What does the Masai Mara mean to you? Do you have a vision of open plains dotted with acacia trees, huge rivers, incredible wildlife and ecosystem, Masai tribesmen in their bright red shukas and authentic tented camps and an horizon that goes on for ever. Or have you seen photographs of minibuses full of loud people, safari vehicles crowding cheetahs trying to hunt and hundreds of cheering guests witnessing river crossings during the Great Migration.
Yes, the latter does occur, sadly, but here at The Luxury Safari Company that would be a world away from what our clients experience. Outside the Mara Reserve, life continues at a quieter pace, but the wildlife remains the same. Luxury tented camps nestle beside rivers and under trees in order to have a minimal impact on the landscape and because of limited numbers it is possible to witness lion, leopard and cheetah hunting alone in your safari vehicle, large herds of elephant roaming the plains, hippos splashing in wide rivers and all the other incredible creatures that live in this spectacular part of the world.
Adjoining the Masai Mara National Park are a number of private conservancies which again restrict numbers of beds, work closely with the local communities and offer a truly magical experience. The wildlife roams freely through all these areas so your experience is no different here than in the busier parts of the park. In fact, it is better. There is more freedom to go where you want when you want with night drives being possible and the sight of hippos grazing out of the water in the dark is a truly extraordinary sight – they can be the size of a large car! These are also the areas where so much is being done in the field of conservation by a number of truly dedicated individuals and the research and data they are producing is vital for the survival of many species. It is sometimes possible to accompany some of these researchers which gives our clients a different aspect on the fragile ecosystem that exists here.
It does beg the question as to whether more should be done to prevent some of the terrible scenes that many witness where animals are crowded with vehicles? Yes, of course, it should. Lodges and camps, drivers, guides and guests should be more responsible for their actions. If, as a guest, you ever feel uncomfortable with a situation you must inform your driver and or guide that you do not wish to be so close to the animals or other cars. There is always another day.
We are all so lucky to visit this incredible part of Kenya as it offers the opportunity to stay in some truly special places, meet special people and see Africa’s wildlife in the most stunning of locations. You will receive a warm welcome!