Undoubtedly the highlight in every safari the Masai Mara teems abundance all year round: the famous Big Five, plenty of predators, plains game and others and not to forget the unique spectacle of the wildebeest migration. Equally ‘The Mara’ is one of Kenya’s busiest of safari regions –herds of up to 20 minibuses surround wildlife scenes, fighting for the best position. But happily, there are ways to avoiding those crowds and enjoy a unique safari experience. The greater Mara is home to about 25% of Kenya’s wildlife. Apart from the Masai Mara National Reserve many private wildlife conservancies and the Mara Triangle form the region. The National Reserve counts large numbers of economy-minded travellers with many lodges and camps inside and around the reserve. Private conservancies attract well-heeled visitors paying for truly luxurious accommodation. With game drives exclusively for guests, visitors are few – but often without big attractions. The Mara Triangle is an excellent alternative – with only a handful of options in- and outside the area targeting middle to higher class guests. The Triangle offers well maintained roads, clear off-road driving and game viewing rules –allowing only five vehicles per sighting and certain distances to be kept. Poaching is kept to a minimum, no cattle rustling and well maintained roads.
All this leads to an excellent game viewing experience for visitors while being in an area that is not overcrowded. The great migration is awe- inspiring and as a consequence, the Mara is busy in the peak migration season from mid-July to mid-October. The key point is to accept that to witness a river crossing; you are not likely to escape the crowds. If possible, arrange your visit slightly before or after this period – you still have the chance of witnessing a crossing (in recent years from mid-June to mid-December) but visitors are significantly less. The Mara Triangle is ideal for migration river crossings as most parts of the Mara River flow here, often featuring major crocodile action while still having less visitors. To get the most out of your safari, do not focus exclusively on the migration: there are always ways to avoid feeling crowded and there are many interesting animal sightings at any time of year. Our tip: Choose accommodation close to the Mara Triangle but not necessarily inside. This allows you to experience walking safaris and other activities permitted inside the reserves. Game drives can also take place in the private Mara North Conservancy – home to Leopard Gorge, a birthing and maternity ground for big cats made famous by the BBC. From December to May thousands of wildebeest migrate from the Loita Hills to Mara North.Smaller places offer individual services and flexible game drives. The experience to sleep in a tent with luxurious beds and still be very close to nature and hear zebras grazing next to your tent is a very special one.
Lastly: Your Guide on safari will make the difference. Make sure your guide has vast experience in the Mara. Ideally have a vehicle for yourself so that you can decide where you would like to go, what you would like to see, for how long and the guide can focus on your needs. Mara Siria Tented Camp & Cottages is perfect for an authentic safari experience. Perched on top of the Siria Escarpment offeringstunning views, the camp offers only twelve tents and two cottages. Individual service for every guest is guaranteed.Facilities include a lounge, a restaurant, a wine cellar and a plunge pool. The camp is located right outside the Oloololo Gate of the Mara Triangle and offers a range of activities that will turn an already unique holiday into a once in a lifetime experience: Nature walks, mountain biking trips – range from gentle rides to challenging adventures, horse riding, balloon safaris or helicopter flights and visits to a traditional Masai Village or school. Game drives range from early morning drives with breakfast out in the savannah (enjoying the opportunity to witness predators either hunting or feeding on their prey) to full day game drives – including a picnic.