#1 The Roads
You’ve seen the photos of the great wildebeest migration through Masai Mara, and now you’ve decided that you want to see this incredible sight for yourself. Or maybe you are a wildlife enthusiast who is eager to snap your own photos of Africa’s Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, Cape buffalo) that call Masai Mara home. No matter what the draw, Masai Mara has much to offer! You’ve made the decision take a Masai Mara safari to witness in person Africa’s most renowned wildlife reserves, but where do you go from here? You’ve landed in the right place if you are reading this blog series, so you’re off to a good start.
The purpose of this series is to provide information that will better equip you to plan your visit and minimize unwelcome surprises so that you can get the most from your safari to Masai Mara. It’s easy to overlook some essential details when you’ve been bitten by the travel bug and are daydreaming about the thrills of your forthcoming African adventure. So, let’s get practical and cover some of the basic need-to-knows.
Whether you choose to rent a private four wheel drive vehicle, brave the Kenyan public transport, or take a local flight to the Masai Mara, there is one inevitable fact – you will encounter rough roads at some point during your stay (and I’m not just speaking figuratively). While Kenya’s infrastructure continues to improve all of the time, there are still extensive stretches of road that are undeveloped. This is particularly true as you venture outside of the main cities into more remote locations. While many choose to view this is as negative, there is actually a silver lining to this reality.
The undeveloped road systems in places like Masai Mara deter heavy traffic and help to preserve the exclusivity of the experience for those who visit. Or, another way to look at it, only the adventurous spirit dares to brave the bumpy roads – so you can count yourself as one of them! Bottom line, there are bound to be some bumps along the way. Embrace them…and just think about the bragging rights you’ll have when you go back home and tell your stories.
#2 The Migration
If your primary reason for visiting Masai Mara is to witness the wildebeest migration then you are wise indeed. This is a truly amazing phenomenon of nature to witness and worth every bit of effort to see. However, there are a few realities that you should be aware of so that you can approach your safari experience with realistic expectations.
First off, the migration (which happens every year from around the months of July through October) is the peak season for tourists in Masai Mara. That means that there are a lot of folks just like you who are there to witness this event. This being the case, you can expect there to be considerably more tourist congestion in the park then during the off-season. You will likely be competing for the best views of the river crossings. This may mean sitting for long periods of time (possibly hours) in your safari vehicle as you wait by the river for the indecisive wildebeest herds to take the plunge and cross.
You should also realize that the massive number of wildebeest that migrate to Masai Mara (around 1.5 million) results in many of the other species in the park being crowded out. In other words, be prepared to see A LOT of wildebeest. You likely will not see the same variety of wildlife species at this time of year that you would at other times. For this reason, it is advisable that you plan for a safari circuit during your stay in Kenya, allowing you to visit other wildlife reserves in addition to Masai Mara. This will provide you with more opportunity to see a variety of wildlife on other reserves that you may miss in Masai Mara during the migration.
In addition to witnessing one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, a major advantage of visiting Masai Mara during the great migration is the higher probability of seeing a big cat kill. The abundance of food that is available to predators at this time increases your chances of witnessing one of these hunters (lion, leopard, and cheetah) in action! Check out for Part Two of this blog series here.