessible throughout the year with the most rewarding time in during green season when millions of animals both migratory and permanent residents are present at the reserve.
Gifted by nature, the reserve has more to explore during your stay around Maasai Mara and this can be done through the use of safari land cruisers or even walking. The reserve is being monitored and care taken by local community hence giving much opportunity to guests to have leisure walks both inside the park and around the local community.
This is done by the help of the game ranger equipped with a gun using trails that are less used by predators enjoying close view of animals like Elephants, Giraffes, Antelope, Buffalos and other grazers around the park. This activity is much enjoyable and makes you active during the trip as you are involved in the activity, researchers mostly prefer this so that they can learn more and more about the different vegetation zoning of the reserve, behaviors of the animals, relationship between the locals and the park and others.
Walking safaris are one of the easy but most rewarding ways of experiencing Maasai Mara, walking on foot with locals putting on local sandals make out of car tires sharing a lot of excitements as you explore the best of the reserve looking for wildlife. You can reach as far as the Mara River witnessing the migration if you’re in the right season visit.
One of the incredible moments in Maasai Mara is seeing the best Ecosystem of Maasai mara while floating on air with an Eagle eye. There three safari companies that operate the Hot air balloon safaris in Maasai mara one is Governors Camp, The Hot Air balloon which is the oldest with 100% record on safety and the Sky ship company.
The Hot air Balloon safaris is once in lifetime experience one can never forget, its starting sound and shakes can scare and at most guests are advised to sit down cover their eyes as the balloon starts lifting the basket on air slowly with high heart bits as you internally feel the motions when its leaving the grounds as your body feels crazy yet you have no control over it.
The safari starts early in the morning with a wakeup call for light breakfast and be driven to the starting point where you will meet the pilot for briefing then enter to the Balloon basket and then kick off as we raise higher approaching the skys the sun will also be rising, our floating will take us between 1 o 2 hours depending on the weather of the day as we enjoy the birds view of the undulating beautiful scenery of the great rift valley, observing closely the big cats especially if they are on a hunt we follow them as we join them to hunt!!
Our happiness will be beyond imaginations flying together with birds of the Maasai Mara exploring all deep corners of the reserve at tree top heights or below which gives clear panorama view an ideal angle for good photographic opportunities at an aerial point.
Upon landing a toast will be done with a glass of wine at the bush, heavy breakfast and finally certificates of success will be issued to all the crew on board. Be picked up by our driver guide who will add more game drives on ground to see more animals on another angle before we head back to our lodge for refreshments and lunch.
Maasai Mara is termed as the birding paradise with over 450 bird species out of which more than 45 species of birds of prey. The reserve hosts the largest bird on planet earth that is the Ostrich also commonly known as “the Maasai Ostrich”. This bird life is harbored by a great advantage of different ecosystem that forms the reserve like open savannah, river banks, rocky sides and the Great Rift Valley escarpments.
Birders enjoy the Maasai birds which come in all colors and sizes with a key Kenya’s Savannah bird species easily seen in the reserve. Maasai mar ahs a record of raptors with over 45 species available in the open savannah of the park, this gives an added advantage to birders to do birding throughout the year from Maasai Mara.
Maasai mara has the greatest record of the highest number of bird species in Africa more than even countries; it’s through Maasai Mara that Kenya got an award after breaking the birding record as the only country in the world one can see 342 bird species within 24 hours catensy of Maasai Mara national reserve.
Mara hosts a lot of migratory birds annually between October and Feb the reserve receives more Palearctic migrants , swallows, tens, waders and others while around June to July Mara river swamp is fully occupied by weaver birds and bishops as they come for breeding.
Other most popular bird species are Rosy-throated long and magpie Shrike, Ostrich, Long tailed Cormorant, Little Bittern, Cattle Egret, Rufous-billied Heron, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Hamerkop, Marabou stork, Yellow-billed stork, Hadeda Ibis, Sacred Ibis, Ruppels Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, African Fish Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Kori bustard, Secretary bird, Sooty chat, Usambiro barbet the list is very long.
The wide diversified range of habitats supports a great diversity of birds in Maasai Mara making your birding holiday more wonderful and experiential.
One of the most unique part of Maasai Mara national reserve with the rest of the parks and reserves is that its managed by the local community, the Masaai people dominate the reserve and leave together with the wildlife amicably and this has benefited not only the locals but also the guests who have a wide range of activities to do especially on learning about new people and their culture.
The Masaai culture is one of the greatest cultures one can feel in Africa with their own life styles, the pastoralists who rare more animals in mobile way have unique culture which cannot be seen anywhere in the world. This people have leaved near and around the reserve for more than one hundred years now with unchangeable traditions, norms and customs even if the guests from all corners of modern world frequently move with them they have stickled on their traditions.
The Maasai community has around 50 traditional houses that surrounds the large crawls of cattle compacted with all traditions of the true Masaai life style. They have more community projects that helps them to benefit from tourism and making them leave in good sustainable life with clean environment.
Cultural safaris or community visit to the masaai community forms one of the most active and lively activity one should not miss while at Maasai Mara from their dancing stanzas of Jumping up and down to the iconic way of milking their indigenous cows, how to get fresh blood from n animal, cooking, making their local houses with mud and many more active activities.
Community participation is one belief we have for sustainable tourism in Africa and the masaai people always win their awards on this let us support sustainable tourism through village or community tours.
Maasai mara is a few of those reserves and parks in Africa where horse riding is done inside the park for the game drive, this was mostly used by long ago explorers since their were no cars but today even if their safari vans and land cruisers most guests prefer to use horse rides during their game drives and its more popular in Maasai Mara.
It gives you an open way of exploring the best of the landscape passing through other animals with an animal no off truck only enjoying the fresh breeze of nature. During the migration the experience is beyond as you’re escorted by well trained game ranger one enjoys more as you go close and close to the animals even touching on their backs.
Seeing the Wildebeest Migration
Going to Africa!! many ask what to see how to reach and when to go? Africa is one of the best continents to go if one wants to enjoy real wildlife safari, its not expensive as many have anticipated but much affordable to all classes of guests. Maasai mara cannot be mentioned and completed without the migration of the wildebeest which is an annually event that takes place between Serengeti of Tanzania and Maasai Mara national Reserve of Kenya.
These wonderful moments of excitements are always much memorable if one sees by his or her self than reading or looking at the documentaries, the act starts between July and October and during that time millions of animals cross to Maasai mara from Serengeti for breeding purposes and looking for green fresh pastures then after they migrate back hence the action is twice every year but within that range of July and October sometimes early November depending on the rains since they follow the rainy season patterns
During this time you need to book your trip very early in order to secure nearby lodge which is good around the area so that you will have enough time to enjoy the world cup of nature which is played by millions of wildebeest and 1000’s of zebras versing few but large crocodiles and the lions along the mara River. The score is always not high since all the players are experienced mostly its 1 or 2 to zero depending on the lack of the season.
The action invites wide range of predators not only around the river but the whole Maasai mara as they come to welcome their visitors as well as neighbors to the home land of Maasai Mara your role is to come early and leave late in the evening as you come with everything to keep you lively for the day.