African Wildlife – Discovering MARA
The Mara, as African Wildlife’s biggest flora and fauna reserve, is affectionately known, constitutes the northernmost limit of the greater Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, where an abundance of Africa’s wildlife roams over the seemingly endless grasslands. A year-round destination with a temperate climate and seasons dictated by much rainfall, the African Mara wildlife safari never fails to deliver and is a truly breathtaking site for wildlife photographers, African wildlife safari enthusiasts, first-timers, and seasoned travelers as well.
The Maasai Mara
Named in honor of the Maasai people who dwell here call this beautiful corner of Africa home, the Mara habitat is world-renowned for its huge populations of big cats like a lion, leopard, cheetah, herds-a-thousand-strong of buffalo, home to the rare black rhino, and of course the big thriving elephants. In July each year, the Great Migration flies in for an annual four-month stay.
The Mara Triangle
This is an area west of the Mara River, beneath the Oloololo escarpment known called the Mara Triangle. This is not only the most productive part of the entire Serengeti-Mara ecosystem in the context of grass nutrition but is also spectacularly scenic.
In certain places, the grassy plains are dotted with widely spaced Balanites trees providing the landscape with an almost manicured look, which together with the steep-sided escarpment and broad Mara River, does provide a breathtaking and beautiful backdrop for enthusiastic wildlife photographers.
The Mara Triangle has been efficiently managing by the Mara Conservancy for the past 15 years – evidenced quite well in the guides’ discipline, successful anti-poaching efforts, and impressive road infrastructure. For the most part of the year, the Mara Triangle receives the lowest density of visitors in the Greater Maasai Mara, having just two lodges within its perimeters and a few on the northern border.
Covering an area of over 500 square kilometers, the Mara Triangle is the home to seasonal marshes, open plains, and gallery forest habitats, providing a suitable home for a great diversity of mammals and birds. In other words, this is Angama Mara’s wonderland.
The Wildlife Safari
A suitable home to the Big Five and the Great Migration where approximately two million herbivores risk their daily lives in a never-ending quest for long grass and this is just the start of the African wildlife on display in the Mara.
More than a thousand bird species are there to discover in a staggering diversity of habitats, where hundreds of different living creatures both great and small live alongside one another. For a true African Wildlife Safari enthusiast, there is another place quite like East Africa
This question is often asked, ‘When is the best time to visit the African Wildlife Adventure of Mara?’ To be frank, there’s not just one correct answer, as safari travelers traveling to the Mara assure of astonishing, breathtaking, and abundant wildlife sightings all year round.
For travelers and bird enthusiasts, who want to experience the Great Migration and the dramatic crossings of the Mara River, July till September or October are the best months to visit. Others do prefer a gentler time with fewer visitors and enjoy the Mara all by themselves, all together with the numerous resident and enthusiastic herds which quite rightly do not feel it necessary to leave this beautiful reserve by embarking on the annual trek to Tanzania.
Although the Maasai Mara is especially renowned for its proud family of lions (including the Angama Pride, situated just below the lodge), the other members of Africa’s Big Five including the leopard, elephant, buffalo, and black rhino are also quite regularly sighted, together with others like hyena, jackal, cheetah and the bat-eared fox, and of course, the beautiful Mara River is home to numerous pods of hippopotamus and also to some of Africa’s largest crocodiles.
Great photographic opportunities avail themselves with the topi standing perched on anthills, the Maasai giraffe moving gracefully across the plains, and both the Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelle’s grazing peacefully in Coke’s hartebeest in addition to impala and herds of lovely land, the continent’s largest antelope.
The Mara Triangle is home to more than 470 bird species, including 60 raptors such as vultures and martial eagles. The loveliest of them has to be the graceful crowned crane though, always found in pairs, together with the secretary birds in addition to the beautiful lilac-breasted rollers, long-crested eagles, superb starlings, pygmy falcons, and endangered ground hornbills, etc. to name just a few.
For guests and wildlife enthusiasts visiting Angama Mara in July and wanting to discover more of this beautiful country, the choices are truly limitless. One can fly north over flamingo-rimmed lakes of the Rift Valley to the land of the Samburu and Meru National Park, which was once home of Elsa the lioness, one can scale the peaks of Mt Kenya, discover the Swahili coastal culture in historical Lamu, can capture that iconic photograph of an elephant in front of Mt Kilimanjaro in Amboseli.
Apart from these, one must not forget to spend at least one day in Nairobi in order to visit the elephant orphanage and feeding a giraffe, and walking in the footsteps of Blixen and Finch Hatton at Karen’s lovely farmhouse. So much to do. So much to explore!
For those enthusiastic wildlife travelers who want to explore more of Kenya’s places after their stay at Angama Mara, it is an easy flight to just about anywhere. Like the sight of Amboseli with its famed views of Mt Kilimanjaro, Tsavo and the crystal clear waters of the Mzima Springs, Meru, Samburu, and Laikipia in Kenya’s northern territories, all filled with astoundingly diverse habitats, and Mt. Kenya with its beautiful snow-capped peak is find here too.
One must travel down through the Rift Valley to view the lovely reserves surrounding the Lakes Naivasha and Nakuru, swathed in a beautiful hue of pink from the thousands of flamingoes. Finally one can wrap his tour at one of Kenya’s beautiful beaches on the Swahili coast which truly makes for the adventure of a lifetime.
In the Heart of East Africa
One of Africa’s great Wildlife Safari journeys is to combine northern Tanzania and Maasai Mara. Starting at the world’s largest caldera, the Ngorongoro Crater is home to over 25,000 animals constituting one of the most beautiful wildlife havens anywhere in Africa. No wildlife traveler to East Africa should miss this extraordinary destination which is a place like no other. Then journeying eastwards across the mighty Serengeti, the perfect choice of where to stay is in a tented camp following the Migration.
One can wake up in the morning with nothing more than a piece of morning canvas between you and hundreds and thousands of wild beasts. Then crossing over into Kenya via the western border posts of the two countries, the travelers finally find themselves at Angama Mara high above the Mara itself. A perfect ending to a perfect wildlife safari.
For those African Wildlife Safari travelers wanting more, it is an easy flight from Angama Mara westwards to either Uganda or Rwanda, the home to Africa’s great apes including the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, and the endangered golden monkey to name but a few.
Geography of the Wild Safari
Where It All Begins
One must fly north from Angama Mara, and discover the limitless, endless land that is northern Kenya – the land of adventure. One must explore the flamingo-rimmed lakes of the Rift Valley, then visit Meru National Park – once home to Elsa the lioness. One can scale the peaks of Mt. Kenya, or just opt to relax on one of the private ranches in its shadow in Laikipia. One can also go camel-trekking with the Samburu or undertake a multiday helicopter trip to out-of-this-world Lake Turkana.
Kilimanjaro & The Swahili Coast
One must fly east from Angama Mara, towards Mt Kilimanjaro, exploring the Green Chyulu Hills that inspired Hemingway, capturing that iconic photograph of an elephant in Amboseli.
Beyond the highest mountain in Africa, is the exotic Swahili coastal culture in historical Lamu, and also the spice island of Zanzibar, a perfect ending to a perfect safari. Wildlife travelers are kept busy here exploring the historic town comprising of grand palaces, winding alleys, ancient mosques, and carved wooden doors, discovering charming fishing villages perched on the edge of pristine beaches and the impossibly blue waters. One can also travel even further east, to Seychelles.
Tanzania’s Famed Northern Circuit
One can fly south from Angama Mara, and travel into the deep heart of the mighty Serengeti. It’s the best thing to take one time here driving slowly through the world’s largest short grass plains and a beautiful home to more animals than ever Furthermore, lies the Ngorongoro Crater, and the flamingo-lined Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks waiting early to be explored
Land of the Apes
One can also fly west from Angama Mara to Africa’s great lakes and the countries of Rwanda and Uganda. Here the African Wildlife Safari travelers will have quite a thrilling experience observing some of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas, protected in their natural habitat.
Also waiting to discover by enthusiast travelers are the mythical Mountains of the Moon and the chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest and the Kyambura Gorge. In addition to these safari extensions to the west of Angama Mara offer a very very fresh perspective and best experience by the safari travelers before heading to the Mara.