Safarilink operates two daily flights to and from the Maasai Mara, stopping at any of the eight major airstrips passengers require. Passengers returning from Amboseli, Kapese, Kilimanjaro, Lewa, Lodwar, Loisaba, Naivasha, Nanyuki, Samburu and Tsavo West can connect directly to Safarilink’s afternoon flight to the Maasai Mara.
The most famous wildlife area in Kenya, the Maasai Mara National Reserve, is known not only for the annual great migration, but for year-round exceptional and abundant wildlife. Over 100 mammal species are found here, including the Big Five, and over 450 bird species. Game viewing here is second to none.
The Maasai Mara, designated a national reserve in 1974, is part of the greater Serengeti Mara ecosystem, formed of the Serengeti in Tanzania, the Maasai Mara in Kenya and the surrounding conservancies and group ranches. It is through this ecosystem, an area of around 40,000km2, that around 1.5 million wildebeest, along with Thomson’s gazelles, zebras and eland, move in a perpetual circuit that has come to be known as the great migration. Although no two migrations are the same, many aspects of the trek recur. The animals flood into the Mara in about June, moving north towards the Mara River in July and August, then sweeping back into the Serengeti in September and October; the frenzied attacks of lions on the plains and crocodiles in the rivers are both visceral and exciting.
The reserve’s name comes from the Maasai, a nomadic Nilotic people famed as warriors, and Mara, meaning mottled in the language of the Maasai, a reference to the savannah plains speckled with riverine forests, mountain ridges and natural springs. It is this naturally varied ecosystem that provides the diversity of food types needed to support the proliferation of species of mammals, birds, reptiles, plants and insects found here.
Conservancies and group ranches around the reserve are managed privately, and provide a buffer zone for the wildlife. Since they limit the number of visitors and vehicles, they provide a more exclusive game viewing experience. Both the reserve and the conservancies have a selection of traditional lodges, stunning safari camps and community-run camps. Activities in the reserve include game drives and balloon safaris. In the conservancies, game walks make an interesting way to get close to the smaller game and to bird-watch, while visits to local Maasai village give unbeatable insights into the culture and traditions of this legendary tribe.