This is why you should be excited to travel to the Masai Mara

Having never been to the Masai Mara myself, one day seeing everything that there is on offer is a thrilling thought  for me.

When one thinks about the Masai Mara, immediately your first thought is the great migration. Hundreds and thousands of animals in line of sight is enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed. All of the sounds, the smells and the sight of the animals is simply breathtaking. Although I have never witnessed this myself, hearing stories from fellow colleagues and seeing pictures and videos is enough to make me dream big and aspire to witness this one day. 

However, there are so many more experiences that the Masai Mara has to offer. Here are a few moments and experiences that some of the Wild Eye guides shared with me about their time in the Masai Mara.

Masai Mara Wildlife Photography Workshop

“The Masai Mara is a truly special place. One which will lend its visitors to some of the most incredible game viewing imaginable.  This alone will be a highlight for many but to me, it is Dickson Sakaya and the rest of our East African family who make a safari in the Masai Mara extraordinary.  I can assure you that their welcoming and humble ways will be what remains with you far longer than any wildlife sighting ever will.  Join us and see your yourself.  Arrive a guest, within 10 minutes become friends and I can assure you by the time you depart you will be family.” Michael Laubscher

I have always been very fascinated in different cultures and I certainly feel that way about the Masai culture. The Enkishui Camp (the Wild Eye camp, located in the Masai Mara) is run by our East African family. Warm greetings after game drives, delicious food cooked in traditional ways, story telling about the Masai culture and just quality time spent with Dickson and the rest of the team will give you a unique insight and understanding of what the Masai Culture is all about. 

big cats & tuskers photo tour wild eye

“It is hard to think of a destination that delivers regular great sightings of predators like the Masai Mara. Every week you wonder if it could match the previous week and somehow it always does.  The Mara triangle is an absolute paradise for predators, both during the migration time and when the migratory herds are not present. This particular sighting is one that I will never forget!” Johan Van Zyl

I have always been a firm believer that safaris always start with the appreciation of the small things. The big five sightings are the cherry on top, however in a place like the Masai Mara where predator sightings come in abundances, you just have to take it all in and enjoy every moment with these animals. The type of moment I have always envisioned in the Masai Mara, is a beautiful dark maned lion with his mane wet from a thunderstorm, the vast green and lush grass stretching as far as the eye can see, he shakes his head and you get “that” photo. I have no doubt that the Masai Mara is the type of place where you could get such a photo.

“The great migration, and the gathering of the herds on the banks of the Mara river, makes for incredible photographic opportunities.  In order to create a nice diverse portfolio of your images from an experience like this you should consider not only using multiple focal lengths and apertures but also to make a point of trying a range of different shutter speeds.  You should most definitely bank some sharp, crisp images first but then start playing with slower shutter speeds to convey the dynamic nature of the scene. With the amount of movement at the bank of the river shutter speeds from 1/100 and slower will start giving you a good mix of sharp areas in the frame and some animals be blurred due to the movement. It’s fun, will give you something else to play with photographically and you will get home with a much more diverse and interesting collection of images.” Gerry Van der Walt

Photographing the migration speaks for itself and I can’t wait to witness that. Yet as a photographer, I believe there is a lot that we can learn when it comes to photography in the Masai Mara. You have such an array of photographic opportunities, whether it is taking landscape photos and wildlife photos or, like Gerry mentioned you have a chance to get some really creative shots. At the end of the day that’s what drives me to be the best at what I do, constantly wanting to learn more, and a trip to the Masai Mara will offer a person so much to learn.

I know for a fact that I am thrilled to get to the Masai Mara, and if you are a person that enjoys vast landscapes, outstanding game viewing and an overall once in a lifetime experience, then you should be excited to visit the Masai Mara too. 

We as Wild Eye offer two different types of experiences in the Masai Mara which are mainly distinguished by different times of the year. These experiences are: The Great Migration Safari in Kenya and The Masai Mara Experience Safari. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect from each Safari, both unique experiences in their own way.

Dates

  • First 3 weeks of July

Why Should you Visit:

  • Pricing is around 45% less than peak months.
  • Usually far less vehicles and visitors in the Mara during this period
  • You are hosted by one of the experienced Wild Eye Guides in the Wild Eye Mara Camp.

What To Expect

  • Migratory herds often start to arrive by the middle of July.
  • They cross the sand river and approach the Mara river from the Eastern side of camp and their constant bellowing normally signals that river crossings will be witnessed in the coming days.
  • With the arrival of the initial herds Predators become more active to take advantage of the prey species that have been absent for many months.
  • The grass is longer and provides excellent cover for predators
  • Crocodiles who have been dormant for many months, embark on a hunting frenzy when first herds arrive and cross the Mara river.

Dates:

  • End of July, August, September and the first week of October

Why You Should Visit:

  • This is the period when your chances of witnessing the dramatic river crossings made by the migratory herds are at their best.
  • Dramatic crossings aside, the sheer volume of wildlife present in the Masai Mara during this time of year is something quite spectacular.
  • You are hosted by two experienced Wild Eye Guides in the Wild Eye Mara Camp.

What to Expect:

  • The mega herds, in which 100’s and thousands of wildebeest start to arrive in the southern parts of the reserve, crossing the Tanzania border into the Mara Triangle.
  • The sight of these animals spread across many hectares of the open plains, as far as the eye can see, is one of the greatest wildlife spectacles imaginable.
  • Due to the amount of prey species, lion or hyena kills can often be witnessed.
  • The weather is normally dry during August which gives rise to very dusty river crossings, adding to the drama that can be captured in your images.
  • The massive herds constantly grazing on the nutritious grasses, reducing the height and making game viewing easier.
  • There are often localized thunderstorms that occur in the late afternoons and early evenings also adds to the opportunity of capturing great dramatic images with dark skies and spectacular cloud build ups as a backdrop.

Dates

  • Second week of October through to the end of November

Why You Should Visit

  • There is still a chance of experiencing smaller wildebeest and Zebra river crossings.
  • This is an excellent time of year to extend your visit to include Samburu and Amboseli National Parks
  • You are hosted by one of the experienced Wild Eye Guides in the Wild Eye Mara Camp.

What To Expect

  • In early October the herds have started to make their way back south to Tanzania.
  • There is still a substantial amount of wildebeest and zebra and, over the years , some of our more memorable river crossings have been experienced during this month.
  • By now the grasses have been grazed low to the ground and the opportunity to spot predators is far easier.
  • Photographing the animals make for far cleaner images as you don’t have to deal with "that blade of grass" running across your subjects face.
  • There is also a greater chance of seeing the smaller cats such as Serval and Caracal.
  • The reduction of vehicle pressure at river crossings is key and ensures that they don’t interfere with the event.

The Masai Mara Experience

The Great Migration Safari in Kenya

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