Maasai Mara

Famous around the world for its exceptional, abundant wildlife, the Maasai Mara National Reserve has become known as the Seventh Wonder of the World. Not only are all the members of safari’s Big Five found here, but over 100 other mammal species and over 450 bird species live within the reserve.


Overview

The Maasai Mara was designated a National Reserve in 1974 and is under the authority of Narok County Council to whom park fees are paid. The Maasai Mara is part of the greater Serengeti-Mara ecosystem whose area of about 8,000km² is home to the largest terrestrial conglomeration of wildlife in the world, conservatively estimated at over 6 million animals.

The park gates are at Talek, Sekenani, Ololaimutiek, Sand River, Musiara, Oloololo and Mara Bridge. Scheduled flights from destinations in Kenya land at Musiara, Mara North, Mara Serena, Ol Kiombo, Kichwa Tembo, Ngerende, Siana and Keekorok. There are also a number of private airstrips where charter flights can land. The Mara River, the Talak River and the Sand River, with their various tributaries, springs and hippo pools, traverse the region.

Surrounding the reserve are conservancies and group ranches that provide a buffer zone for the reserve’s wildlife. The major conservancies are Olare Orok, Ol Kinyei, Mara North, Maji Moto Olarro, Naboisho and Ol Chorro Oirouwa; privately managed, they collect their own park fees and initiate their own conservation and community development projects. The Mara Triangle, to the west of the reserve, is managed by the Mara Conservancy, a private, non-profit organisation.

The Maasai Mara takes its name from the Maasai people, a nomadic, Nilotic people famed for their prowess as warriors. Cattle represent wealth to the Maasai, and are used not only for food but also for dowries, fines and sacrifices. During their lives, the Maasai pass through a series of rites of passage, ceremonies and celebrations that take them from initiation through the levels of warriors to the highly respected position of elder.

Mara means mottled in the language of the Maasai, a reference to the savannah plains speckled with riverine forests, mountain ridges and natural springs. It is this naturally varied ecosystem, dotted with distinctive ecotones, that provides the diversity of food types needed to support the proliferation of species of mammals, birds, reptiles, plants and insects found here.

The Maasai Mara is perhaps best known for Africa’s most spectacular wildlife event, the Great Migration. Hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, together with zebra, Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelle, impala, eland, topi and nomadic carnivores, flood north into the Mara in June, July and August, then sweep back into the Serengeti in September and October. The frenzied attacks of lions on the plains and of crocodiles in the rivers are gifts to photographers.

Game drives are the most popular activity in the reserve. Balloon safaris can be arranged at specific sites; most camps and lodges will assist with booking these. Game walks are not permitted in the reserve, but are on offer in the surrounding conservancies and group ranches. It is also possible to visit Maasai villages outside the reserve, to gain an insight into the culture and traditions of the local people.


Listings In The Maasai Mara Region

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An authentic mobile camp, Porini Bush Camp is a seasonal camp that operates only during the months that the famous wildebeest migration passes through Kenya. The camp is located in Ol Kinyei Conservancy on the border of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, an award-winning conservancy of 18,700 acres that is home ...

Located in a secluded valley in the north of Mara North Conservancy, Mara House overlooks the Ol Chorro waterhole. The house is a fully staffed private house from which guests can watch an array of wildlife and birdlife at close range. There are 3 en-suite bedrooms. The house also has an ...

Located in a secluded valley in the north of Mara North Conservancy, Acacia House overlooks Ol Chorro waterhole. The house is a fully staffed private house from which guests can watch an array of wildlife and birdlife at close range. There are 2 spacious en-suite bedrooms, and an attic bedroom suitable ...

Set in Mara North Conservancy bordering the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Saruni is a deluxe, design lodge. Based on a close partnership with the local community and built to ecological standards, Saruni entwines old traditions of classic safaris with modern technology. The 6 uniquely styled cottages are furnished with colonial antiques, ...

Named after the Dorobo people of this area, Basecamp Dorobo Bush Camp is an eco-friendly camp. Basecamp Dorobo Bush Camp is owned and managed by Basecamp, a luxury eco-friendly camp near Talek Gate. Basecamp Foundation supports and cooperates with local communities, as well as developing and promoting Basecamp’s sustainable ...

Established in 2011, Naboisho Camp is a small and exclusive tented camp. The camp is situated in Naboisho Conservancy, a community-driven initiative created in 2010. The conservancy is a wildlife conservation and tourism area that supports the livelihoods of the surrounding communities; the camp provides access to this fresh region with plentiful ...

Kicheche Valley Camp is a founding tourist partner in Naboisho Conservancy which was established in 2010. Naboisho, meaning coming together in the language of the Maasai, is a community-driven initiative. The conservancy, dedicated to empowering local communities, supporting a healthy ecosystem and promoting wildlife conservation, has opened up a striking new ...

Mara Plains Camp is in Olare Orok Conservancy, a new 20,000-acre initiative created with the aim of developing a sustainable future for both local Maasai and the wildlife. Established in 2008, the camp has been designed to have as little impact as possible on the environment while still providing a luxury ...

Topi House is a private house located between the the Olare Orok Conservancy and the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The house, set amongst acacia trees, has views of the conservancy and the reserve. The area has rolling hills with attractive viewpoints, which make lovely spots for bush picnics and sundowners. ...

Named for the big cats for which the Mara is famed, Porini Lion Camp is ideally positioned to see these and other big game. The camp is situated on the banks of the Ntiakntiak River in the Olare Orok Conservancy, an exclusive 20,000-acre conservancy that borders the Maasai Mara National ...

A classic tented camp, Kicheche Bush Camp offers a luxury experience with an intimate atmosphere. The camp is located in the Olare Orok Conservancy bordering the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Through strict limit on bed numbers, the Olare Orok Conservancy offers quality game viewing without crowds. There are 6 en-suite tents, ...

The water of the Mara River laps on all sides of Ngerende Island Lodge, linked by a causeway to the riverbank. Set in the Ol Chorro Conservancy, the lodge has access to savannah plains as well as the wooded banks of the Mara River. There are 7 en-suite canvas and wood ...

Originally built as the Roberts’ home while they were carrying out conservation work in the greater Maasai Mara region, Richard’s Camp is an exclusive tented camp. A small forest fringes the camp, ensuring that elephant and plains game are regular visitors to the camp’s perimeter, and birdlife is ...

In the picturesque Acacia Valley, Kicheche Mara Camp looks out on a prime wildlife viewing area of Mara North Conservancy. The tents look out over the Olare Orok stream and the western escarpment of the valley. There are 8 en-suite tents, which can be double or twin as required. Triple tents ...

Nestled in a curve of the Mara River, Exploreans Mara Rianta Camp overlooks the hippos that wallow in the water. The camp is a tented camp with a selection of activities. There are 20 en-suite tents, made up of doubles and twins. The tents are built on elevated wooden platforms with ...

Framed by a curve of the Mara River, the Fairmont Mara Safari Club is a tented sanctuary on the edge of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The club opened in 1989 on the site of an old hunting camp that had been converted to photo safari after the hunting ban. It ...

On the slopes of the Ololaimutiek Hills, Masai Mara Sopa Lodge has sweeping views across the eastern edge of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The lodge is designed in the style of the Maasai; its guest rooms and public areas are traditional round buildings with thatched roofs. There are 88 en-suite ...

Elangata Olerai Luxury Camp was established in 2011. The camp is an intimate tented camp just outside the Maasai Mara National Reserve. There are 10 en-suite tents. All tents are designed with African wood in Swahili style. A paved walkway links the tents, 5 of which have 2 double beds and 5 of which have ...

Set in a private concession southeast of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Black Leopard Retreat offers an exclusive game viewing experience. Over 100 species of mammals and over 400 species of birds have been recorded here, many only a short distance from the camp. The camp was previously called Muthaiga Safari Camp, ...

Cottars 1920s Camp is located between the Maasai Mara National Reserve and the Tanzania border. The camp is surrounded by forested hills. There are 10 en-suite tents, made up of 6 standard and 4 family tents. All tents have mosquito net, chair, table, cupboard, luggage rack and veranda with a view of the ...

At the convergence of the Sand River and the Keekorok River, Sala’s Camp looks directly into the Serengeti of northern Tanzania. The camp nestles in indigenous forest, and has views of the northern route, which millions of wildebeest take during the annual migration. There are 7 luxury en-suite tents, the ...

Keekorok, meaning motley abundance in the Maasai language, was constructed in 1962 on an 80-acre site in an area of permanent springs and lush grassland. One of the first lodges in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Keekorok is located in the centre of this famous reserve. The lodge has 89 double rooms, 8 ...

Sarova Mara Game Camp is 5 minutes’ drive from Sekenani Gate in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Set in landscaped gardens of exotic trees and indigenous shrubs, the camp is surrounded by a 24hr electric fence. The camp has 53 en-suite standard tents with permanent roof and bathroom and canvas front, 2 family ...

Mara Simba Lodge overlooks a dramatic bend of the Talek River. The lodge’s grounds stretch along the river, and its landscaped gardens are filled with indigenous trees that are home to a variety of birds and butterflies. The lodge was designed to complement its surroundings and is decorated in ...

On the banks of the Talek River, Mara Leisure Camp offers views of the river and the animals that come to it to drink. The camp is located near Talek Gate, just outside the Maasai Mara National Reserve. There are 25 en-suite tents, made up of 17 nyati tents, 6 jumbo tents and 2 ...

Basecamp is a luxury, eco-friendly camp that aims to have negative impact on the environment. Basecamp Foundation supports and cooperates with local communities, as well as developing and promoting Basecamp’s sustainable tourism concept. The camp has 12 en-suite tents, including 1 family tent. The spacious tents are furnished with heavy wooden ...

On a forested curve of the Talek River, Mara Explorer has sweeping views along the riverbanks. This central location in the Maasai Mara National Reserve is rich in wildlife, not only during the annual migration but all year round. The 10 luxury en-suite tents, 7 doubles and 3 twins, look out on the ...

Overlooking the Talek River, and only a short drive from the Mara River, Mara Intrepids is in a prime game viewing area in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The area was used in the 2004 BBC documentary Big Cat Diary. The 30 en-suite tents, on raised platforms, are furnished with 4-poster beds ...

In a riverine forest on the banks of the seasonal Olare Orok River, Mara Bush Camp is tucked discreetly into the heart of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. This eco-friendly camp has no permanent structures, and remains small and simple for private, authentic safaris. It is seasonal, and opens mid-December ...

Rekero nestles in riverine forest on the banks of the Talek River. This seasonal eco-camp is owned and managed by 2 families. The Beaton family came to Kenya in 1889, and was involved in the suppression of the slave trade and the establishment of protected national parks. The Looseyia family lived here ...

Tucked into a grove of riverine woodland on the banks of the Talek River, Naibor is a luxury tented camp in a contemporary style. The camp is strategically placed to view game all year round, and particularly during the wildebeest migration. There are 7 en-suite tents, constructed of pale canvas and ...

At the confluence of the Mara River and the Talek River, Mara Ngenche is an intimate, exclusive tented camp. The camp combines luxury and elegance with true bush experience, and is unfenced to allow the free movement of animals. There are 6 spacious en-suite tents. Each tent is decorated with modern ...

Perched on the saddle of a hill, the Mara Serena Safari Lodge has a spectacular view across the vast plains, forests and rivers of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The lodge has been designed within a circular cluster of brushwood, to mirror a Maasai village or Boma, and all the ...

On the banks of the Mara River in the northwest of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Governors’ Camp looks straight across the plains. This location, where lush riverine forest meets the open plains, attracts a wide variety of game. Created in 1972, the camp has become known for comfort, service and ...

On the banks of the Mara River, Governors’ Il Moran Camp recreates the atmosphere of the original hunting camps. Tucked into a copse of ancient trees, this exclusive camp is home to a wide variety of butterflies and birds. Nightly visits from elephants and other animals are common. The 10 en-suite ...

Kichwa Tembo, meaning head of the elephant in Kiswahili, lies between the Oloololo Escarpment and the Sabaringo River, on a private concession northwest of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The camp is set where riverine forest meets the sweeping plains of the Mara, near where the famous final scene of ...

True to its name, Swahili for mountain, Kilima Camp sits high on the Oloololo Escarpment and has a sweeping view of the plains of the Maasai Mara National Reserve and the Mara River. The camp opened in 2007 and offers an authentic camp experience. The 12 en-suite tents can be either twin ...

Mpata Safari Club is named after the famed Tanzania artist, SG Mpata, and designed by Edward Suzuki, a leading architect in Japan. Set high on Oloololo Escarpment, the club has panoramic views across the Mara plains. There are 23 cottages, made up of 12 deluxe units and 11 suites, all positioned to maximise ...

Olonana is a luxury tented camp on a private stretch of the Mara River at the foot of the impressive Siria Escarpment. The camp has initiated a number of eco projects, and is known for good game viewing as well as for its Sanctuary Spa. There are 14 spacious en-suite tents. ...

On the banks of the Mara River, Mara Enkipai Safari Camp is a traditional safari camp. The camp is family owned and managed, and is committed to sustainable ecotourism. There are 8 en-suite tents. All tents have handcrafted furniture created from local materials, and their bathrooms have safari showers. Electricity is ...

Named after Karen Blixen of Out of Africa fame, Karen Blixen Camp recreates the aura of the 1920s. The camp was voted runner up for Best New Safari Property in Africa by The Good Safari Guide 2008. The 22 luxury en-suite tents are raised on mahogany platforms, and adorned with fresh safari ...

Set in a secluded valley in the Mara North Conservancy, Serian fulfils the meaning of its name: peaceful. This traditional bush camp, overlooking the Mara River and the Oloololo Escarpment, combines luxury with comfort. There are 8 chic en-suite marquees, each decorated in the style of safaris of a bygone era, ...

Ngare Serian is located in the Pusinkariak Conservancy, and has views of the Mara River and the towering Oloololo Escarpment. This intimate camp can be taken on an exclusive basis, and provides a true safari experience. It is accessed by a rope bridge over the river and has access to ...

Royal Mara Safari Lodge sits on the banks of the Mara River in Mara North Conservancy. The lodge blends the appearance of a classic tented camp with the facilities of a lodge. The 8 en-suite tents stand on raised mahogany platforms with private verandas overlooking the river. They are furnished with ...

Named after the Warburgia Ugandensis, commonly known as the Elephant Pepper Tree, this elegant bush camp maintains the atmosphere of the traditional mobile luxury safari. Nestled in a grove of Ebony and Elephant Pepper trees, the camp is situated in Mara North Conservancy. It looks out over the Mara plains ...

Situated in Mara North Conservancy, Offbeat Mara Camp is a small, tented camp on the Olare Orok River. The camp is one of the founding members of Mara North Conservancy, a prime wildlife viewing area bordering the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The camp practises sustainable tourism and is a member ...

Perched on a ridge amongst indigenous euclea and croton bushes, Eagle View gives stunning views over the plains of the Naboisho Conservancy. Eagle View was extensively refurbished in 2013, and is owned and managed by Basecamp, a luxury eco-friendly camp near Talek Gate. Basecamp Foundation cooperates with local communities, sponsors community ...

Mara Porini Camp is the only camp located in the exclusive wildlife conservancy of Ol Kinyei, a beautiful wilderness area of savannah plains, riverine forest and fresh springs. The conservancy belongs to a Maasai community that recently allocated the area a sanctuary for wildlife, and contains a wide variety of ...

Nestling in the contours of an ancient hillside, Olarro is exclusive, intimate and stylish. The lodge is on a large group ranch, formed in order to secure an intrinsic part of the greater Maasai Mara for wildlife habitat. It aims to preserve the environment and wildlife and strengthen the traditional ...

In the unspoiled Naboisho Conservancy, Ol Seki Hemingways Mara is well positioned to see prolific game. There are 6 en-suite tents and 2 suites. The tents are uniquely rounded, and each has 6 opening panels giving panoramic views. Each tent is completely hidden from the others, and furnished in traditional safari style. The ...

Leleshwa Camp is an intimate tented camp situated on the Siana Conservancy on the northeastern edge of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Resting along a stream, overlooking picturesque hills and rolling plains dotted with resident game, Leleshwa Camp is a peaceful haven. The 6 en-suite tents have private verandas with striking ...

Mara Bushtops Camp is perched on a hillside, with spectacular views into the valley. The camp is located in Siana Conservancy, which borders the Maasai Mara National Reserve. There are 12 en-suite tents. The tents have been designed in modern African style, with wooden decks and sunken hot tubs from which ...

Oldarpoi Mara Community Camp is owned and managed by the local Maasai community. It aims to bring transformational development, both socially and economically, to local Maasai communities, turning them into self-reliant and self-sustaining communities through profitable ecotourism activities. The camp is located 4km from Sekenani Gate just outside the Maasai ...

Sentrim Mara is shaded by the cluster of acacia trees that surround it. The camp is located in the Ngama Hills, 3km from Sekenani Gate, in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. There are 44 en-suite tents, made up of singles, doubles, twins and triples. All tents are shaded by thatched roofs, ...

At the source of the Sekenani River, Sekenani Camp stretches along a stream flowing from a natural rock pool. This exotic combination of forest and river, on the edge of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, is home to plentiful game; over 200 species of birds have been recorded within 1km of ...

Entumoto, meaning meeting place in the language of the Maasai, was established in 2010. The camp was founded by Karl von Heland, the grandson of Karen Blixen’s farm manager, and is part owned by the local Maasai community. There are 5 en-suite double tents and 4 family tents. The tents are made ...

In the style of classic safaris, Bateleur Camp blends adventurous game viewing with the ambience of the Kenyan explorers of the ’20s and ’30s. The glamour of vintage Africa is evoked by hardwood floors, polished silver and sparkling crystal overlooking the game-studded plains of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The 18 ...

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