Our African safari was truly one of the most exhilarating trips we’ve ever had and nothing like we’d ever experienced before. Awe-inspiring wildernesses, spectacular landscapes, sun downers in the Mara, sleeping to the sounds roaring lions, grunting hippos and cackling hyenas….it was just the perfect way to harmonise with nature.
The several options available for safari destinations can make planning a safari an overwhelming experience. We spent a considerable amount of time researching blogs, websites and speaking to different safari specialists to plan the perfect trip. We’ve decided to share our experiences & provide useful tips, which we hope you will find helpful.
This is Part 1 of our 4 part series on our African Adventure, where we will cover:
Part 1 – African Adventure – Why Kenya
All our research suggested that the Masai Mara would be a wonderful, year round safari destination and a fantastic introduction for first timers like us. Some of the aspects we considered which helped us in selecting the Mara were:
- Land or water based safari or both
- Witnessing the great migration
- High concentration of wildlife
- Extensive range of great accommodation options
- Direct international flight connections
Land or water based safari or both
Africa is a large continent and not always quick and easy to get around. A water based safari would have meant a trip to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, which we weren’t able to fit in within our 4 nights there.
However, if time and budget permit, it is advisable to combine a couple of different National Parks and / or Camps to maximise your time and experience in this incredible continent.
Witnessing the Great Migration
September is an ideal time to see a river crossing in the Mara, which is considered one of the wonders of the new world. During the Migration, hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, zebra and antelope negotiate the Mara river amidst hungry crocs and angry hippos in search for greener pastures. This is definitely one for the bucket list.
We used Expert Africa’s useful migration map to determine the likely location of the wildebeest migration and were not disappointed. We were fortunate enough to have witnessed this amazing spectacle twice, all thanks to our incredible guides who made sure we were at the right place at the right time.
High concentration of wildlife
Kenya boasts some of the highest concentration of wildlife, especially during the peak season of July – September. The Mara was teeming with animals when we were there. Lions, leopards, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, crocodiles, jackals, elephants, giraffes, zebras, topis, gazelles and of course the ever present wildebeest were some of the animal species that we saw.
Extensive range of great accommodation options
The Masai Mara has been welcoming tourists for years and as such, has an extensive range of options to suit all budgets. We stayed at the Porini Lion Camp for 4 nights and loved our time there. Read our separate post on accommodation options (Part 2).
Direct international flight connections
Nairobi is one of few cities in Africa which BA operates direct flights to. Most other cities require an additional connection through a European airport when flying from London.
Upon arrival into Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta Airport, travellers then have to make their way to Wilson Airport to catch their charter flight to one of the landing strips in the Masai Mara. Charter flights only operate a couple of times during the day, so this may require an overnight in Nairobi depending on your time of arrival into Jomo Kenyatta airport.
Have you been to the Masai Mara? We’d love to hear some of your reasons for choosing this iconic destination.