Location

Safari Lodge in the Mara Triangle

Mara Serena Safari Lodge is located within the Mara Triangle of the Masai Mara National Reserve, which is 320 kilometres and an approximately five-hour drive from Nairobi. The lodge is two kilometres from Mara Serena Airstrip with “meet and greet” and transfer services provided. If you require further information about the hotel or would like to book accommodation for an upcoming visit, please contact us today.

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Location

Mara Serena Safari Lodge is located within the Mara Triangle of the Masai Mara National Reserve, which lies 320 kilometres and an approximately five-hour drive from Nairobi. The lodge is two kilometres from Mara Serena Airstrip with “meet and greet” and transfer services provided.

About the Masai Mara National Reserve

World renowned for the breathtaking spectacle of ‘the greatest wildlife show on earth', the awe inspiring annual migration of the wildebeest, the Mara is Kenya's most visited protected area. Technically an extension of Tanzania's renowned Serengeti National Park, the Mara constitutes only 4% of the entire Serengeti ecosystem but its rolling grasslands, meandering rivers and towering escarpments offer one of the world's most rewarding and evocative wildlife arenas.

The Mara ecosystem hosts over 95 species of mammals. Highlights include: elephant, buffalo, hippo, Masai giraffe, topi, Coke's hartebeest, Grant's and Thomson's gazelle, zebra, impala, Kirk's dik-dik, bushbuck, waterbuck, red duiker, baboon, vervet monkey, blue monkey, red-tailed monkey, nocturnal bush baby, and tree hyrax. There are also more than 550 recorded species (5 globally threatened) of bird.

The Masai Mara is a National Reserve, an area where wildlife is protected and takes precedence over human activities, but where human habitation and domestic livestock is also permitted. Correctly referred to as the Masai Mara, the area is also known as the Maasai Mara: both spellings are technically correct but ‘Maasai' is more correctly used when referring to the Maasai people.

The Mara is divided into four topographical units: the Ngama Hills to the east of Keekorok and the Sekanani Gate; the Siria Escarpment, which forms the western boundary; the Mara Triangle, which lies between the Mara River and the Siria Escarpment; and the Central Plains, which lie between the Mara River and the Ngama Hills. The permanent Mara and Talek Rivers and their tributaries flow through the Reserve.

Between the end of July and November, over one and a half million wildebeest accompanied by half again as many zebras and gazelles, migrate from the short-grass plains of the Serengeti to fresh pasture in the grasslands of the Mara; thus creating one of nature's grandest spectacles. Moving in groups of up to 20,000 at a time they thunder across the plateau hesitating only briefly to cross the Mara River, where many fall prey to the waiting crocodiles. Towards the end of October they begin crossing back into Tanzania. The actual timing of the migration, however, is dictated by the weather and does not always run to schedule. The migration is a comparatively recent phenomenon, prior to 1969 only a few wildebeest spilled over from the Serengeti in exceptionally dry years.

Offering an abundance of herbivores, the Mara makes the ideal hunting ground for Kenya's famous ‘big cats' and hosts her largest population of lions. It also offers the best chance of spotting a leopard in the wild. Other predators include cheetah and spotted hyena. Historically teaming with wildlife, the Mara is famous for the large herds of elephant and buffalo that meander its plains; also for the fat pods of hippo that wallow in its mud-brown rivers. Other stars include the distinctive Masai giraffe, topi, Coke's hartebeest, Grant's and Thomson's gazelle, zebra, impala, Kirk's dik-dik, bushbuck, waterbuck and red duiker.

The Reserve also boasts plentiful Nile crocodile, monitor lizard, baboon, vervet, blue and red-tailed monkeys, nocturnal bush babies, and tree hyrax. Boasting over 550 resident and migratory species, the Mara shelters an incredible array of both regionally and globally threatened birds. Easily spotted on the plains are the common ostrich, secretary bird, ground hornbill and bustard (Kori, black-bellied and white-bellied). Also plentiful are crowned plover, red-necked spur fowl and helmeted guinea fowl, while along the rivers African fish eagle, Egyptian geese, yellow-billed stork, sacred ibis and blacksmith plover abound. The Reserve also boasts 53 species of raptors, to include augur buzzard, black-shouldered kite, bateleur eagle and 6 species of vulture. The Reserve is the only place in Kenya where you can see the rare Schalow's turaco.

The Mara's plains are dominated by Themeda triandra (red oat grass) and following the rains the lush grasslands burst briefly into brilliance with a glorious array of small flowering plants, such as the charming pink, orange or mango-coloured Crossandra subacaulis, the so-called ‘tissue paper flower' (Cycnium tubulosum), the stunning fire ball lily (Scadoxus multiflorus) and the glorious pink and white striped pyjama lily (Crinum macowanii).

About the Maasai People

Perhaps the best known of Kenya's tribes, the Nilo-Hamitic Maasai are a nomadic people whose style of life has remained essentially unchanged for centuries. The daily rhythm of life revolves around the constant quest for water and grazing for their cattle. Thought to have migrated to Kenya from the lower valleys of the Nile, the Maasai are distinguished by their complex character, impeccable manners, impressive presence and almost mystical love of their cattle. The latter is based on the Maasai belief that the sky god, ‘Enkai ‘, was once at one with the earth. When the earth and the sky were separated, however, Enkai was forced to send all the world's cattle into the safekeeping of the Maasai where, as far as the Maasai are concerned, they have remained. Brave and ruthless warriors, the Maasai instilled terror in all who came up against them, most especially the early explorers. ‘Take a thousand men' advised the famous explorer Henry Stanley when speaking of the Maasai, ‘or write your will'.

Today, cattle are still the central pivots of Maasai life and ‘I hope your cattle are well' is the most common form of Maasai greeting. The milk and blood of their cattle also continue to be the preferred diet of the Maasai people, while the hides serve as mattresses, sandals, mats and clothing. Cattle also act as marriage bonds, while a complex system of cattle-fines maintains the social harmony of the group. Visually stunning, the Maasai warrior with his swathe of scarlet ‘Shuka' (blanket), beaded belt, dagger, intricately plaited hair and one-legged stance remains the most enduring icon of Kenyan tourism. That said, many a modern Maasai dons a suit for work, but come the weekend, and he'll be back in his beloved traditional dress.

Safari Health Tips

  • Drink plenty of bottled water.
  • Rest, drink and eat before you need to.
  • Avoid sunstroke or sunburn; protect yourself with clothing, hats and ultra-violet barriers.
  • Remember that the sun is more powerful at altitude and is capable of burning through both cloud and haze.
  • In the case of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, cool yourself with shade and/or cold water, take ample fluids and if necessary take Aspirin to lower your temperature and relieve headaches.
  • Protect yourself against malaria: which is a serious risk all year round in all areas below 2,600 meters above sea level. Observe the following precautions:
  1. Take preventative measures against infection, in the form of prophylactic tablets (consult your doctor for full details).
  2. Avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, malaria-carrying mosquitoes bite from dusk until dawn, so be especially vigilant between these times.
  3. Wear light coloured clothing, long trousers and long-sleeved shirts in the evening.
  4. Use effective mosquito repellents and sleep under a mosquito net.
  5. Avoid using perfumes or aftershave.

About Tanzania

The United Republic of Tanzania (Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania) is situated in Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Kenya and Mozambique. Tanzania's climate is predominately tropical. Coastal areas are usually hot and humid, but on the beaches a sea breeze cools the air considerably. The average day temperature is 30°C. Tanzania has two rainy seasons - the long rains from late March to June and the short rains from November to January. The long rains fall in heavy downpours, often accompanied by violent storms, but the short rains tend to be much less severe. The hottest time of the year is from December to March, before the long rains begin. The coolest months are June, July and August, when the weather is often overcast. In high-altitude areas such as Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro Highlands, temperatures can fall below freezing.

Tanzania has over 120 ethnic groups. Mainland - African 99% (of which 95% are Bantu consisting of more than 130 tribes), other 1% (consisting of Asian, European, and Arab); Zanzibar - Arab, African, mixed Arab and African. The landscape of Tanzania is made up of plains along the coast; central plateau; highlands in the north. Kilimanjaro (5, 895 m) is the highest point in the country and in Africa. Tanzania is bordered by three of the largest lakes on the continent: Lake Victoria (the world's second-largest freshwater lake) in the north, Lake Tanganyika (the world's second deepest) in the west, and Lake Nyasa in the southwest.

The game parks of Tanzania have been set aside by the government as wildlife and botanical sanctuaries that enjoy a high degree of protection and management. 25% of Tanzania is gazetted as national parks and reserves making conservation a major element in land use. Tanzania has more than 20 game reserves including the world's largest, the Selous. Five game reserves have been declared and there are about 50 game-controlled areas totalling more than 120,000 square kilometres. Forest reserves make up 15% of the country.

The East African plains support some of the last great herds of wildlife left in the world, offering a greater number and diversity of species than any other continent: Tanzania offers over 80 major species, including ‘The Big Five' (elephant, lion, buffalo, rhino and leopard), and 600 species of butterfly. From glacial mountain to savannah plain, semi desert to tropical rainforest, Tanzania's botanical versatility supports more than 1,000 bird species.

Tanzania is a safe country to travel in. Tanzanians are warm-hearted and generous people and are eager to help visitors get the most out of their stay. Tanzania is a politically stable, multi-democratic country. As in all countries, a little common sense goes a long way and reasonable precautions should still be taken, such as locking valuables in the hotel safe and not walking alone at night.

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