Luxury safari Masai Mara, Kenya - private safari package

Quintessential Masai Mara landscape - on safari at Elephant Pepper camp


Top reasons to choose a luxury safari in the Masai Mara

One of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa

The Masai Mara (also spelled Maasai Marai and often referred to simply as the Mara) is the northernmost section of the vast Mara-Serengeti ecosystem where one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa occurs and in which animals move freely. The Masai Mara is vast and encompasses the Maasai Mara National Reserve which includes the sought-after Mara Triangle, as well as the surrounding private conservation areas such as Mara North conservancy, Olare Motogori, Lemek conservancy and Olderikesi conservancy.

Plentiful grazers and browsers, both resident and transient

Abundant vegetation attracts elephant, buffalo, zebra, topi, impala, wildebeest, giraffe, thomson's gazelle, waterbuck, reedbuck, baboon, warthog and eland to name but a few.

Abundant predators

Maasai Mara has one of the highest lion densities in the world, and leopard and cheetah are also well represented. Lions are often found in large prides and it is not uncommon to see them hunt. And of course other predators like black-backed jackal, side-striped jackal and hyena are ever near when there has been a kill. Serval and bat-eared fox are some of the smaller nocturnal predators that are spotted. 

Excellent chance of seeing the Big Five

Lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo all occur here and are often spotted.

Cool and fertile iconic savanna landscape

This world famous conservation area is located in the southwest of Kenya in the Great Rift Valley in primarily open grassland dotted with riverine forest and clumps of acacia trees - the iconic African savanna landscape. A relatively high altitude and good rainfall means it is usually cooler and more fertile in the Mara when compared to some of the other safari areas.

Traditional land of the Maasai people

A colorful, proud and distinctly traditional people. Seen in their bright red colored "shukkas", spear in hand, grazing their animals around the borders of the Maasai Mara National Reserve and in the private conservancies. It is the Maasai that have kept the land pristine over the centuries, living in harmony with the wildlife of the Mara. The Maasai enjoy a symbiotic, almost sacred, relationship with their cattle. This bond has led them into a largely nomadic way of life, following the rains in search of water and pasture for their herds. Traditionally all of the Maasai needs are met by their cattle. Most of their diet comprises cows' milk and blood, with bulls, oxen and lambs slaughtered for meat during ceremonies and special occasions. Skins and hides provide warm clothing and are used as mattresses for sleeping. Women use cow dung to waterproof the walls of their traditional semi-permanent huts known as manyattas. During a luxury safari in the Masai Mara, a visit to a Maasai village can usually be arranged where the family will proudly show their home. They may also want to take the opportunity to sell traditional handicrafts such as their beautiful bead work.

Great Migration

A highlight of the Maasai Mara, but the route and timing of this ancient annual rhythm of wildebeest and zebra are unpredictable and depend on annual weather patterns. Usually the herds move north into the Masai Mara from the Serengeti in June to August. They stay for as long as the grazing lasts and then leave the Mara to return south in October to November before the rainy season. The Maasai Mara also has resident wildebeest that migrate locally, following the lush grasslands. Read more about planning a Great Migration safari in the Masai Mara.

Prime game viewing activities in exclusive private reserves

Private conservancies in the Masai Mara ecosystem offer prime game viewing and exclusivity, privacy and flexibility not found inside the Maasai Mara national reserve itself. Professional wildlife and tourism management ensures an exclusive and private safari experience. Vehicle density is low. Wildlife is abundant - the Maasai cattle that are allowed to graze in the conservancies keep the grass short and green and this is attractive to the wildlife since predators easily conceal themselves in long grass. The shorter grass also makes for easier game viewing. Activities on offer are varied and depending on the selected luxury Masai Mara safari camp or lodge, these include early morning game drives, afternoon game drives, full day game drives, thrilling night drives, game walks, bush meals, cultural visits and hot-air balloon fights.

Mara North Conservancy 

Beautiful private wilderness area of more than 74,000 acres / 30 000 hectares. In the core of the Masai Mara ecosystem, situated to the north of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Home to a spectacular array of plants, reptiles, birds and mammals. Leopard Gorge, in the heart of the conservancy, is famous as the setting of countless BBC Big Cat Diaries and National Geographic documentaries. 

Olare Motorogi Conservancy

A private 35,000-acre conservancy (an expansion of the previous Olare Orok Conservancy) situated on the northern boundary of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, with abundant wildlife. Reputed to have one of the lowest vehicle density in the Masai Mara region, while also having one of the highest concentration of big cats anywhere in Africa. 

Olderikesi Conservancy

A unique wilderness area in the south eastern corner of the Masai Mara, where the 7000 acre private Cottar's wildlife sanctuary is situated. An area bordering the Serengeti, Maasai Mara and Loliondo reserves and largely untouched by tourism or development. Good rhino population. One of the highest success rates of big five sightings in Kenya - although the focus is never on ‘ticking off’ the checklist of species, but rather on the quality and privacy of the viewing, the interpretation of the sight, and ‘capturing the moment'.

Mara Triangle 

Situated in the north western sector of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, it represents about a third of the entire reserve. A well-managed sector of the reserve with prolific wildlife. Large swamps, streams, salt lick, the meandering Mara River, and high rainfall sustain abundant wildlife even during the dry months. Renowned for viewing "river crossings" - when the wildebeest must cross the crocodile-infested waters of the Mara River during Great Migration season. Very few lodges are situated inside the Mara Triangle, but others on the periphery make use of this area for game drives. 

Our preferred Masai Mara luxury accommodation

On request your personal safari itinerary could include alternative Masai Mara lodges or camps.

Make a difference in an African community - book a Masai Mara luxury safari

By choosing a luxury camp or lodge situated in Mara North Conservancy for your luxury African safari, you are helping to alleviate poverty by providing a stable income through conservancy fees to over 800 Maasai landowners and their families. Furthermore, luxury camps and lodges in Mara North Conservancy have established local health and educational facilities and empowerment projects for women. Donations toward the continued support of these projects may be channeled through the Mara North luxury lodges and camps.

A monthly rental from the luxury Masai Mara safari camps and lodges in Olare Motorogi Conservancy provide the Maasai landowners of this private reserve with a reliable and steady income. Management works closely with the Olare Orok and Motorogi Trust that helps to spread the benefits of conservation to a far wider community than the immediate recipient landowners. Activities of the trust include the implementation of educational programs, supporting capacity building initiatives, and facilitating the training of people in practical and marketable skills.

On Olderikesi Conservancy, the Cottar family is in partnership with the local Maasai community where they manage the land for wildlife use thereby providing a sustainable livelihood to the local community. Visitors to this luxury Masai Mara safari camp provide a market for bead work and other traditional handicrafts produced by the local  Maasai women, thereby helping to preserve  Maasai culture and to support community development.

Support conservation efforts in the Masai Mara

The luxury lodges and camps in Mara North Conservancy are in a partnership with the community that aims to preserve the ancient and delicate balance between wildlife and traditional pastoralism and ensure environmental sustainability in this private Masai Mara reserve. Degraded areas are rehabilitated, natural habitat areas restored, wildlife are protected from poaching and snaring, grazing areas for livestock are managed, human and wildlife conflicts are resolved, and a quality network of roads and tracks are maintained. As part of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, the Mara North Conservancy is vital for sustaining the highly threatened African wild dog and black rhino, as well as the famous wildebeest Great Migration for which it provides the northern corridor. 

Mara Conservancy, a not-for-profit management company, manages the Mara Triangle in collaboration with the Trans Mara County Council. The Mara Conservancy is committed to working with local leaders, communities and partners to sustainably manage the Mara Triangle and its surrounding ecosystem through a transparent and accountable approach that creates a secure environment for wildlife, visitors and the community.

The Olare Motorogi partnership is a combination of wildlife tourism and sustainable rotational grazing, that creates a win-win situation for both the Maasai landowners and the wildlife of the Maasai Mara ecosystem. It is an interesting blend between conservation and traditional pastoralism that contributes both to the abundance of wildlife in this area as well as to the preservation of the Maasi pastoralist lifestyle. The conservancy has strict environmental policies and stipulates that the environmental footprint of the luxury Masai Mara lodges and safari camps in this private reserve is kept to a minimum, insisting on mobile camps with no foundations, proper garbage and waste disposal policies and adherence to a strict code of conduct with regards to both camp operations and the behavior of their clients and guides whilst in the conservancy. 

Best time of year for a luxury safari in the Masai Mara

There is a likelihood of isolated rain throughout the year in this safari area of Kenya but generally speaking the rainy season is from November through to May, with peak rainfall in December and January and again in April and May. The rain typically comes in the form of thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening while the mornings are mostly sunny. Daytime temperatures usually range between 20-30°C and night temperatures can drop to 15°C in June and July. The warmest months tend to be December to March. Peak tourist season is between July and October when the Great Migration usually finds itself in the Mara but the Masai Mara is in fact an excellent your-round safari destination. 

Contact us for a personalized African luxury safari itinerary that includes the Masai Mara

We create a private luxury African safari package, tailor-made to suit your own specific profile and requirements. We recommend to combine your luxury Masai Mara safari with other luxury lodges and safari camps in Kenya or elsewhere in East Africa. On request your luxury Masai Mara safari can also be combined with luxury safari camps and lodges in Southern Africa, but this will involve more travelling.

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