Travel: 7 reasons why you need to visit the Maasai Mara

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Lions in the Maasai Mara. Image from http://www.globaldestinations.co.ke/destination-masai-mara/

One of the best if not the most widely talked about attractions in Kenya is the Maasai Mara. This is probably because in one location you are able to see the heart of Africa. Beauty, wildlife, adventure, exotic aura, all of that and more in one single location. For one who appreciates the splendour of the outdoors it is a little piece of paradise.

Lions in the Maasai Mara. Image from http://www.globaldestinations.co.ke/destination-masai-mara/
Lions in the Maasai Mara. Image from http://www.globaldestinations.co.ke/destination-masai-mara/

As an article by Vision Adventure Safaris shares the Maasai Mara is home to an excellent year-round concentration of game and is renowned for its annual visit by the two million animals that make up the Great Migration. Covering an impressive 1 115 km² (430 square miles), the Maasai Mara is a land of breathtaking vistas, abundant wildlife and endless plains.

The Maasai Mara is globally regarded as the jewel of Kenya’s wildlife viewing and is one of the most popular tourism destinations in the world. The reserve is located in the Great Rift Valley in primarily open grassland. Wildlife tends to be most concentrated on the reserve’s western escarpment. The eastern end is closest to Nairobi and hence easier to access by tourists.

The Maasai Mara National Reserve is the ‘Seventh Wonder of the World’ due to the annual migration of over a 1.3 million wildebeest from the Serengeti plains to the Mara.

The sheer spectacle of this event draws visitors keen to witness one of the planet’s largest and most fascinating natural cycles to Kenya each year and it is this remarkable event that saw the Mara ranked as one of the new Severn Wonders. It is also globally famous for its exceptional population of lions, leopards and cheetahs

Still wondering why you should visit?

A few things you would get to experience are

• The Great Migration – One of nature’s biggest wildlife spectacles is the wildebeest migration – watch in awe as the animals cross the Mara River for the Maasai Mara (Jul – Oct).

Hot Air Ballooning! You can glide over the Maasai Mara in a Hot Air Balloon followed by an indulgent champagne breakfast celebration. How incredible would that be? A movie scene playing out in real life to you!

Bird watching. View the patterns and colors of the soaring creatures above. The Mara is home to over 450 bird species.

See in plenty the Big Five! Usually it is hard to spot any one of the Big Five creatures by itself let alone all majestic creatures at the same place. Maasai Mara is a wildlife haven, with the Big Five regularly spotted on game drives.

Breath-taking views of the open plains. Words can’t even describe the beauty you will encounter and pictures won’t do it justice.

The Maasai Mara Ecosystem has one of the highest lion densities in world. You can be within feet, walking distance and view them, not in a cage but in their natural habitat.

• See Maasai herdsmen graze their cattle side by side with predators and prey. Somehow there is a spirit of unity the balances the relationships out there. The men are not even fazed by the daily big cats that pass them by. Wouldn’t that be so intriguing to watch?

So how do you get to experience all these attractions?

Game Drives. If you have flown straight to the Maasai Mara Reserve then your safari package will usually include several daily game drives. If you’ve rented your own vehicle then it is recommended you find a map of the reserve or take an askari with you.

Walking Safaris. If you enjoy a little adventure try a walking safari with a Maasai guide. The best ones are outside the reserve boundaries in the Conservancies.

Cultural Tours with the Maasai. Visiting a traditional Maasai village is frequently included in a safari package to the Maasai Mara. While not really an experience you may learn something about the Maasai. You can also take some excellent cultural tours to learn more about the Maasai.

Hot Air Ballooning I mentioned earlier but am repeating because is a popular pass-time that provides an expensive but unique experience. Every lodge and camp will be able to set up a flight for you. The balloons usually fly at dawn and last about an hour. Upon landing most balloon companies offer a champagne breakfast.

For more ideas on the above check out And Beyond.com and Go Africa.com

Check out fantastic places to visit in Kenya for some other great places to visit in Kenya.

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