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Which Masai Mara Conservancy?

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Tasmania, Australia
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Which Masai Mara Conservancy?

I was wondering which of the conservancies surrounding the Masai Mara National Reserve is better for a) overall game viewing, b) watching the wildebeest river crossings, c) pristineness of wilderness, and d) general scenery?

I'm quite a way off from doing a trip as I'm recouperating from illness, but I am using the dreaming/planning process as therapy :-)

I figure I'd choose the environment/Conservancy first, and accomodation second. I'm more likely to go for accom with smaller numbers of guests, that is aesthetically pleasing and blends in nicely with the environment (not great big ugly structures that house lots and lots of people). Obviously the main reason I'd be going is to view the natural wonders, not the people :-)

I'd love to hear what people think, and thank you very much.

canada
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11. Re: Which Masai Mara Conservancy?

Interesting reading, as I was just told by a company who I had queried about a combo Tanzanian/Kenya safari trip for Feb 2014 with a request for a few days stay at samburu Saruni and Naibosho(on recommendation of friends)..... that conservancies "are artificial environments, not the real thing, and you might as well go to a zoo and save time and money. ,!! Comments please !

london
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for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
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12. Re: Which Masai Mara Conservancy?

kbj- that sounds like terrible advice to me. The Mara conservancies (and I've been to Mara North and Naboisho) are adjacent to the national park, and aren't fenced so the animals are free to move. They're just like an extension of the park. The only differences in the experience are all positive- because the conservancies are private, only the camps based there are allowed to drive there so there are much fewer vehicles. There's nothing zoo like about them- if anything, I found them less so than the main reserve.

I've not been to Saruni Samburu, but my understanding is that it's the same situation there.

edinburgh
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1,568 posts
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13. Re: Which Masai Mara Conservancy?

Whether it is green or not the gnus are in the Mara with the zebra from June until October or early November!!

We have done over 16 safaris in the Mara at different times of the year and have always seen a crossing.

Again you have to have done to see.:)

canada
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19 posts
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14. Re: Which Masai Mara Conservancy?

Thanks stokeygirl for the reassurance. We had been thinking conservancies because we thought less tourists and helping the communities at the same time was a win win situation. Having never been to Africa, we really are dependent on advice from others... So thanks again.

Nairobi, Kenya
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4 posts
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15. Re: Which Masai Mara Conservancy?

kbj - stokeygirl is spot on: bad advice. It's the National Reserve you want to avoid - this is where you will see herds of minibuses and the number of camps and lodges means that both wildlife are harassed and the ecosystem as a whole is damaged. The conservancies are the only places where you will get an authentic safari experience. I posted this link some time back: www.maasaimaraconservancies.com. It's not every conservancy in the Mara, but certainly the best.

canada
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16. Re: Which Masai Mara Conservancy?

Thanks BwanaTusker for your comments too. Really appreciate everyone taking the time to respond! We wondered if the company owner who made the comments was perhaps not able to book into the conservancy lodges and was trying to get us to go where he wanted. Not sure how that all works.

London
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17. Re: Which Masai Mara Conservancy?

I just got back from a safari in Olare Orok Conservancy and saw much more game than I have ever seen in the Masai Mara proper. We stayed at a new camp called Ol Kupelia which is in a fantastic position for game viewing. Olare Orok seems to have very few tourist vans which is a good thing - last time we were in the Mara it was a bit overcrowded. I find the bigger lodges like Keekrorok a bit too much of a 'machine' where tourists are rolled on and rolled off. The smaller lodges in the conservancies are much more personal. Ol Kupelia and Kicheche are both great options in Olare Orok.

London
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18. Re: Which Masai Mara Conservancy?

Just to add another comment on this issue, in the conservancies there are strict environmental rules, strict rules on the number of beds per acre and a total ban on white mini vans. The rules that all lodge and camp owners need to stick to keep the safari experience and impact on the environment to a minimum. This in turn is having an effect on the animals who seem to much prefer the conservancies too! The Masai Mara seems to have no such - or not enforced - rules which makes it much less of an authentic safari experience. I would suggest any of the conservancies are worth looking at.

Boston...
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19. Re: Which Masai Mara Conservancy?

I wonder if KBJCanda's friend's comments were based on experiences at game parks in other countries such as South Africa?

nyc
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20. Re: Which Masai Mara Conservancy?

I'd take the conservancies over the Reserve anytime. Besides, with a minimum 3/nts stay at a conservancy camp, included is 1/day into the Reserve for possible 'river crossings.'

On the conservancies, lots of game and as mentioned above with no fences they can wander anywhere. Many find their way to the conservancies as there are less vehicles and tourists.

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