Safari in Maasai Mara National Reserve

Reviews of Safari in Maasai Mara National Reserve

Good(80%) From 11 travellers
Excellent
4
Good
5
Average
1
Poor
0
Terrible
1
Below are independent comments from 11 of our travellers who have done this activity and have kindly agreed to share their thoughts.

They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
P&JG from Scotland
Date: 18-Aug-2019 Based at: Porini Lion Camp
Overall:
Terrible
Terrible

Maasai Mara National Reserve - what a circus!

The reason that we chose to stay at a private conservancy outside the Maasai Mara National Reserve is because I was worried that the Maasai Mara NR would be overrun with tourists, particularly at the time of the great migration which seems to have become an Instagram event for too many visitors. I would have been perfectly happy to avoid this spectacle, but a drive down to the Mara appeared to be the only programme on offer for our first day in camp, so against my better judgement we went along with it. Unfortunately it turned out to be an absolute low point in an otherwise wonderful three week itinerary and my worst expectations of the MM NR were exceeded by what occurred that day.

The closer we got to the Mara river and potential crossing points, the more the traffic of safari wagons built up, to the point where we became aware of other vehicles careering along at dangerous speeds on parallel tracks trying to race each other to the river bank. When we arrived it was quite obvious why they were behaving in this way, as we found both banks of the river were completely choked up with a grid lock of scores of vehicles containing hundreds of people. Vehicles were barging in front of each other to achieve a better view, blocking others out so that their occupants couldn't see anything and even, astonishingly, blocking the pathway for the herds of wildebeest and zebra trying to reach the river, the people seemingly completely oblivious to the needs of the very animals that they had come to observe!

As the wretched animals took their chance to cross the river the onlookers were shouting and cheering like a football crowd and whooping and laughing whenever any of the poor beasts were brutally consumed by the waiting crocodiles. I suspect that the feeding of Christians to the lions in the Colosseum of ancient Rome must have provided a similar experience. It was, frankly, a little sickening and it made me feel rather ashamed to be among the mob myself. Then, to add insult to injury, we had an unpleasant encounter with some National Reserve Rangers who, rather than controlling the mass overpopulation of tourists, seemed more intent on enforcing petty regulations and extracting money from hapless drivers and guides for apparent minor breaches of niggling Reserve rules. I think that the Maasai Mara National Reserve of Kenya has a major problem of tourist overpopulation, which it seriously needs to address, and it also needs to examine closely the conduct of its own rangers. I shall not be returning there.

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Expert Africa comments

We were shocked to hear how poor this reserve visit was. We believe the Maasai Mara National Reserve authorities are in serious breech of their duties to protect the Mara ecosystem and its wildlife and to control the number of vehicles crowding the river crossing points. While we are not aware of any impact this has on the population of the migratory wildebeest and zebra – hundreds of thousands dodge the vehicles and cross and re-cross the Mara River multiple times, while thousands perish in the jaws of crocodiles, lions and other predators, only to be replaced with new calves six months later – we are convinced the current uncontrolled access is unsustainable, and we have contacted the reserve authorities to express our dismay and to request they address their deficiencies urgently. Witnessing the river crossings is an extraordinary experience, that can sometimes be enjoyed without the kind of madness that these travellers witnessed. However we accept this is partly a matter of luck in choosing the right location, and is not necessarily in the gift of your driver-guide, no matter how responsibly they behave. We urge all visitors to the Mara eco-system in the migration season to consider whether they want to risk adding to the pressure on vehicle numbers. Depending on the location of your camp, the option to avoid the river crossing areas is always available, either by visiting other parts of the reserve, or by doing game drives exclusively in the conservancy areas.

Mrs M. from London
Date: 17-Nov-2018 Based at: Hemingways Ol Seki Mara
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent

Safari in Maasai Mara National Reserve review

I would highly recommend the day trip to the Masai Mara, Richard recommended this and included it in our trip, and it was phenomenal. Yes it does mean quite a lot of driving, but what a shame to miss out on lunch by the river, close to hippos, crocodiles, elephants and buffalo for the sake of a couple more hours in the car. We saw the five cheetah brothers hunting warthog babies (a bit sad as the babies were so cute!), as well as a prolonged leopard sighting. The sheer scale of the reserve is amazing, at one point we drove for two hours without seeing anyone else. Having said that, at the leopard sighting, we were soon joined by about 30 other jeeps, which made us appreciate our stay in the conservancy even more.

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Jaybarn from the Chilterns
Date: 6-Oct-2018 Based at: Tangulia Mara
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent

Maasai Mara National Reserve was amazing

Our family group had never been to Kenya and were stunned by the proximity of the wildlife to our safari jeep and the animals' closeness to each other - prey and predator and scavenger often side by side. Our kids described it as a Noah's Ark of wildlife - and felt it brought us beyond box-ticking the Big Five or the Ugly Five, etc. into watching behaviours.

Other comments are in the review of Tangulia>

Well worth coming here and I would come back again -- so much to see!

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Mrs C. from Beaconsfield
Date: 17-Sep-2018 Based at: Kicheche Mara
Overall:
Good
Good

No wilderbeest crossing but a kill

Our trip to the national reserve was a long, and particularly hot, day. There were plenty of wildlife viewings en route. We saw our only leopard here, but were one of about a dozen vehicles. Quite a different feel to the peaceful setting in the conservancy. We didn’t see any wildebeest crossing, but were in the right place and the right time to witness 2 zebras attempt to cross the river. They struggled to climb the bank to get out - one made it but we could see the 2 crocodiles heading towards the other one. We could hear the crunch of jaws on the zebras head. We wanted to watch, but we didn’t!

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Dr & Mrs P from London
Date: 11-Sep-2018 Based at: Ngare Serian
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent

Safari in Maasai Mara National Reserve review

Stayed in the Mara North Conservancy and didn’t go into the National Park as the next stage of our trip was to the Serengeti.

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Mrs P from Horsham
Date: 4-Sep-2018 Based at: Naboisho Camp
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent

Day Drive to Maara

Quite a long drive to get there but we spotted lepard on the way.

Amazed by the extent of the plains - miles and miles of land with animals grazing everywhere.

Didn't see any migration but got good impression of what it would be like with long trails of wildebeest plodding slowly to the river.

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Dr H from Sussex
Date: 4-Sep-2018 Based at: Naboisho Camp
Overall:
Average
Average

Safari in Maasai Mara National Reserve review

Interesting day, saw young hippos and many wildebeest. Also crocodiles but no crossings.

Grass green on both banks of the Mara. Many cars and vans.

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Mr & Mrs H from Cheshire
Date: 3-Sep-2018 Based at: Kicheche Mara
Overall:
Good
Good

Safari in Maasai Mara National Reserve review

Excellent safari, but let down by the weather in 2018. Mainly cold and grey, frequently wet!

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Miss G. from Newark
Date: 29-Aug-2018 Based at: Kicheche Mara
Overall:
Good
Good

Safari in Maasai Mara National Reserve review

We spend one full day in the reserve and surprisingly actually saw less animals than we had in the conservancy. It was also very very busy with Jeeps. We did manage after waiting patiently for 3 hrs to see a river crossing which was fab although a bit brutal. 

After visiting the reserve we were glad that we had chosen to stay in the conservancy and do most of our game driver their.

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Ms N from London
Date: 29-Aug-2018 Based at: Kicheche Mara
Overall:
Good
Good

Safari in Maasai Mara National Reserve review

We went to the Reserve in hopes of seeing a Crossing which we were lucky enough to watch after waiting about two hours while they moved towards the river then back again.

Whenever the animals seemed ready to start several other jeeps would rush forward and the herds would retreat. Our guide moved us down river to avoid harassing the animals and to give us a good cross view from leaping off then swimming across then climbing out - but it did mean we were a little far away.

It was not a huge number of animals but enough to be a proper Crossing and to give a real sense of the dilemmas and power of it and to get very caught up in the fortunes of individual wildebeest and zebra. We didn't see alot of other animals on the way through the Reserve - though we all agreed not to search as it was a long drive.

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