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Masai Mara, Kenya

12 Days

The Mara

The Mara, also known as Maasai Mara and sometimes spelled Masai Mara, is a national game reserve located in Kenya’s Narok, adjacent to Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Named in honor of the Maasai people, who were the area’s original inhabitants, this reserve is renowned for its remarkable wildlife conservation and wilderness, particularly for its large populations of cheetah, lion, African bush elephant, and leopard. The area’s “spotted” terrain is due to the short, bushy trees that dot the landscape, as described by the Maasai people.

The Masai Mara is part of the Serengeti ecosystem, extending from northern Tanzania to southern Kenya, covering an area of 1,800 square kilometers. This well-watered plain ecosystem supports one of the heaviest densities of diverse animals on earth. There are more than 1 million wildebeests, 250,000 Thomson’s gazelles, 250,000 zebras, 70,000 impalas, and 30,000 Grant’s gazelles. You can also spot an enormous number of predators, including lions, leopards, cheetahs, jackals, and hyenas, on a Mara game viewing drive.

Apart from the wildlife, the Masai Mara is also home to over 470 bird species, including 57 raptor species. Every January, the wildebeests begin to move around the Serengeti towards the new, fresh grazing in the Maasai Mara, which is part of the Great Migration. This natural wonder has made the Masai Mara one of Africa’s Seven Natural Wonders and one of the world’s Ten Wonders.

Overview

The Maasai

Interestingly, the Maasai native people of the Mara, measure their wealth by the number of livestock they own. The Kenya Wildlife Service has left the reserve in the hands of the local communities, giving the Maasai pastoralists the right to graze their stock on the perimeters of this magnificent reserve. Although they lose some of their stock to wild animals, the Maasai coexist peacefully with the game and rely only on their cattle for sustenance.

Strolling down the Maasai villages on a walking safari in Masai Mara, you’ll be amazed at the Maasai’s manyattas—beehive huts made of mud and cow dung. You can even spot them at the entrances to the reserve. Mara safari lodges offer visits to traditional Maasai villages and homes. Although inevitably, these visits have become touristy, they’re still well worth doing.

The Maasai people are known for their striking appearance, characterized by red robes and braided hair dyed with ochre. When in Kenya, do not miss the chance to witness the Ipid. In this captivating dance, the warriors or morans take turns jumping high into the air. Be ready with your camera; this spectacle will surely leave you in awe.

The reserve is called Mara, a name given by the Maasai people, meaning “spotted.” However, it’s still unclear whether the term refers to the lush vegetation that dots the landscape or the numerous wildebeest and other game scattered throughout the reserve.

Itinerary

Our driver will pick you up from Entebbe International Airport (15 minutes) and check you in at your hotel within Entebbe. You'll meet with your gorilla trekking safari trip specialist for a briefing just before dinner.

Otherwise, we have optional activities around Entebbe to keep you active when you arrive early in the day. For example, birding around the botanical gardens, taking a walk to the markets, shopping, or a boat ride to Mabamba swamps to catch sight of the monstrous historical shoebill and hundreds of other rare African endemics.

Your private driver guide for the entire journey will pick you up from your hotel early in the morning to fit the road by 6:30 am. The long drive from Entebbe to Kisoro takes about 9 hours on a smoothly surfaced road. The last leg on a dirt road takes about one and a half hours through some of the most spellbound landscape views up to the lodge.

You'll stop for lunch en route at the traditional drum-making artists, the equator for Instagram moments. The driver will stop anywhere you hope to capture a great photography moment.

Your butler will ensure you are up and about by 7:00 am with a packed lunch, the right trekking gear, drinking water, and a walking stick. The Uganda gorilla trekking excursion briefing starts at 7:30 am at the visitor's centre.

8:00 am: Your tracking guide and two gun-bearing rangers will lead you and six other tourists into the rainforest to find a habituated gorilla group. Time spent tracking the gorillas is relative, but once you find them, you can observe them for about an hour at a 10 meters distance. Alternatively, you can observe the gorillas for about four hours if you book a gorilla habituation pass.

Your time in the forest can not be pre-determined as every day differs from the previous. However, most trekkers are out of the jungle by 2:00 pm with a satisfactory grin.

We recommend a massage at the lodge spa when you return and a relaxing evening.

The fourth day of this short Uganda gorilla trekking safari has some optional activities to keep you active. Otherwise, you can chill at your forest cottage for a relaxing holiday.

Stay back at the lodge and relax, read a book, join a cooking class or take a walk around the property and talk to some locals.
Go back into the mysterious jungle to meet with the gorillas for a second time. Maybe join the rangers for the habituation experience that gives you more time with the gorillas. But remember, you must have pre-booked the trekking permit.
Drive down to Lake Mutanda for a traditional dug-out canoeing experience with some of the most enchanting views on the volcano lake.
Forest walk either on a Batwa Forest Trail or the Circular Trail through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest; this time not for gorillas but everything else ethereal about the jungle.
Go on a sundowner picnic on top of the world with 360-degree spellbinding views of the hilly landscapes. It's a walking distance from the lodge.
Staying at: Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

After breakfast, lazily get your bags and take another rural drive down the volcanic mountains through Kabale, Mbara cities to Entebbe. Here, you can freshen up for your late flight or stay another night in the lakeshore town.

In Entebbe, you can use our facilities at Papyrus guest house to freshen up for your international flight back home. Accommodation for this day is not included, though. But we can book you a room at your advice.

Accommodation (Optional): Papyrus Guesthouse

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch (packed).

General FAQs

What is the Rwenzori Mountain Range?

The Rwenzori Mountain Range is a stunning mountain range in Western Uganda that is home to the third-highest peak in Africa, Mount Stanley.

What is the best time of year to hike the Rwenzori Mountains?

The best time to hike the Rwenzori Mountains is during the dry seasons, from December to February and June to August. During these months, the trails are more accessible, and the views are better

How long does it take to hike the Rwenzori Mountains?

The length of a hike in the Rwenzori Mountains varies depending on the route and itinerary. However, most treks last between six and twelve days.

What are the physical requirements for hiking the Rwenzori Mountains?

Hiking the Rwenzori Mountains is a strenuous activity that requires a high level of physical fitness. It is recommended that you begin training several months before the trek and consult with a doctor to ensure you are fit for the hike.

What gear do I need to bring for a hike in the Rwenzori Mountains?

You will need to bring appropriate hiking gear, including sturdy hiking boots, warm clothing, rain gear, and a backpack. It is also recommended that you bring your own sleeping bag.

Do I need a guide to hike the Rwenzori Mountains?

Yes, it is required to have a guide when hiking the Rwenzori Mountains. Guides are trained to navigate the terrain and ensure your safety during the hike.

How much does it cost to hike the Rwenzori Mountains?

The cost of hiking the Rwenzori Mountains varies depending on the route and itinerary. However, most treks range from $1,500 to $2,500 per person.

Is altitude sickness a concern when hiking the Rwenzori Mountains?

Yes, altitude sickness can be a concern when hiking the Rwenzori Mountains. It is important to take your time and acclimate to the altitude during the trek.

What is the accommodation like on the trek?

Accommodation during the trek is typically in mountain huts or tents. The huts and tents are basic and do not have electricity or running water.

Is it safe to hike the Rwenzori Mountains?

Yes, hiking the Rwenzori Mountains is generally safe. However, it is important to follow the guidance of your guide and take necessary safety precautions during the trek.

What to eat:

  • High energy and nutrient-dense foods are recommended for hiking in the Rwenzori Mountains.
  • Pack snacks such as nuts, energy bars, and dried fruits to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
  • For meals, the lodges and camps on the mountain offer a range of options including rice, pasta, soups, stews, and grilled meats.
  • Vegetarians and vegans can also be accommodated with meals such as vegetable stir-fry and lentil curry.
  • It’s important to stay hydrated, so make sure to bring plenty of water or a water filtration system.
  • Avoid eating or drinking anything that hasn’t been properly sterilized or cooked, to reduce the risk of food poisoning or water-borne illnesses.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Masai Mara, Kenya
  • Hotel
  • 3 nights in Hotels, 1 nights in Special Stay
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Dinners
  • Expert Trip Manager + Driver Team + Local Guides
  • 2 - 38

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