The magic of the Maasai Mara


To visit the Maasai Mara is to experience the original spirit and essence of ‘safari,’ reminiscent of a golden era of romance, professional guiding, adventure and elegance. The Mara is a timelessly unspoiled wilderness with endlessly beautiful views, boundless game animals, and colourful birdlife. It remains the home of the Masai people and small clans of Ndorobo, the traditional hunter-gatherers of East Africa.

With every new sunrise over the grassy savannah and forested hills, the potential for incredible moments to unfold and memories to be created is refreshed, as each day is so often dramatically different to the next. Throughout your safari in the Maasai Mara, you will find and be transformed by the magic of this stunning piece of wilderness.

Celebrate the joy of living

There is something about being completely immersed in the bush that makes you profoundly grateful and exhilarated to be alive. Whether tucking into a picnic lunch while surrounded by birdsong in the trees and beautiful scenery of the plains beyond or learning from your camp guide about the fascinating ecosystems and the creatures that inhabit them, the Mara teaches you to celebrate life fully.

And what is a celebration without fun! You don’t even have to go far to find it while on safari as there are always entertaining activities to be enjoyed back at your camp. There is added excitement when you get to learn a new game or skill from your hosts who, in the Maasai Mara, will likely be members of the Maasai community. Try your hand at spear and rungu throwing, hit the path running alongside a Maasai warrior or take a leap as straight and high off the ground as possible. These are some of the competitions that are designed to reflect traditional warrior prowess.

A blissful day in the Mara is as much about slowing down and relaxing as it is about flexing your ‘warrior muscles’ in traditional Maasai games. In the tranquility and seclusion of the wilderness, your mind, body and soul have the time for rejuvenation of the kind that is transformative and long-lasting. Nature has a special, holistic therapy that it unknowingly bestows on us, inspiring gratitude for the simple pleasure of living. It is something worth toasting to on your Kenyan safari.

Practise self-care in the 7th Natural Wonder of the World

The last thing you want to feel when getting back home is that you need a vacation after your vacation. Prioritising your happiness and well-being overall during your Kenyan safari is about finding the right balance between activities that promote relaxation and those that are exhilaratingly adventurous. Why else go on holiday than to come away feeling healthier and better than when you checked in.

Taking a pause in everyday life looks different for everyone who chooses a safari in the Maasai Mara. For you, it might be a pampering massage and spa treatment after your morning game drive or relaxing on a pool lounger with that book you’ve been wanting to read for ages but simply haven’t had the time. Someone else might prefer something a little more active yet equally peaceful, like a yoga session that tunes you into the stillness of nature or a guided bush walk that allows you to gently stretch your legs.

Whatever it may be, self-care on holiday is about putting you first so that you get back feeling refreshed and in a better frame of mind to take on the challenges life may throw at you. Being in the Maasai Mara is about so much more than just being able to tick the destination off your travel bucket-list. Rather, this is a safari that encourages you to appreciate and join the pace of the wilderness through a variety of different experiences.

Become part of something bigger

As many of Africa’s wildlife species continue to face poaching, habitat destruction and conflict with humans, there are growing numbers of people who are working tirelessly to protect them. The Maasai Mara is one of the key wild areas in East Africa to witness people who are dedicating their time and energy to protecting and rebuilding healthy populations of the continent’s most endangered animals.

In just 30 years, more than half of the vulture population in the Maasai Mara has been decimated, seven of Africa’s 11 vulture species are on the edge of extinction, and 90% of reported vulture deaths in Africa are from medicinal use and poisoning. Learning about vultures, their importance within ecosystems and the process of rehabilitation is an inspiring experience, even for those who are not avid fans of these particular types of ‘feathered friends’.

At the forefront of conservation efforts are those communities that share these spaces with their wild counterparts and understand the critical importance of protecting them. The all-female conservation ranger unit in the Maasai Mara is an inspiring example of the intersection of community empowerment – and particularly marginalised groups – and conservation initiatives. Part of your safari experience in the Maasai Mara is learning about and plugging into something much bigger than yourself and your world back home.

Take action to make a meaningful difference

If you want to, you can engage and do more to make a meaningful difference during your safari holiday in the Maasai Mara by getting actively involved in community development, environmental sustainability, and wildlife conservation programmes.  Choosing a safari camp or lodge that supports such projects ensures you are travelling responsibly by giving back in ways that are most needed.

And giving back doesn’t only mean making monetary donations. Active involvement can be, for example, by participating in reforestation seed dispersal in the bush and buying locally crafted items at the market – rather than mass-produced souvenirs –  while visiting a Maasai community. You are supporting environmentally conscious practices and social entrepreneurship in a sustainable way.

The Maasai Mara is an enchanting world that is full of natural beauty, vibrant wildlife and inspiring people. From gorgeous safari lodgings to unforgettable animal encounters and unique experiences that can be romantic for honeymooners and fun for families, this wild place has something to offer everyone, safely and privately.

Calvin Cottar is Director and Owner at Cottar’s 1920s Safaris. Cottar’s 1920s Safaris is an award-winning luxury 1920s safari camp and private bush villa located in the famous ‘seventh’ natural wonder of the world, the Maasai Mara in Kenya, and owned and managed by the oldest established and continuing safari family in Africa.

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Comments (2)

  1. Jenny Parker says:

    If you’ve flown several thousand miles and bounced along some of Africa’s rickety tracks you are not going to be in the best of conditions when you finally arrive at your camp. Getting a massage as soon as possible is a great idea. All the tension and pressure seems to get coiled up in my neck and shoulders, so I find that a massage usually helps.

  2. Graham says:

    It must be over three decades ago that I visited the Masai. From reading this it seems to me that a lot has changed. It looks to be far more of an immersive experience where you get closer to the people. When I visited I did feel like a tourist just flitting through.

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