Dreamy Masai Mara
In the Masai language, Mara means ‘spotted’ because of numerous bushy trees found in the region that are scattered in an arbitrary fashion. Masai Mara is surrounded by Serengeti in the south, Masai pastoral ranches in the north, east and west, and Siria Escarpment in the west. This destination is 270 km from Nairobi, taking approximately 5 to 6 hours on the road and 40 minutes by flight. For Tourists who wish as much as anything to save time, there are numerous airfields which minister to the camps and lodges inside the reserve: Musiara Airstrip, Ngerende Airport, Ol Kiombo, Mara Serena Airstrip and Angama Mara Airstrip. The reliable airlines that serve these airstrips are Safarilink and Airkenya. There are six entrance gates into Masai Mara Reserve namely: Oloolo gate, Oloolaimutia gate, Musiara gate, Talek gate, Sand River gate and Sekenani gate. However, because of the close border between Kenya and Tanzania having been closed to tourists, Sand River gate is rarely used, the majority of tourists using the Isebania border instead.
This magnificent location, the Greater Mara Ecosystem, circumscribes areas called the Mara National Reserve, the Mara Triangle along with a number of other Masai conservancies which include Lemek, Mara North, Kerinkani, Kimintet, Maji Moto, Koiyaki, Oirowua, Kerinkani and Olare Ork Conservancy. The Mara Triangle is separated from the rest of the Mara by the Mara River, which is where the yearly migrating wildebeests cross. The three major rivers draining this unique reserve is the Sand River, Talek River and the aforementioned Mara River. One of the prime allurements in Masai Mara is Ol Kinyei Conservancy situated in the center of the reserve. It’s the biggest conservancy having a myriad of attractions. The big five are easily seen in this reserve (lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant) along with other animals and birds like hippos, crocodile, hyena, cheetah, jackal, serval, bat-eared fox, antelope, giraffe, raptor, vulture, secretary bird, ostrich, eagle, lilac-breasted roller (the national bird of Kenya), among others.
The most interesting and major activities carried out in this reserve are: Game drives, nature walks, hot air ballooning, photographic safaris and cultural experiences. Hot air balloon safari is undoubtedly the most exhilarating experience you can have out of the rest which are fairly good as well. This safari takes off at the break of dawn lasting for about an hour and ending with a relaxed champagne breakfast after landing. Another ubiquitous activity in this reserve is a visit to the traditional Masai village which falls under cultural experiences. Tourists get to witness an enthralling appreciation of the unique way of life of the indigenous community. There are also bush meals and sundowners as a few of the other unique activities to take part in as a tourist in this area.
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