travel guide Masai Mara

Roho Ya Chui, Swahili for "soul of leopard", your partner for innovative training solutions in combination with safari packages and wildlife photography.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 11 of 37

M a s a i M a r a & W e s t e r n K e n ya M a s a I M a R a M a s a i M a r a & W e s t e r n K e n ya g E T T I N g T H E R E & a W a y M a s a i M a r a & W e s t e r n K e n ya M a J I M o T o g R o U P R a N c H reserve's Narok and Transmara sections and on your eventual exit. all vehicles seem to get charged Ksh1000 at the gates instead of the Ksh400 fee for vehicles with less than six seats – be insistent but polite and all will be well. The only aTM in the area is a KcB one in Talek village (and note that KcB aTMs can be a little temperamental with foreign cards!), so come prepared with more cash than you think you'll need. For more on the Masai Mara and surrounding conservancies see the independent website 8 Getting There & Away AIR Airkenya (% Nairobi 020-3916000; www., Mombasa Air Safari (% 0734400400; www.mombasaairsafari. com), Safarilink (% Nairobi 020-600777; www. and Fly540 (% 0710540540; – flying under the name of SAX – each have daily flights to any of the eight airstrips in and around the Masai Mara. Flights start at Us$250 return. MATATU, CAR & 4WD although it's possible to arrange wildlife drives independently, keep in mind that there are few savings in coming here without transport or pre- arranged wildlife drives. That said, it is possible to access Talek and sekenani gates from Narok by matatu (Ksh500), and from Kisii a matatu will get you as far as Kilkoris or suna on the main a1 Hwy, after which you will have problems. For those who drive, the first 52km west of Narok on the B3 and c12 are smooth enough, but after the bitumen runs out you'll find there's just as much rattle as there is roll and you'll soon come to dread this road. The c13, which connects oloololo gate with lolgorian out in the west, is very rough and rocky, and it's poorly signposted – a highway it's not. Petrol is available (although expensive) at Mara sarova, Mara serena and Keekorok lodges, as well as in Talek village. 8 Getting Around If you do arrive by matatu, you can organise wildlife drives with most of the big lodges in and around the reserve (although you cannot do this with lodges inside the private conservancies) and even some of the cheaper camps. Typically they charge around Ksh12,000 to Ksh15,000 for a full day's vehicle and driver hire, which can be split between as many people as can be comfort- ably squeezed into the vehicle. There's no public transport within the park. Maji Moto Group Ranch Closer to Narok town than the reserve itself, Maji Moto (which translates as hot water and, true enough, there are some hot springs here) is a blissfully tourist-free, 600-sq-km group ranch. Its distance from the main Mara ecosystem, and the abundance of Maasai communities in the area, mean that wildlife numbers are far lower than in other conservancies, but this is a different type of conservancy, where the emphasis is as much on enjoying and learning about Maasai cul- ture as it is animals. If you want a totally dif- ferent kind of 'safari' experience, this could be the place. THE MASAI MARA AREA CONSERVANCIES Changing the face of conservation and tourism in Kenya are the private and community conservancies, many of which now border the Masai Mara National Reserve. Each con- servancy operates in a slightly different manner, but the general idea is to make tourism, conservation and the rights of local peoples work hand in hand to the mutual benefit of all. Mo conservancies involve the local Maasai landowners leasing their communal lands for an average of 15 years at a time to several high-end lodges. The Maasai are ill allowed to graze their cattle in the conservancies and receive a guaranteed income from each camp. In addition, all camps have to contribute to community-development projects. In return the wildlife is allowed to live in peace and the lodges can offer their clients a very exclusive kind of safari with minimal other visitors, as those not aying in the con- servancies are not allowed to enter. Visitors also get the opportunity to partake in activi- ties not allowed in the reserve itself, such as walking safaris and bush breakfa s. Entry fees to the conservancies are covered in the nightly co of accommodation. The co s and the necessity of keeping things quiet and exclusive preclude the availability of budget accommodation. However, prices include all meals, drinks, safaris, guides and other activities – things not always included with top-end places in the reserve proper. 1 2 0

Articles in this issue

view archives of rohoyachui - travel guide Masai Mara