Masai Mara Safaris, Kenya, East Africa
Wildebeest in the Masai Mara after the migration from Tanazania. Photo by Bjorn Torrissen.
Trivia: The blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus), also known as the common wildebeest, is genetically classified as an antelope.
The great animal migration from Tanzania’s Serengeti up north to the Mara Triangle takes place between July and October, depending on the rains. The majority of the creatures are wildebeest or zebra and total numbers can be over three million, keeping both crocs and cameras busy.
Self Drive Safaris
Self drive is the easiest way to get around the Masai Mara, especially with young children. Flying is fast but then involved staying at the sort of safari lodge or camp that includes a vehicle and guide for game drives and that’s usually expensive. Buses can be used if you’re experienced, adventurous travellers, but they’re inconvenient for gateways into parks and reserves where the accommodation is located.
However, a self-drive safari is a different matter. Kruger Park self-drive this is not!
It’s easy enough to see a fair amount of Kenyan wildlife off the mainstream tourist circuit in places like Lake Naivasha, Hell’s Gate, Lake Baringo and Kakamega Forest but it’s a lot more effort in bigger national parks – Maasai Mara included – where neither the roads nor the sign posting are in good shape so both getting lost and getting limited wildlife sightings is likely to be commonplace.
It’s a maze out there, every road looks the same, dusty and decrepit dirt roads that go to the horizon; pick the wrong one and spend a night with the lions.
One option would be to take the first safari with your lodge to get a feel for the area and learn some basic routes and animal-spotting tips, then head out on your own.
A spotted hyena with an appetite for anything.
Trivia: Hyenas laugh when either killing or mating and scream when preparing to hunt. Nice.
These days of austerity and competition there are cheaper safari options popping up all over the place, but especially to be found in Nairobi. For example Nairobi backpackers runs cheap and convenient safari tours from a couple of days up to a week or more. But ‘cheap’ is relative, no reasonable East African safari is ever going to be really cheap! You’re definitely looking at over a hundred dollars per day per person for a tent, 3 meals, return transport to/from the airport and game drives.
These two, on the other hand, are colourful and convincing though perhaps a little posed.