The Maasai Mara national reserve is one of the most famous reserves globally because of the exceptional wildlife and the annual great wildebeest migration, which is recognized as the 8th wonder of the world. The area of this reserve may be small when compared to other resources across the globe. However, it is home to over 40% of the mammals in Africa. As you explore the vast plains of Maasai Mara, you will see mammals such as elephants, leopards, cheetahs, lions, and other species in their natural environment.
When going on a vacation to the Maasai Mara national reserve, you will have so much fun because the activities you will do in this area are unique and interact with unspoiled nature. The Mara ecosystem has over 30% of the Kenyan wildlife, and therefore your trip to this area is the best thing you can do. The ecosystem in this region is well protected because, according to data from WWF, it is estimated that over 70% of the natural world ecosystem is under stress. Over decades to come, we might lose significant animal species.
Where is Maasai Mara located?
The Maasai Mara national reserve is located in the great rift valley. This is a fault line that stretches from the Red Sea through Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Malawi. There are bluffs and undulating mountains, making it a serene environment where wildlife can thrive. The animals in the area are at liberty to move from one location to another, and these areas are popularly called dispersal areas. There is synergy between the community in the surrounding area and the wildlife from the national reserve. It is critical to note that the Mara is a rich and diverse reserve.
Further reading: Amazing hiking spots in Kenya
The terrain of this game reserve can be described as the plateau, grasslands, dry area in the eastern part with sandy soils and woodlands that support the majority of the wildlife. The Mara is famous because of the great wildebeest migration. This phenomenon occurs annually in July through September, and over a million wildebeests migrate from the Mara to Serengeti, where they search for water and food. The same phenomenon also occurs when the Serengeti is experiencing dry spells. The lifecycle of these wildebeests revolves around the Mara and the Serengeti.
Nairobi to Maasai Mara – Best & Easiest Ways to Travel
Nairobi is the capital of Kenya, and it is where many international flights will disembark before going to other hubs in Africa and the rest of the world. The city is a popular tourist destination as it is the only city in Africa with a national park within its environs. There are many places that you can explore in Nairobi. Since the city has developed to be one of the greatest in East Africa, many tourists will land in Nairobi before connecting to their vacation spot in Kenya.
If you are traveling to Maasai Mara, then you will probably have to pass through Nairobi. Once you have descended from the Jomo Kenyatta International airport, you can get to Mara in two ways: road or by air. The distance from Nairobi to the Mara reserve is about 250 kilometers, and this may differ depending on the gate that you have chosen to enter the reserve. If you decide to travel by road, then the drive to the account will take you approximately 6 hours, and if you include stops along the way, it could go up to 7 hours. However, if you choose to take a flight to the Mara, it will take you about one hour to reach one of the airstrips in Maasai Mara.
Getting to Maasai Mara by road from Nairobi
Traveling to Maasai Mara by road is the most popular form of transport to get to this fantastic destination. The road to the reserve is well paved, and you can easily explore the natural environment as you move from the Kenyan capital to the game reserve. It is 250 kilometers to the Sekenani gate, and you have to allow up to 6 hours for the travel. In most cases, the best way to enjoy your drive is to use a cruiser. The cruisers are well equipped with all the safety and comfort features that will make your travel exceptional. Besides, you can explore other parts of the country as you head to the Mara.
The route that you will use is the A104, the highway that will take you from Nairobi through Limuru. Once you reach the Limuru junction, you will join the B3. Alternatively, you can beat the city traffic by choosing the Southern Bypass and connecting to the B3 in Kikuyu, thereby reducing your time in traffic. Once you are in the B3, you can then drive through Mahi Mahiu to Suswa before heading to Narok Town. Once you are in the town, you will take the C13 to Olololo or Musiara gate. Alternatively, you can choose the C12, which will take you to the Talek and Sekenani gate.
How are the roads?
As any tourist would want to know, the roads in Africa can be pretty impassable or just rough. However, the Kenyan roads are reasonably well kept and managed by the local authorities. Traveling from Nairobi to Narok town by road is smooth travel, and you will not find any challenge.
The last part of the C13 is a tarmacked road that features some potholes in certain areas, especially during the rainy season when the rains interfere with the integrity of the soil. This is why you should take a 4X4 cruiser on this trip. This way, you will enjoy the wilderness as you get into the park and explore the pristine nature. The roads heading inside the park give you a chance to get up close and personal with the spirit and wildlife in the area.
Flying to Maasai Mara
Multiple airlines ply the route from Nairobi to the Maasai Mara. You can get a return flight to the reserve, and the journey usually takes about an hour one way. Many of the flights to the Maasai Mara national reserve typically depart from the Wilson airport. The airlines plying the route have incredible safety records, and you can get a ticket from the Wilson airport either from the safari link or Air Kenya. The morning departures usually are at 10 am, and you will arrive at the Mara airstrip at 11 am. You can get a return ticket to leave in the morning and return to Nairobi at 4 pm and arrive at the city at 5 pm.
There are also return flights at 11 am that arrive at Nairobi at noon and a departing flight at 3 pm arriving at 4 pm before returning to the capital at 5 pm. There are multiple airstrips in the Mara national reserve, and there are spread out in different parts of the account where there are camps and lodges.
Essentially, you will not have to go from one place to another once you arrive. The lodges are nearby, and you can book your stay in one of these exquisite camps or lodges. Some of the common airstrips you can choose from include Keekorok airstrip, Serena airstrip, Siana airstrip, Musiara airstrip, and Kichwa Tembo. You are limited to 15 kilograms of luggage.
Which one is the best?
When planning to go on vacation in the Maasai Mara, you can choose the mode of transportation depending on the number of days that you will be spending in the reserve. If you are on a tight budget or want to explore more, then road travel is the best. Here you can spend less yet study more of the beautiful country. However, if you are in a hurry and want to check out different places within a short period, flying is the best choice. Flying to the Mara gives you an amazing aerial view. You should visit the region when the skies are clear. This way, you can see the wildlife below as they graze or migrate from one area to another during the day.
The best way to explore the Mara is to have a private guide who will show you all the areas since they are well versed with the natural environment in this part of the world. When you deal with private firms, you will have more flexibility when it comes to your schedule. Besides, you can combine your Maasai Mara trip with Serengeti if you want to explore both sides of the divide. The flights and roads available can connect to virtually most destinations in Kenya, and you are not limited. You can visit the Mara then move to your next holiday destination in Kenya by clicking seamlessly.
The Maasai Mara is a place to visit, and you should never miss the 8th wonder of the world if you are visiting Kenya on vacation.