Hot Air Balloon over the Masai Mara
A hot air balloon over the Masai Mara is possibly the most incredible way to see this fantastic ecosystem. Get a better perspective of the area and admire the Masai Mara’s beauty from the sky. The hot air balloon departs from the Little Governors Camp just before dawn with the balloon rising as the first sunlight lights the Mara.
Enjoy the tranquility of a balloon ride as you float above the plains watching the wildlife below. See the forest and the rivers of the Masai Mara on a truly unique experience as we drift in the breeze. See why the Masai named this the ‘Mara’, which means ‘spotted’ as you see the circles of trees, shadows from clouds, and scrubland that create the beautiful scenery.
We will fly for about an hour spotting some fantastic sights and with ample time for many photographs and videos. In keeping with tradition of hot air balloon flights, on your return to land you will be greeted with a champagne breakfast cooked where you land. Your balloon safari will end with a drive back to either the Governors Camp, Little Governors Camp, Private Governors Camp, or IL Moran Camp ready for your next adventure.
The main event of your Masai Mara safari camp, game drives take you out and into the Masai Mara to search for the iconic animals. Accompanied with some of the area’s best and most highly trained guides, enjoy unmatched game viewing at some of the area’s best safari camps. Camps, such as the Governors Camp, Little Governors Camp, Private Governors Camp, or IL Moran Camp are located in the heart of the Masai Mara.
The best location on the Mara means access to the best wildlife and photography opportunities. At the above camps, enjoy custom designed 4×4 vehicles suited to this environment and game viewing, and highly trained drivers who have a love of the environment and have worked on the Mara for 40 years. You will enjoy two of these incredible game drives each day to spot some of the Mara’s fantastic animals.
All members of the Big 5 live on the Masai Mara and you have the possibility of seeing lions, elephants, cape buffalo, and rhinoceros, as well as giraffes, hippos, hyenas, Nile crocodiles, wildebeest, zebra, gazelles, antelopes, and more.
See the Wildebeest Migration
The wildebeest migration is an annual event where over a million wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle migrate from Tanzania to Kenya’s Masai Mara in a continuous cycle following the rains and fresh grass.
The migration often takes place between the months of July and October and is anticipated by hundreds of tourists and the Masai Mara’s predators alike. This is also the time when the wildebeest give birth and life echos all around the Mara. Life not only arrives with the birth of wildebeest, but also with the actions of predators and the arrival of lions and hyenas.
Enjoy a Luxury Stay at the Governors Private Camp
The Governors Private Camp allows a private and very comfortable experience of the Masai Mara. With the camp manager as your host, personal attention is the selling point of this exclusive camp.
The camp is positioned where many different animals come to drink and where the hippos bring their calves to enjoy the water. The surrounding forest is full of beautiful birds, such as trogans, hornbills, and turacos. The Governors Private Camp then provides some of the Masai Mara’s best guides to make the most of the wildlife-filled environment. The trackers are expertly trained to find amazing wildlife and you’re sure to see some of the Mara’s favorites.
The camp can be booked either individually to share the camp with others or can be booked exclusively by one group to occupy 6 of the tents to offer a premium and exclusive experience.
Enjoy Cultural Visits with the Maasai
The Maasai have been living on the Mara for a few hundred years and still live with traditional customs and traditions, albeit influenced a little from the modern world. While on the Masai Mara, you can visit a Maasai community and at the camps on this page you can see a specific community called Mara Rianda.
This is a community of 48 traditional houses surrounding an area for the Maasai’s cattle. This is a great place to visit if you’re interested in exploring the Maasai culture to enjoy traditions and customs that have remained as they are for centuries.
Visitors are often struck by the colorful lifestyle of the Maasai and the camps mentioned have an outreach program helping to conserve surrounding forests, and providing a reliable source of fuel for the community. A biogas plant collects methane gas from the cow dung in the center of the village. This not only helps keep the area clean but also provides a much needed energy source without turning to the forests for fuel.
Your visit to the community helps fund this ongoing project by way of an entrance ticket. Money from community visits has also helped built a nursery school for 120 children. The system also helps purchase food in times of need and can support 98 different families of 300 people in total.
Visit the Mara River
The Mara River is one of the documentary world’s most famous because of the annual wildebeest crossing and the abundance of Nile crocodiles. The river begins in Kenya’s highlands then drains into Lake Victoria, the world’s largest tropical lake.
This is a very important water source for animals along the Mara River and grows to double its usual size after heavy rains. The animals you can find here include bird-life, hippos and crocodiles and the river is found in the heart of the Masai Mara National Reserve. A great camp to enjoy the Mara River is the Governors Camp, which is positioned in the forest on the river bank and was once reserved for Kenya’s colonial Governors.
The river is mostly known as the crossing the millions of wildebeest and zebra on their cyclical journey between Tanzania and Kenya as they follow the greener grass. Documentary crews often set up across the river to film as the wildebeest approach. Nile crocodiles then congregate at the crossing area waiting to catch their meal creating some spectacular wildlife footage.
Big Game walking safaris
A walking safari is a great way to get onto the Masai Mara in the same manner as early explorers. Enjoy exploring the area on foot with highly trained guides. As you are not longer inside a custom designed safari vehicle, enjoy more excitement as you explore the Masai Mara looking for some fantastic wildlife. The walking safaris are offered as an extra activity at the Little Governors Camp and your walk is followed by a full cooked champagne bush breakfast.
The Little Governors Camp offers a luxury safari camp with a little more exclusivity than the Governors Camp. There are 17 luxury en-suite tents around a large watering hole, which is a perfect spot to see wildlife. Because vehicles are left across the bank on the Mara River, enjoy a little more peace and quiet and hopefully some more wildlife sightings close to the camp itself.
The camps themselves have hardwood decks and large verandahs to watch the wildlife. This particular camp has become a favored place for a family of warthogs because of the lack of fencing. Because of its focus on sustainability, Little Governors Camp has been awarded a Silver Eco-Rating from Eco Tourism Kenya.
The Masai Mara is a great place for birdwatching with 470 birds to find. Although it’s the big animals that dominate people’s attention, there are some fascinating birds to find as well. Among the diversity, you can ostriches, the world’s largest bird, tiny sunbirds, and 46 different birds of prey.
The grasslands hide the ground hornbills, which are about the same size as a turkey, kori bustards, secretary birds, plovers, and white stalks. The swampy areas are then great places to spot different storks and cranes, such as saddle-billed storks scouting for catfish.
You can spot the goliath heron, which is the world’s largest, plus sacred ibis, yellow-billed storks, and great white egrets. There are many different kingfishers with seven species of giant kingfishers to see. You can usually spot these on the Mara River itself.
The vultures are then easy to spot as they zone in on lion kills and guests are often surprised by the sheer number of these birds to see. Several different vultures have been identified so far.
The birds of prey are often the favorites and you can see the large martial eagles over the Mara, which are the largest in Africa. These birds are so powerful that they prey on young impala and different birds. Not just a home of this giant, you can also find the tiny pygmy falcon at home here.
Visit Mfangano Island on Lake Victoria
The Mfangano Island is a land area in Lake Victoria to enjoy a relaxing experience after or before your experience of the Masai Mara. The completely different environment makes a fantastic compliment to your adventures on Africa’s savanna.
Lake Victoria is the world’s largest tropical freshwater lake and sits on the border of Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania in Africa’s Great Lakes region. The lake is drained by the famous Nile River and is home to around 200 different species of fish. The lake is extremely important for the regional economy with various industries relying on the water.
Because of it’s size, Lake Victoria is home to some beautiful geographical features, such as many different reefs and different Islands. If you choose, you can take tours from the camp to explore the region and see the beauty of Lake Victoria.
Mfangano Island Camp is a luxury Island retreat nestled in beautiful tropical gardens and provides exceptional views of Lake Victoria. The activities from the camp include fishing for introduced Nile perch, learning about the traditional island culture, bird watching to see some of the 350 different birds, visiting a historical site of ancient rock art, or simply relaxing in your luxurious Island camp.
Stay at Loldia House with Masai Mara airstrip
Loldia House offers a great place to explore the Rift Valley. With its own airstrip to the Masai Mara, the house is a fantastic place to begin your savanna adventure. Enjoy very comfortable accommodation and even see hippos and other animals grazing on the lawn.
The Loldia House provides an experience like an early African settler and allows you to enjoy early Kenyan country life surrounded by beautiful views. The house itself sits in a 6,500 acre private farm by Lake Naivasha, which itself is one of Kenya’s main attractions and offers tours to explore other areas in the Rift Valley. Other attractions you can enjoy from the Loldia House include Lake Nakuru, Hell’s Gate National Park, visiting Lake Bogoria, seeing a museum, and enjoying wildlife safaris.
Your can find the Loldia House near Nairobi and because of its airstrip it makes a great stopover before your visit to the Mara. You can enjoy a choice of accommodation, such as an old family house or different cottages dotted across the grounds. There are some very comfortable options, including a cottage ideal for honeymooners. The cottages are then surrounded by flower gardens or are positioned by the lake for fantastic views.
About the Author: Ash Card is a frequent visitor to the Tropics and has a passion for helping visitors get the best experiences from tropical locations. Ash is a contributor to both TourTheTropics.com and ThinkJungle.com writing about tropical destinations, rainforests and wildlife. Feel free to contact Ash for tour help in the tropics. When not helping tourists with tours and info, Ash can be found salsa-ing the night away or posing near waterfalls.