The wildebeest and zebra found in the Masai Mara game reserve from around July till end of October are the star cast in one of the 10 natural wonders of the world in terms of travel. The migration is a unique event that takes place every year with nearly 2 million of these grazers and browsers traveling from the Serengeti plains towards the Mara, crossing the Mara River in pursuit of the green grass. They will make a return journey, again crossing the Mara River northwards back to the Serengeti.
Visiting Kenya on a beach vacation during this time of the migration can be a good opportunity to witness the great annual event. From the beach resorts on the Kenya coast, one can take a break to the Maasai Mara Game Reserve for the migration. Here I provide a few guidelines to achieve this.
Options for Safaris to Masai Mara from Kenyan Coast – Mombasa, Diani or Malindi
Safari By Road
It is possible to visit the Masai Mara from Mombasa or the Kenya coast traveling by road. This is however not possible on the same-day arrangement given the distances involved. To cover the over 700kms from Mombasa to Masai Mara, you would be driving for about 8 to 9 hours if your intention is to get there on the same day. Assuming you leave Mombasa very early in the morning, you will be getting to Masai Mara by sunset, hardly giving you anytime to view any wildlife. Not to mention the fact that you will be very exhausted from the long drive.
One way of doing this safari, if you are making these plans while already in Mombasa, is to arrange for an overnight stay on the way, either in Nairobi or Nakuru. Then proceed the next morning to the Masai Mara reserve to view the migration and get back to Mombasa in a similar way – resting in Nairobi before proceeding the next morning. You will need a minimum of 5 days to work out a safari program along this suggestion.
Another way is to allocate more days and do a safari that incorporates other Kenyan parks along the way to Masai Mara from Mombasa. For example, leave Mombasa and spend the first night in Tsavo East or West National Parks, then onwards for 1 night or 2 in Amboseli National park, another night in Nairobi or Lake Nakuru National Park before arriving the Mara Reserve for the migration spectacle. On the way back to Mombasa, plan for at least one more night in Nairobi before driving straight back to the coastal town. This arrangement would require about 8 days at the minimum.
Of course the better way of planning this tour, especially if you are making arrangements before traveling is to fly into Nairobi, do the Safari to the Mara before driving to Mombasa.
By Air – Flight Packages
If you are already on the Kenyan coastal resort towns of Mombasa, Malindi or Diani and would still like to see the great migration, then the best option is to do a flight safari from the coast to the Masai Mara. The flight safaris are also the automatic and ideal options for those who may not have many days to spare for the safari.
There are daily flights from Mombasa or Diani into Masai Mara. This allows for visitors to plan according to their time. You can pick from a wide range of packages ranging from a one-night safari package to whatever number of days you can afford. Tour operators offer a wide range of choices- from budget to luxury lodges and camps.