The Maasai Mara is one of the biggest attractions in Kenya, enticing tourists and wildlife lovers from all over the world. However, this incredibly important ecological landscape has been drastically affected by the global rise in cases of the COVID-19 virus. Like many destinations that rely heavily on tourism, the need to shut down international flight operations, has impacted local economies in unimaginable ways. (You can read more about that here).
Tourism in Kenya in 2021
The tourism industry in Kenya contributes 9% of the country’s GDP, which is nearly an income of USD $1.6 billion. Hence, the closing down of the international flights in Kenya came as a serious financial blow to a country that would have otherwise prepared its healthcare sector based on that tourism money.
Many people living here and dependent on tourism income lost livelihoods and had to face other challenges that they were unprepared for. However, Kenya wildlife tourism is gradually springing back into action allowing travellers to visit the area with mandatory COVID tests.
For those who are passionate about nature and wildlife, the Maasai Mara has always been one of the top ‘bucket-list’ destinations for exploring nature untouched. As the Kenyan tourism industry re-opens, now is a great time to think about visiting this incredible place. Here are some of the things that make the Maasai Mara such a unique travel destination…
Connect with Mother Nature
Maasai Mara is one of the rare places on the planet that allows you to have a direct connection with Mother Nature right from the moment you arrive. The experience you get here is truly magical and one-of-a-kind, because it offers you thrills that are truly unique; you wake up to the sounds of wild animals that are going around with their daily duties far in the distance; enjoy the beautiful weather and explore the endless grasslands that offer incredible photo opportunities along the horizon.
Witness the Great Wildebeest Migration
Also known as The Great Migration, this is a spectacle that brings wildlife lovers from all over the globe. The migration period begins in August until November, as you see a mass movement of wildebeest making dramatic river crossings and trying to reach the fresh pastures of Mara from Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Naturetrek offers the best African safaris and wildlife tour packages to help you witness this migration with ease. Watching this migration with your own eyes offers you a great insight into how Mother Nature works as these animals face and overcome challenges as they complete the migration.
Enjoy the Game Viewing Experience
If you love to watch nimble predators hunting down their prey in the open, you’ve got to visit Maasai Mara for sure. With plenty of wide open spaces, temperate weather and a diverse population of lions, leopards and hyenas, you are in for a real treat when you these amazing creatures in action. The experience in real-life is even more impressive than watching them on television. Your safari vehicle will follow them (from a respectable distance) to see how they seek vantage points and hunt down their prey live in action. With the current downward trend in tourism, right now there are more open landscapes and areas with great crowd-free game viewing experiences here in Maasai Mara.
Hot Air Balloon Safari
If you want to get a bird’s eye view of the Great Migration there is no better way than a hot air balloon safari. With the best hot air balloon safari options, you can explore the landscape in the best possible way. It offers you the opportunity to peek down into the forests, explore the Mara River and the boundless plains that lie before your eyes. The hot air balloon safari offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience where you get to see the most beautiful sunrises that you will ever witness. The hot air balloon offers a great way to explore the entire area in a quicker, enchanting way.
Exploring the Birds
If you are more into birds and love watching birds out in the open nature, Maasai Mara is the place to be. This place is a perfect haven for bird lovers that want to see a wide range of raptors scanning the skies. With more than 470 species of birds in Maasai Mara, you are in here for a real treat. If you are taking up a tour package, you can also explore rare species of birds along with crowned cranes, vultures and even African pygmy falcons. Birdwatchers, you certainly need to bring along your binoculars with you when you are in Maasai Mara.
Connect with the Locals
The Mara isn’t just about the wildlife, but also the people who live in harmony with nature. As you explore the open landscapes of the region, you also get to come across and meet the lovely people living there. It is a perfect opportunity to interact with them and know more about the Maasai lifestyle, culture and traditions. You can connect with various ethnic groups and tribes and listen to what they believe in and their stories. This offers you an insight into the life of the Maasai Mara people. The warm and loving nature of the locals is a great way to connect your soul with the essence of the Maasai.
Seeing nature in its raw and untouched form isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Many people would love to explore the wild, but they are apprehensive of the security issues. This is not the case when you are exploring Maasai Mara. The Kenya Wildlife Services officers are always patrolling the area offering you and the animals the security required. Also, you don’t have to get down and dirty when you are exploring the open landscapes and the boundless plains of the area, as you can use safari vehicles to move across several locations quickly. There are various packages available that offer you easy access to visit Maasai Mara.
Variety of Accommodation
Maasai Mara has always been a paradise for wildlife lovers and therefore finding accommodation here isn’t very hard. From lavish hotels and resorts, to safari tents and lodges, you will find it all here. You can get the best comfortable beds and sophisticated technology that would allow you to stay in touch with the world; or if you are more into the idea of the wild, you can sleep in the tent and feel the soul of Maasai Mara as you hear the sounds of the nature reserve. In the morning you can wake up and head straight to see the animals in the vicinity.
About the Author
Jyotsna Ramani is an avid naturalist, writer and globetrotter. She loves putting pen to paper and jots down her adventures on WanderWithJo.com
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