Kenya Safari Guide to Masai Mara

© Wildebeest plunge across the Mara River in their thousands

The 'Mara' is a land of 'big skies', abundant wildlife, ideal climate, diverse habitats, wildebeest migration and colorful Maasai people.

It is the Africa as you have always dreamed of, with or without the help of movies like 'Out of Africa', (which was filmed right here). The open plains are ruled by Simba - the 'Lion King' - who shares equal standing in strength and power with the tall proud Maasai people.

Masai Mara National Reserve

The Masai Mara is the northern extension of the Serengeti in Tanzania, and although it lies in Kenya, there are no fences to stop animals moving between the two countries. The Reserve belongs to and is managed by the Maasai people.

The Masai Mara is fantastic at any time of year, but comes into its own when the Wildebeest migrate from Tanzania's Serengeti, over the raging Mara River and onto the vast grasslands. You are likely to see hundreds if not thousands of animals during this time and one of the most special ways to witness this event is from a hot air balloon.

You wake before dawn and take off in the half-light just as the sun is rising. This is the time of day when nocturnal animals and hunters are still awake, but so are the ever-vigilant grazers like Impala, Gazelle, Wildebeest and Zebra. After an hour of bliss you land amongst them and proceed with a champagne breakfast right there in the bush. It doesn't get much better than that!

As the day wears on, the golden afternoon light becomes perfect for photography and you can take home superb pictures of Lion, Elephant, Cheetah, Giraffe, Leopards and all the plains game.

You will certainly get to know some Maasai while staying in their Reserve, (which is administered by the Maasai people). They have a peaceful egalitarian society based on the 15-year cycles of life, which are ritually celebrated, and on possession of cattle rather than land. This is in great contrast to western ethos where the work-ethic for material acquisition and property ownership have become most meaningful.

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