highlights and main attractions of the masai mara and conservancies

A world-renowned place of adventure and exploration, this is a worldwide stage where the brutal and unfettered reality of nature is played out in the greatest wildlife show on earth. Its fertile rolling grasslands, bisected by riverine forests, attract countless game, enticing wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle, which ensures that predators are never too far away and the sense of raw energy on the savannah is palpable. Despite some areas being notoriously over-visited, it is nonetheless possible to experience sensational safaris and incredible wildlife sightings from the camps we have selected.  

Known as Africa’s greatest wildlife reserve, the reputation of the Masai Mara goes way beyond being simply a wildlife park. It is classic Africa.

A New Twist on a Classic

Walking Safaris in the Masai Mara

Game drives are a mainstay of African safaris, and for good reason - the maneuverability of safari jeeps allows guests to see a variety of animals on a single excursion, travelling between different wildlife hotspots throughout your chosen reserve. The Masai Mara, with its vast tracts of land and healthy populations of lions, hippos, zebra, elephants and gazelles - to name just a few species - is no exception. However, seeing the Masai Mara on foot allows for a completely different safari experience.

Few climb out of their vehicle when visiting this famous reserve, but walking through the bush allows to fully take stock of the wonders present in this ecosystem. You'll be able to follow game trails deeper into the pristine wilderness here, walking in the footprints of elephants and drinking in the scenery and atmosphere of the Masai Mara, your ears filled not with the dull hum of a car engine but with birdsong, buzzing insects and the symphony of the savannah all around you. Walking safaris in the Masai Mara are a fantastic option for travellers wishing to truly immerse themselves in the natural world.

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where is the masai mara?

masai mara

The Masai Mara forms the northern section of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem and different areas offer contrasting safari possibilities. The Masai Mara National Reserve is official national parkland and covers 1,800 square kilometres, its grassland plains offer great opportunities to witness the phenomenal annual migration of wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle between July and October, as well as prides of lion, hippos, elephants, hyena and countless other wildlife, including Big Five game. The range of camps in the reserve includes the rustic Rekero Camp and renowned Governors Camp, ideally situated for the annual migration, the luxurious Il Moran and stylish Naibor Camp, all of which offer thrilling game drives and activities.

75% of Kenya’s land sits outside of National Park, and within the Mara many privately owned and run conservancies have been established to offer more tightly regulated and low-impact tourism, thereby supporting the local Maasai communities. 

Mara North Conservancy

Mara North is situated along the Mara River towards the north of the main reserve in the south-western corner of Kenya, this conservancy covers 30,000 hectares and was established in 2009 as a non-profit organisation to help provide a sustainable tourism framework for the local communities. With lower density of tourism vehicles, you will enjoy a more exclusive and authentic safari, using as a base the low-key Elephant Pepper camp, very private Mara House, classical Karen Blixen camp, or tented Kicheche Mara Camp.

Naboisho Conservancy

Naboisho meaning ‘come together’ in Maa dialect, this conservancy was formed in 2010 and is situated immediately north and east of the Masai Mara National Reserve, covering just over 20,000 hectares through which the annual wildebeest and zebra migration passes. Owned by the local Maasai, the land is protected and managed to allow low numbers of tourists whilst allowing the wildlife and local Maasai culture to thrive. The exclusive and spectacular Naibosho Camp and Kicheche Naibosho Camp will host your expert-led explorations to see a wide range of wildlife in the area. 

Olare Orok Conservancy

Exclusive and expensive, Olare Orok is a groundbreaking conservancy bordering the reserve to the north-west. In this partnership, local Maasai landowners have cleared their homes and cattle to provide a sanctuary for the wildlife of the area. The pristine area is excellent for grazing, resulting in prolific game viewing and predatory action, as well as elephants and even rhino, in unspoiled territory. Start your adventures from the private cottage of Topi House, unfenced and luxurious Kicheche Bush Camp, intimate Porini Lion Camp or stunning Mara Plains Camp.

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