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Mara Triangle
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Mara Triangle


... is the section of the Maasai Mara which lies between the Mara River and the western Oloololo Escarpment in Southwest Kenya.

At around 240 square kilometre, this substantial reserve is particularly scenic, with lovely open plains and acacia forests set against the dramatic backdrop of the Rift Valley.

These plains are home to a rich array of wildlife, including zebras, wildebeest, giraffes, impalas and elands. The herds are accompanied by the usual predators, including lions, cheetahs, leopards, spotted hyenas and jackals.

Along the banks of the Mara River itself there are substantial stands of riverine forest, which is home to animals such as buffaloes, hippos, elephants and baboons.

The Mara Triangle is probably the best area for migration river crossings during the Jul/Oct dry season, often featuring major crocodile action.

Unlike the much larger Maasai Mara National Reserve across the river to the east, the Mara Triangle is locally administered and attracts a hefty additional park fee.

The two sides of the river are connected by just two bridges, in the extreme north and south of the Triangle, but very few people are prepared to pay the double park fees to access both reserves.

Remarkably the area contains just one permanent accommodation option, the substantial Mara Serena Lodge, although it is possible to set out mobile camps here.

All of the other lodges in this area are located to the north, outside the wildlife areas, and are obliged to enter through the busy Oloololo Gate every time they want to head out on safari, which is a major downside.

When to visit ...

Jul/Oct ... is the classic time to visit Maasai Mara, the height of the dry season and the period during which the main wildebeest migration should be visiting from further south in the Serengeti. It is a very strong period for wildlife, although it is also the time at which visitor numbers peak.

Nov/Jun ... is the green season and rain showers can come at any time, although centred on Mar/May, when rain can really become quite heavy and prolonged. Unusually the wildlife viewing here remains strong throughout this period, although finding predators can become a little more challenging whilst the grass is long. Nov/Feb is a very nice and peaceful time to visit, although visitor numbers do of course rise over the Dec/Jan holiday season. June can also be very pleasant, although often with residual showers.

Where to stay ...

We now have over a dozen properties listed in this area, of which these are the standout options ...

Mara Serena Lodge ... is the only permanent facility inside the Mara Triangle, a very large and commercial lodge, but very reliable and offering prime access.

Maji ya Ngede Camp ... is one of a number of mobile tented rigs which we set out into this area on demand for the private use.

Kichwa Tembo ... is probably the best of the cluster of lodges outside the northern boundary of the Mara Triangle, relatively large, but stylishly designed.

Bateleur Camp ... is a very high quality smaller lodge, but way over-priced given its rather compromised location and modest build.

Kilima Camp ... is a reasonably high quality small camp on the top of the escarpment and relatively well priced.

Olonana Camp ... is a very well-serviced smaller lodge, although a little conventional in design and also too compromised by its location to be considered genuinely high quality.

For a full listing of lodges in the greater area please refer to the map link top left.

How we like to include the Maasai Mara in trips ...

Mara Triangle is a really prime slice of the Maasai Mara, arguably even better than the Mara Confluence across the river because it tends to experience less traffic.

But we tend to recommend it surprisingly rarely for inclusion in trips, primarily because of the shortcomings of the accommodation options here, which are only really oriented towards people who are happy to stay at a large hotel lodge.

The usual stay duration is 1 to 3 nights, usually in combination with at least one other camp in the private concessions of Mara North, Mara Olare Orok or Mara Naboisho further north, which offer a wider range of activities and are less exposed to traffic.

About a third of the visitors combine the Maasai Mara with safari areas across the border in Tanzania, such as Serengeti and Ngorongoro, sometimes also including a trek on Mount Kilimanjaro and time down on the Tanzania Coast.

A further third of visitors combine the Maasai Mara with other popular Kenyan safari areas such as Meru, Samburu, Laikipia North and Amboseli, sometimes also adding time down on the Kenya Coast or Zanzibar.

A remaining visitors only stay in the one safari area, combining it with work or other obligations in Nairobi or with a beach stay on the Kenya Coast or further afield in Zanzibar or even Seychelles, Mauritius or Dubai.

The Maasai Mara is rarely combined with the mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda, since these areas connect much more conveniently with the Serengeti.

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Tony Fishlock
Tony Fishlock, Finance Director
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