The Masai Mara is without a doubt one of Africa's most iconic wildlife areas, drawing many tourists from around the world each year. Regardless of whether you are wanting to witness the Great Wildebeest Migration during the peak season or if you're simply wanting experience the raw beauty and diversity of the region out of peak season, the Masai Mara provides the ideal springboard to explore a treasure chest of other destination.
We've chosen 5 of our favourite areas that we feel you should consider visiting along with the Masai Mara. Lets be honest, whilst you're there you may as well make the most of it!
Amboseli National Park, Kenya
Why we love Amboseli
Amboseli is famous for being the best place in Africa to get close to free-ranging elephants among other wildlife species. It is also offers spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world. A true African icon.
Amboseli's elephants will delight you and provide a complimentary experience to your time spent in the Masai Mara where elephants do not occur in large numbers. Its not all about the elephants though as the plains game and predators (especially lions) are seen frequently.
Amboseli has an endless underground water supply filtered through thousands of feet of volcanic rock from Kilimanjaro’s ice cap, which funnel into two clear water springs in the heart of the park.
Getting There: Amboseli is a 90 minute flight directly from the Masai Mara (or vice versa).
Samburu National Reserve, Kenya
Why we love Samburu
Palm groves and riverine forests, in the midst of arid and semi arid ecosystems, create the magnificent landscape of the Samburu National Reserve. This vast expanse of remote pristine wilderness is inhabited by iconic wildlife and a tranquil ambiance blankets this wildlife haven.
The traditional homeland of the Samburu people, this arid terrain features northern Kenya’s biggest river, Ewaso Nyiro. Quenching the thirst of the abundant wildlife that roam this reserve, the Samburu people were lured to this area due to the reliability of the Ewaso Nyiro that provides water for their herds. The river courses through Samburu National Park, Shaba National Reserve and the Buffalo Springs National Reserve to the south.
Home to the rare northern special five species (Grevy zebra, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk and the beisa oryx) this craggy, rugged region unfolds a romantic, awe-inspiring safari experience. Captivating Samburu elephant herds saunter over this game rich reserve and big cats prowl through thick acacia forest.
Samburu is an entirely different world to what you would have experienced in the Masai Mara both from a species and habitat perspective and, if its diversity that you're looking for, Samburu will be a great choice.
Getting There: Getting to Samburu would require an early morning departure by air from the Masai Mara back to Wilson Airport in Nairobi before connecting almost immediately for a 60 minute flight to the North of Nairobi.
Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya
Why we Love Lake Nakuru
Lake Nakuru is among Kenya's finest national parks. Flanked by rocky escarpments, pockets of acacia forest and at least one waterfall, the park is gorgeous year-round and is home to both black and white rhinos, lions, leopards, hippos and endangered Rothschild's giraffes.
Rising water levels in 2014 forced the park's famous flamingos to flee, although a small number have returned, and the lake is now hauntingly surrounded by drowned trees.
If you missed seeing Black Rhino in the Masai Mara and they are on your list, you're almost guaranteed a special sighting of either the White or possibly even the Black Rhino during your stay at Lake Nakuru National Park.
Getting There: Lake Nakuru National Park is an easy drive from Nairobi and, depending on your arrival time in Nairobi from the Masai Mara, we would suggest an overnight stay in Nairobi prior to departing
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda or Rwanda
Why we Love Gorilla Trekking
Gorilla trekking has been described by many as a life-changing experience and is certainly one of Africa’s bucket-list experiences. It makes sense that one should consider extending their time on safari to include a visit to see these fascinating creatures.
Although tracking mountain gorillas can be conducted all year round in these two countries (Uganda & Rwanda) due to the somewhat damp seasons experienced by the national parks in which these gorillas stay, the majority of tourists prefer visiting from June to September as well as from December up to February.
Getting There: Accessing either Uganda or Rwanda from Nairobi is very straight forward and one may even be able to connect out on the same evening as the departure form the Masai Mara before overnighting in either Entebbe or Kigali. We prefer to play it safe and maximise your time in the Masai Mara by having our guests overnight in Nairobi before heading to Uganda.
The Kenyan Coastline, Kenya
Why we Love Diani
Surrounded by the breathtaking Indian Ocean, soft white sands, lush greenery and the striking shade of emerald blue that emerges from its clear warm waters, Diani is Kenya’s most relaxing retreat. It is the perfect place to get away from the stress of everyday life or to relax before and after an exciting safari.
With its 17 kilometers of beautiful, flawless, soft white sand, Diani Beach has been awarded the best beach destination in Africa for 5 years running and is popular with families, honeymooners, backpackers and water-sports enthusiasts alike. From visiting its marine national park, diving with dolphins and sea turtles, spotting whale sharks, kitesurfing, skydiving and nightlife, Diani offers a range of activities for all ages.
Diani boasts a wide range of resorts, hotels, B&Bs and budget stays. From the backpacker to the luxury traveler, everyone can find the ideal retreat. We love the Sands at Nomad though and have included this in our suggested itinerary below.
Getting There: There are daily flights from the Masai Mara out to Diani which means that you can be watching cheetah hunting Gazelle on the plains of the Masai mara in the morning and enjoying cocktails on the beach that same afternoon.