A call comes over your guide’s walkie talkie, a crackling message that lions have been sighted and the jeep speeds off in a puff of dust in hot pursuit. It is just another hazy afternoon in the Masai Mara Game Reserve. As you approach the pride of lions basking lazily in the belting sun, you understand why this park with its abundance of wildlife, rolling plains and grasslands, was chosen as the location for making the film Out of Africa.
The park is in the south-western comer of Kenya, close to the Tanzanian border and roughly 275 km (171 mi) from Nairobi. Opened in 1974, the Masai Mara National Reserve comprises 1,510 sq. km (938 sq mi) of plains and woodlands and is Africa’s richest, and most visited, wildlife reserve.
The Mara’ is home to an incredibly rich and varied wildlife, and is renowned as the only reserve where you can view the ‘Big Five’ in a single morning’s game drive. From July to October you can also witness the amazing annual migration of more than 1.3 million wildebeest, zebras and gazelles front the Serengeti, quickly followed by lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas, together with the opportunistic vultures hovering above.
Hot-air ballooning is a favourite way to witness the majestic scenery and wildlife, particularly at sunrise. The experience of hovering above a seemingly endless parade of animals is an experience that will not quickly be forgotten. Afterwards, you can celebrate with a glass of champagne toasting your spectacular surroundings!
Traditional Masai villages, or manyattas, consisting of mud-covered straw huts are located in the north of the park. Here yon may walk around, take photographs and talk to the hospitable locals, who are dressed in bright red and adorned with colourful beads and jewellery.