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What to do in Maasai Mara
What to do in Maasai Mara

Wildlife Safari

The Maasai Mara Game Reserve is widely considered to be Africa’s greatest wildlife reserve. The prime interest for most visitors to this area, obviously, is to see wildlife. The sheer volume and variety of the Mara will certainly not disappoint.

If visiting the Mara from July through October, visitors should take the opportunity to witness one of the world’s greatest natural spectacles, the Great Wildebeest Migration from the Serengeti.

Each year the promise of rain and fresh life giving grass in the north brings more than 1.3 million Wildebeest together into a single massive herd.

On the southern plains of the Mara the herds make a spectacular entrance in a massive, surging column of life that makes a breathtaking spectacle.

One of the best vantage points is on the banks of the Mara River, to see the herds making their mass crossings through the wild, crocodile infested waters. The herds of the Mara attract plenty of predators.

This is the best place in all of Kenya to see Lions. Whether on the hunt or at rest in family groups, Lions are a very common sight throughout the reserve.

Cheetah are also often seen here, as are Hyena and smaller predators such as Jackals.

A safari through the Mara lets the visitor experience several different habitats in a single day. On the wide open grasslands you can travel through huge herds of Zebra, Giraffe, Gazelle, and Topi.

The attendant predators are a continual presence among the herds. Around the waters of the Musiara Swamp elephants can be found seeking refuge from the heat.

Travelling along the banks of the Mara and Talek there are excellent river views of Hippos and Crocodiles, while the riverine forests abound with Birdlife and Monkeys.

The best time to see game in the Mara is early morning and late afternoon. In the midday heat, most animals generally retreat to the cool of thick undergrowth and become invisible. Morning and afternoon game drives also allow you to witness the unforgettable African dawn and sunsets.

The most common means of Game viewing here is in customized vehicles. These vehicles usually have open roofs or sides and are ideal for photography. There are a series of maintained roads throughout the reserve. Some safari companies offer all day game drives, stopping for a riverside picnic in the midday heat.

Other lodges and camps arrange escorted walks through the bush. This is an ideal way to explore this wilderness, and experience the wildlife at ground level. Sometimes specialized hides and viewing platforms are established in the grounds of lodges or camps.

For a truly unique perspective on this spectacular wilderness, dawn Balloon safaris, carried out daily from several lodges, can be booked through most Safari companies. This incredible once in a lifetime experience offers the visitor a fantastic view of the great plains of the Mara, and the chance to drift unobtrusively over the great herds below.

While the massive herds and predators are the Mara’s great attraction, there is also a wealth of birdlife, reptiles, primates and small mammals to be seen. Taking your time to experience the Mara as a whole will give you a much better appreciation of the diversity and intricacies of this fascinating eco-system.

If you have a particular wildlife or birding interest, look for a Safari operator who can offer you specialized guiding and services to suit your needs.

Trekking (Foot Safari)

Walking in the Reserve itself is strictly controlled and must be arranged through your lodge, camp or Safari operator. Outside the Reserve however, there are many options for hiking and walking, especially in the attractive Loita Hills. These Hills are home to many Maasai and also attract a range of wildlife. They cover 78 square miles of forested valleys and highland plains, up to 6560 feet.

The best way to explore these hills is with a local Maasai guide, who will not only guide you safely, but also introduce you to the important Maasai beliefs and legends about this area.

A privately escorted foot safari is the best way to really experience the African bush at its best. Walking through the wilds let you explore the wild at its most pure and visceral. as you track big game, you become aware of every sight and sound, the smell of the earth and the touch of the wind. An expert tracker will teach you the signs to look for, tracks- the individual tracks and spoor, and show you how to use the wind to disguise your scent, and to move silently through thick cover and get up close and personal with the game.

When you are at close range your senses are heightened, and you become increasingly aware of the animal you are watching, how it moves and feeds, how it reacts to its environment. If the animal reacts to your presence, it can be a real adrenaline rush.

There are few experiences as exhilarating as a close encounter with an elephant, lion or buffalo. This is an experience that will make you feel more alive. You will, of course, want to stay alive so make sure that any foot safari is undertaken by a fully trained and responsible guide.

Several Safari operators organize treks into the Loita Hills, and further a field into the Nguruman escarpment.

Horse Riding (Horseback Safari)

Horseback Safaris are now being offered in areas outside the main reserve. These safaris are a unique way of viewing game that allows you to move at ease through herds of plains game.The safaris cover a great deal of country and are best suited for experienced riders.


Special fishing expeditions to Lake Victoria can be arranged from the Mara. These include return flights from the Mara to Rusinga Island, a fishing resort that provides boats, tackle and fishing guides. Guests can either spend the night in the well-appointed lodge or return to the Mara the same day.

Balloon Safaris

For a truly unique perspective on this spectacular wilderness, dawn Balloon safaris, carried out daily from several lodges, can be booked through most Safari companies. This incredible once in a lifetime experience offers the visitor a fantastic view of the great plains of the Mara, and the chance to drift unobtrusively over the great herds below.

Bird Watching

The Mara is equally popular with birders, and specialist birding safaris. Of the over 500 recorded species, notables include the Corncrake, Grey crested Helmet Shrike, Lesser Kestrel, Madagascar Squacco Heron, Saddle Billed Stork, Secretary Bird, Ostrich, White headed Vulture among more common species, Lilac Breasted Roller, Yellow billed Ox pecker among the large herds, and Martial and Crowned Eagles.


For those with an interest in traditional medicine, some of the camps, lodges and private ranches in and around the Mara can arrange for guests to learn more about the herbal medicines and rites of the Maasai.

Throughout most of Kenya's traditional cultures, herbalism has played a major role. Traditional healers used blends and preparations of native herbs, leaves, and particularly barks to treat and prevent a wide range of ailments and disease. This practice continues today, with herbal practitioners known as Daktari wa Miti Shamba offering traditional remedies.

As the practice fades, studies have shown that in many cases these traditional blends were indeed beneficial and potentially curative. One of the largest problems, however, is that these remedies and recipes were handed down orally from generation to generation, with no written or permanent record. So as the practice fades and these traditions are abandoned so is a treasure trove of medicinal practices that may hold great scientific value.

Efforts are now being made to research and record these practices before it is too late. Visitors can arrange to learn more and visit with traditional healers and herbalists.Spending time among the traditional people of this region is the best way to gain an insight into local beliefs and customs.


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Porini Lion Camp is located in the exclusive 33,000 acres Olare Motorogi Conservancy which borders the Masai Mara Game Reserve and is home to an abundance of animals including the Big Cats for which the Mara is famous.