The Greater Mara Ecosystem is the northern portion of the renowned Serengeti Plains. At the core is the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, one of Africa’s most acclaimed wildlife reserves. Surrounded by a perimeter of highly conservation- focused community-owned conservancies and fringed, to the east, by the Loita Plains and Hills. The area is named after the Maasai tribes-people, the traditional inhabitants of the area who have lived for centuries alongside wildlife, and the Mara River runs through it. Renowned for its great wildebeest migration, prides of lion and one of the highest densities of wildlife on the continent, the Mara has been well documented in popular shows such as BBC’s Big Cat Diary and Disney’s African Cats.
The Maasai Mara is lauded for its large populations of lion, leopard and cheetah, dense herds of plains game, and the famous annual migration of about 1.8 million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelles traversing the plains in search of fresh grasses. These herds regularly cross the Mara River as they move into this area between July and October, a sought after safari event that pits hoofed game against gigantic Nile crocodiles.Back to Top
Yet the migration is a mere fraction of the wildlife interest here. Beyond the famous big cats, local Maasai giraffe are the tallest land mammals in the world. There are elephant, buffalo, and a small black rhino population. Hippo and crocodile are found in the Mara and Talek rivers, and more than 470 bird species have been identified.
The surrounding conservancies offer the chance to experience so much more freedom on safari by off-road wildlife drives, guided bush walks with local Maasai guides, night game drives and an array of cultural experiences where interaction with local Maasai communities is paramount. Visit a Maasai boma and herd goats, drop into the local school or get to know conservation from the ground up with a visit to one of many projects in the area. A combination of time spent inside the reserve and outside on the private conservancies is highly recommended for the most enhanced and comprehensive safari experiences.
Walking safaris within the Loita Hills are a great way to experience the diversity of the Greater Mara Ecosystem on foot. Traversing the hills, dropping in and out of valley’s the terrain continually showcases the unique ecosystems and wildlife. Taking fly camping to a different level, your local Maasai crew will look after your every need. Hot showers at the end of a great day of walking followed by a scrumptious meal around the campfire, you can’t get better than that.
Accommodations both within the reserve and the private conservancies include traditional mobile tented camps; comfortable, often luxurious semi-permanent safari camps; and more modern lodges.