To be perfectly honest, as Online Marketing Manager for Tribes Travel I tend to spend most of my day embroiled in data, statistics and the more techie aspects of the travel world. I do, however, overhear a lot of conversations that our travel consultants have with clients and potential clients.

One such conversation that took place recently, involved an enquiry about a Masai Mara safari. It was so engaging and full of useful advice, that I thought I’d share it with you.

The really interesting parts of the conversation involved the benefits of staying in a Conservancy Area as opposed to the main Masai Mara Reserve.

The main Mara Reserve

When choosing a safari in the Masai Mara, there are two options. First, there is the Mara Reserve itself (the official government-owned park). There are some gorgeous small camps within the park, but many standard package safaris will involve staying in the Mara proper in a large lodge, with very timetabled and organised game drives.

In the main reserve, it can get very busy with other tourists and often the animals move away into to the conservancy areas for a bit of peace!

Conservancy Areas

The alternative to staying within the main park is to stay in a conservancy area adjacent to the park. There are no fences so the animals roam freely the whole Masai Mara region – including the conservancies. The wildlife is fantastic too all year round and there is a lot of wildlife which lives in the conservancy areas anyway.

Masai Mara conservancy area

Staying in a camp in the conservancies is a distinct advantage. The main plus is that there are far fewer tourists, as unless your camp is in the conservancy you cannot use the area for gameviewing. This gives you a more exclusive private game viewing experience. However should you want to go into the national park, that is allowed – so you get the best of both worlds.

In addition, you can enjoy night drives and bush walks in the conservancies which are not allowed in the national reserve.

Many more of the camps in the conservancies are able to structure days to visitors’ own requirements (though there are some very good camps in the park which do this too). So, for example, if you want to go out for a whole day you can, or if you want to see a particular species you can. In many cases you can also pay a little extra and have a car all to yourself and focus on exactly what you want to do. There is a flexible approach to activities which aims to avoid a regimented feel to game viewing, such as providing guests with the activities they want and at the time they wish.

I found this whole conversation quite fascinating, and I hope you find the information useful when choosing your next Mara safari.