#Travel: This is why Maasai Mara needs to be on your bucket list

Photography by Tatiana Karanja
Photography by Tatiana Karanja

I’m just going to start by laying it all out on the table and assuming this is a safe space to do so.

Yes, I’m Kenyan. Yes, I’m 27-years-old. And yes, up until two weeks ago, I’d never been to the Maasai Mara.

“What kind of Kenyan are you?” would be most people’s response including Susan Wong who not only joined me on my first Mara trip, but has also been there 17,000 times in the 5 years she’s been living in Kenya. Go figure.

So how about we pretend that I had intentionally chosen to delay my trip for all these years allowing my anticipation to swell and the Mara charm to flourish; like a finely aged wine waiting to be guzzled.

Delayed gratification is a real thing after all.

Photography by Tatiana Karanja
Photography by Tatiana Karanja

8th Wonder of the World

Maasai Mara is no ordinary game reserve.

Not only is it home to the Big 5, but it also happens to be part of the ecosystem where the Great Wildebeest Migration takes place.

To be able to witness a migration of this magnitude is nothing short of an earth-shattering phenomenon. It’s no wonder this awe-inducing passage comprising of millions of wildlife (mostly wildebeest and a few gazelles and zebras) is often referred to as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World.’

The Mara Spell

Although I missed out on this spectacular movement (the migration takes place between July and October) I did get to see a fair share of wildlife and interacted with the Maasai community.

Photography by Tatiana Karanja
Photography by Tatiana Karanja

I learned how to start a fire without any lighters thanks to a Maasai and walked into a manyatta – a homestead built from the ground by the women – for the first time in my life.

And in case you’ve ever wondered what it must feel like to get a personal wake up call each morning from a pod of hippos bellowing and splashing right outside your tent at 6AM each morning, I think I may have just the place for you. We were staying at Fairmont Mara, which is surrounded by Mara River on three sides, allowing guests a perfect view of the hippos.

I’ve been to several game reserves in my lifetime and although all of them offer their own special experience, there’s a charm to the Mara that made it seem a little different from the rest.

And if you haven’t already, this is one other destination to add to your bucket list.

Happy travels!

Photography by Tatiana Karanja
Photography by Tatiana Karanja
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