There are so many good things about Masai Mara that it’s hard, if not impossible, to list them all. Now let us talk about the not so good things about the Mara.
#4 The Bugs
Lets start by putting a spotlight on one that many people are especially grateful for…the lack of bugs. Due to the high elevation of Masai Mara (1,500 – 2,170 meters) the bug population in this region is minimal. While other regions of Africa are plagued by mosquitoes, tsetse flies, and a variation of other pesky insects, visitors coming to the Mara need not exert a lot of energy fretting over these critters. This also means that Masai Mara is one of the few regions in Kenya where malaria is not a pressing concern. While I’m not saying that mosquitoes don’t exist in Masai Mara, cases of malaria are very rare. This being the case, visitors can rest at ease. Go ahead and let out that sigh of relief!
PLEASE NOTE that if you are planning to visit other regions of Kenya it is highly recommended that you consult your physician about malaria prophylactics, as malaria is a concern in other areas of the country.
#5 The Weather
Getting a better grip on the weather in Masai Mara will help you plan for packing, as well as choose what time of year you would like to visit. While weather patterns are not always reliable, here is some general information to keep in mind.
The climate of Masai Mara remains temperate throughout the year compared to other regions of Kenya. Temperatures are hottest during the months of December through February, and cool down during the months of June through August. (Remember, Kenya is south of the equator….if you’re visiting from North America or Europe, then your summer and winter seasons are reversed.) Maximum temperatures in Masai Mara average 30C/85F, and temperatures may reach as low as 13C/55F during the cooler months. If you plan your trip during the cooler months you will want to bring layers so that you can comfortably enjoy the cool evening air. If you relish relaxing around a bonfire in the evening than this may be the perfect time of year for you to visit. Daytime temperatures tend to stay warm in the Masai Mara plains, even during the cool season. So, no matter when you choose to visit, you should plan to pack warm weather clothes for your daytime safari drives.
It is also important to note that Masai Mara has two rainy seasons. The two wettest times of the year generally are mid-October into November and April through early June. If you visit during these months make sure to pack your rain boots because it can get very muddy. You can also anticipate slick, muddy roads during the rainy seasons. DON’T compromise on your safari vehicle of choice during the wet months – in other words, stay away from safari vans. A four-wheel drive vehicle is a must for navigating these road conditions.
Additionally, the seasonal variation in climate will influence your game viewing experience. In terms of wildlife viewing, there is not an ideal time to visit Masai Mara. However, each season has its perks that are worth considering when planning your trip. The wet months are the greenest and teeming with grazing animals. The color and life of Masai Mara is invigorating after the rains. Because the grass grows so long it can be difficult to spot some of the animals, so you’ll have to keep an extra keen eye out for the elusive leopard and flawlessly camouflaged lion. If you choose to go during the dryer seasons the short grass will make it much easier to spot game. You will also not have to fight the muddy roads or endure the frequent afternoon and evening showers that are the hallmark of the rainy seasons.
If you haven’t read the last two posts in this series please do so here and here.