EXPLORING MASAI MARA

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Mara Serena Entrance and lounge

Exploring Masai Mara is one of those experiences that feature on almost every traveler’s bucket-list. From winning awards as Africa’s Leading National Park to being the home to the eighth wonder of the world, the adventures at Masai Mara are undoubtedly extraordinary.

Whether you decide to explore the plains over a game drive, balloon safari, nature walks, bird watching or even escarpment hikes, the diversity of intimate wilderness experiences is what makes Masai Mara one of the most sought after safari destinations in the world.

The Great Wildebeest Migration from Serengeti in Tanzania to Masai Mara in Kenya is one of the greatest natural spectacles in the world with an annual movement of herds of wildebeests along the Mara River cross over in search of greener pastures. Millions of wildebeest plunge into the mucky waters where they come face-to-face with the fierce Nile crocodiles. The skill in the crossing causes a frenzy as the wildebeest fight for their survival trying to cross without getting eaten- a truly awe-inspiring sight to behold.For years I have been promising myself that I must visit the Mara and see this wonder park , but matters work and life in general kept getting in the way… until I purposed that another year will not pass without me making good my promise to myself.  So off I went recently, upon realizing that even from Mombasa, getting to the Mara is not as difficult as it seems. Not with our domestic airlines now making it so easy and I chose Safarilink who have daily flights to the Mara from Nairobi; but also realized that I can fly with Safari Link from Mombasa and on to the Mara via Nairobi – either from Vipingo or from Diani – great links for safari and beach!!

KENYA, Ol Kinyei, Maasai Mara: In a photograph taken by the Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism (MEAACT) 14 June 2015, wildebeest are silhouetted as the sun rises over the Ol Kinyei Conservancy in Kenya's Maasai Mara. The management of Ol Kinyei and similar conservancies bordering the Maasai Mara National Reserve and in other areas of Kenya is an alternative approach to wildlife conservation. The land on which the conservancies are located is leased from local communities who directly benefit from its use to naturally host and protect wildlife populations. The privately owned and managed conservancies also offer employment to members of these communities and further opportunity of training in different areas of expertise from guides and trackers to chefs and camp management. Strict regulation of visitor numbers and the construction of camps inside the conservancies also limit the amount of people and vehicles present at any given time, offering tourists a much more personal and exclusive wildlife safari experience while at the same time reducing stress on and the disturbance of wildlife populations, which quickly begin to return and repopulate areas and land transformed under the conservancy model. MANDATORY CREDIT: MEAACT PHOTO / STUART PRICE.

 

And I wasn’t disappointed. The Mara was all promised and more.

Even though the annual Great Migration happens between June to October, there is more to explore all year round much to my surprise!  It is not just about the migration; Mara is an all year round destination. So much to see and to do and my stay at Mara Serena Safari Lodge did not disappoint. My experience with SafariLink, from the check in at their Wilson Airport departure lounge where everything is handled professionally by their staff and I could even have a refreshment from the adjacent café at the lounge as I waited , right through to the flight to the Mara Serena airstrip was smooth and flawless. It was exhilarating experience seeing the expansive  Mara plains and the beauty of the reserve unfold below me as the plane flew and eventually landed at the airstrip. You’ll be at ease taking in the fresh morning air as you revel at the beauty of flora and fauna. The landing  was  almost as smooth as the  take off and you are received with a glass of bubbly followed by a bush breakfast to crown an already unforgettable experience. And what an experience ! This was exactly what I had been missing!

KENYA, Maasai Mara: In a photograph taken by the Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism (MEAACT) 25 June 2015, a bull elephant gestures towards an Entim Camp safari vehicle in Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve. Bill Rautsaw, a retired United States Forest Service worker and conservationist from central Idaho, is a repeat and regular visitor to Kenya and feels a strong link between his home town and the East African nation through his involvement with conservation and his work with endangered species. Rautsaw says coming to Kenya changed his life, enhancing his love and feelings for the natural world, exposing him to a wide variety of cultures through the country's biodiversity, wildlife, and landscapes. By his own admission, Rautsaw says Idaho is just about as far away from Kenya's tropical beaches and world famous Maasai Mara National Reserve as you can get, but it's more than worth the trip, and the distance is worth every second that you spend in the country. It's a country of many choices he says, and one definitely not to be missed. MANDATORY CREDIT: MEAACT PHOTO / STUART PRICE.

The good old-game drive is an all-time favorite for any traveller looking for an up close and personal experience with the wildlife. Games drives are best suitable using 4*4 vehicles; morning and late afternoons are usually the best time for sighting. With the help of an experienced driver  guide, it is easy to  get immersed in the surroundings. Other than game, the Mara is a natural habitat of over 400 bird species and ornithologists will marvel at the opportunity to see and even capture alluring moments of birds.

Guided nature walks were a great way to discover the landscape on foot. Alternatively, I learnt that one can  take part in the Ololoolo Escarpment hike expedition. Trek the Western boundaries of the Masai Mara through Ololoolo escarpment through rocky crags, boulders strewn slopes and well-watered wetlands. After a 3 hour trek, your reward is the amazing view of the Serengeti atop the escarpment.

If you are wondering how to incorporate your usual day-to-day  exercise  regime during your safari,I learnt that one can  kick start their  day at the Mara Serena’s Maisha Gym and Spa and end it with a relaxing  swim under the afternoon African sun. Ah.Ma.zing!!

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Hippo Pool Breakfast

Dinning within the depths of the wilderness is always a splendor during an African Safari and I cannot begin to describe how Mara Serena Safari Lodge delivers this so professionally. The bush breakfast by the hippo pool was utterly magnificent; a full English breakfast under the watch of Maasai warriors. And when they say that the hippos do serenade you, I can vouch this beacuse I experienced it! Serena Hotels takes the dietary requirements of their guests into serious consideration so those with special dietary needs need not to worry. Just let them know what it is you prefer and they will be sure to deliver.

Too soon it was time to leave Magical Mara and head back home; so much to see and do but so little time. But that just means i have enough reasons to come back..and soon. For now, the fascinating moments captured and the unforgettable moments are enough to keep me going and can’t wait to share them with everyone i left behind.

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Call NOW for Mara Serena Safari Lodge air packages with Safari Link: Serena Sales Centre (+254) 732 123 333/ (+254) 709 998 333 or write to cro@serena.co.ke.

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