As amazing as the height of the migration is, it also means that there are many others thinking the same thing. One of our favorite times to visit the Mara is towards the end of the migration, towards the end of September and early October. This time of year is also spectacular for photography due to the rains, the light they bring and the game viewing is amazing.
The Mara, part of the same ecosystem as the Serengeti in Tanzania and divided only by the country borders, is world renowned. There is no other location in the world where a migration of the magnitude of the wildebeest migration takes place.
We stayed at both of Atua Enkop Africa’s Mara Properties; Mara Ngenche Camp & Tipilikwani Mara Camp. Both camps are in keeping with the Atua Enkop Africa brand, with Ngenche being the more exclusive of the two and literally outside of which we saw the crossing.
Mara Ngenche Camp, situated in the heart of the Mara at the point where the Talek and Mara rivers meet, has a total of 10 ‘tents’ or rather 5* luxury rooms under canvas… a freestanding bathtub and outdoor shower complement the rest of the room which is finished with a four poster bed. In addition, each room has its own plunge pool with a hammock close by for an afternoon nap while at night you sleep to the sounds of the hippo. The food is flawless and when you visit the kitchen you wonder how this standard of food is served from the small camp kitchen – truly exceptional. Breakfast and lunch are served overlooking the river while dinner under candle light in the dining tent. This should be your choice for a small group of friends, couples or lone travellers who are seeking the highest standard of service in a spectacular setting.
Tipilikwani Mara Camp, situated on the Talek River has access from either Talek or directly from the park over a bridge. The camp is larger with 20 tents however; due to where they are situated you do not realize there are even close to 20. The main area which houses the bar, living area and dining area overlooks the park and you can often see giraffe or other plains game on the banks of the river. The ‘tents’ are huge and offer either a king size double bed or two queen size beds and all overlook the river. The camp has also recently built a swimming pool including a smaller section for children. For families this camp is perfect, in addition for larger groups is ideal as has many locations for different dining options.
Our trip started with a herd of elephants in the most amazing light walk right past our cars. The elephants in the Mara seem to stand out, more so than other parks for some reason. When we turned our heads, two hyenas were killing a baby antelope…gruesome experience if I am completely honest!
We were spoilt on every game drive, seeing the Big Cats each time often either hunting or enjoying their kill. One morning we watched the 5 male brothers (well one ‘step brother’) on the move… followed by a male lion peeking at us from the bushes. The same afternoon, the elusive leopard was spotted sitting right on the side of the road enjoying his dinner.
The Masai Mara is an unforgettable experience and there is a good reason why, if time allows for only one park during your visit to Kenya, this is generally on the top of the list.
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