The Magical Mara Minus the Migration

Kenya is at the top of everyone’s safari hit list,and the Masai Mara is hard to beat especially when it comes to the annual migration.Admittedly, this is when most people will choose to travel to the wildlife capital’s best-loved game reserve, but there’s more than one reason to visit, and as a year-round destination you can expect a sensational safari at any point
in the calendar. Travel out of season and you’ll save money on
your return flight, plus benefit from lower priced tour costs. And, while the Mara is one of Africa’s most sought after safari destinations, you’ll also find fewer 4X4s in the reserve. This factor can really add to the quality of the game viewing experience, as offroading is not permitted in East Africa. Travel from March through May, and in November.
Not all of the animals migrate in the Mara so you can still expect great Big Five game viewing throughout the year – leopards,
cheetahs, lions, hyena’s and bat eared foxes are regularly sighted in the reserve.
image

December to March is a great time to go as this is outside of the rainy season when some of the roads might leave your vehicle trudging in the
mud. Meet & greet the Masai Tribe. Any trip to the Mara will leave you an understanding of this untouched civilization, the tribe sharing their culture with travellers the world over Traditional dancing, village visits
image

and a chance to marvel at the local handicrafts make this a
once in a lifetime experience.
From October through April, the Mara is a birders paradise. More than 400 species have been recorded to date, ostriches, raptors, long crested eagles and the stunning lilac breasted
roller featuring on the list.
There’s more than one way to safari in the Mara and an optional balloon flight over the
plains is a great way to get a birds eye view of the stunning landscape and its residents.
Usually an hour in length, the ride kicks off in the early hours allowing you to spy the magnificent sunrise while the wildlife stir beneath you. Ending with a champagne breakfast it’s the ultimate way to see the
reserve in all its glory.
image

Yes you can travel independently, but head off with a dedicated safari guide and even a slight flicker in the bush might turn up a magical
safari moment or two – especially when it comes to the more elusive leopard and cheetah. Experienced guides have a keen eye for spotting the reserve’s animals and a great deal of knowledge to impart as you’re driving across the plains.

Via  Leanne Haigh
(Acacia Africa)

Ten Reasons To Go On Safari in Kenya

Kenya is undoubtedly the Hollywood of safaris, and if you can stomach the paparazzi (in the form of legions of camera-wielding tourists), you’re in for a mind-blowing show. Besides the fact that safari is a Swahili word, here are 10 reasons you should go on safari in this spectacular country.
1. The endless plains
The quintessential open savannahs mean that, for much of the year, you can see for miles, which makes it easier to spot animals and affords excellent opportunities to watch not only the huge ungulate herds, but to witness the predators hunting them.
2. Birds
Kenya is a birder’s mecca, hosting over 1100 species of birds. That’s more than there are in the entire North American continent!
3. Flamingo flocks
image

Of these birds, special mention must be made of the tens of thousands of lesser and greater flamingos that gather in the alkaline lakes of the Great Rift Valley and turn them from blue to pink. Best places to see this breathtaking spectacle would be Lake Nakuru and Lake Bogoria but, since the flocks move, make sure you get good local updates before you go.
4. Rainforest
The mystical forests of Mount Kenya and the Aberdares National Park provide a hauntingly beautiful setting for animals like elephant, buffalo and leopard,and are well worth a visit for those wanting something different on their safari itinerary. You might see a giant forest hog (that can weigh just under 300kg), the guereza colobus (one of the most beautiful monkeys in the world) and, if you’rereally lucky, the rarely seen bongo.
5. Cats
There’s a reason why the BBC chose Kenya’s Masai Mara as the location for their television series “Big Cat Diaries”.  This is undoubtedly one of the best places in the world to watch the big felines in action. And some of the small ones too: it is not uncommon to find the majestic serval hunting the Mara’s grasslands.
image

6. Big Tuskers
There are very few elephants alive that carry the ivory of the giants of the past.  But if you wish to see, arguably, Africa’s most magnificent bulls, Tsavo National Park should be on your itinerary 7.The Samburu District
This part of the country is not only incredibly scenic, with strong flowing rivers lined with palm trees carving through the semi-arid landscape, but it is full of special creatures you mightnot see elsewhere, like Beisa oryx, the striking reticulated giraffe, the bizarre gerenuk, and even a striped hyena.
8. Underwater safaris
Kenya has some excellent diving. At Watamu Marine National Park, green turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Nearby Moray Reef is excellent for octopus and whale shark. Kisite Mpunguti Marine Reserve boasts giant manta rays, while Mombasa harbours beautiful coral reefs, and abundant marine life.
9. Kilimanjaro backdrop
image

Although the roof of Africa resides across the border in Tanzania, Kenya’s Amboseli National Reserve is the best place to try and get a herd of elephant and Kili’s snow-capped peaks in the same frame.
10. The greatest show on earth
1.6 million wildebeest, 250 000 zebra (and 450 000 gazelle) partake annually in this powerful movement of animals between Tanzania’s Serengeti and Kenya’s Masai Mara. But the Mara River  must surely be the most dramatic of all their obstacles. Witnessing the intensity of the herds plunging themselves into the crocodile infested waters should be on every safari lover’s bucket list.
image

Travel tip shared by
James Kydd
http://www.overlandingafrica.com/