Join us as we explore the northern-most limits of the Maasai Mara-Serengeti ecosystem in search of the resident lion prides, cheetahs and leopards plus the elephants, plains game, birds, ancient acacias and insanely gorgeous sunsets – all key ingredients in the quintessential Maasai Mara experience
Length: 6 days
Group Size: Flexible – you tell us how many in your party
Location: Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Departure Dates: To suit you within the following 2023 secret season period: 4 Jan to 30 April, 1 Jun to 14 Jul and 16 Oct to 19 Dec
This carefully crafted Maasai Mara itinerary is based out of Sentinel Mara Camp, a secluded tented eco-camp perched on the high banks of the Mara River in a cool riverine forest. The idyllic camp is filled with birdsong and butterflies while hippos honk in the river below and crocodiles lie in wait.
This area is renowned for its excellent cat sightings, with leopards, cheetahs and lions in abundance, while other exciting creatures to keep an eye out for include spotted hyena, serval, aardwolf, side-striped and golden jackal. Elephants, buffaloes, and giraffes are frequently seen, while the lucky guest might even see a black rhino.
Sentinel Mara Camp consists of seven large tents along the Mara River. Each tent is furnished with twin or queen beds, a writing desk and chair, bedside tables, canvas wardrobe, laundry basket, luggage rack, large wooden chest, canvas chairs and butlers tray on the covered verandah. There are en-suite facilities with hot showers and porcelain flushing toilets, as well as solar lighting in all tents, with the opportunity to charge phones and cameras in the lounge tent and vehicles. The tented mess area includes a lounge, bar and dining area.
2023 Secret Season: 4 Jan-Apr, Jun-14 Jul, 16 Oct – 19 Dec
Per person sharing
One child under 12 (sharing with adult)
Per child under 12 (sharing with another child)
Please enquire about our FAMILY-FRIENDLY AND GROUP SAFARIS: No minimum age, family rooms available, camp can be booked exclusively if 8 rooms are confirmed
Meet and greet at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, transfer to the hotel and Wilson Airport the following day. Charter flight to the Maasai Mara, airstrip transfers, and a final transfer back to Jomo Kenyatta from Wilson.
Bed and breakfast accommodation at a hotel in Nairobi with gym access. Full board accommodation and WiFi at Sentinel Mara Camp. This includes all drinks (except French Champagne and premium wines) at Sentinel Mara Camp, all entrance and conservation fees, laundry, all game drives in 4×4 safari vehicle, guided nature walks, all taxes and 24/7 office support.
International flights, visas, airport departure taxes, personal items, telephone calls, premium wines and French champagne, travel and medical insurance, tips, excess baggage charges, and any activities not specified in the itinerary.
On arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, you will be met by an Africa Geographic representative and transferred to Tamarind Tree Hotel - a comfortable and conveniently located hotel near Wilson Airport.
Overnight at Tamarind Tree Hotel
Shortly after breakfast, you will be transferred to Wilson Domestic Airport for your one-hour flight to the Maasai Mara Musiara Airstrip, which is within the national reserve and only a stone’s throw from Sentinel Mara Camp.
The thrill of spotting your first elephant or zebra as you come into land is a befitting hors d’oeuvres for what you are about to see and experience in the Mara.
Enjoy a light lunch at Sentinel before heading out onto the Maasai Mara plains for your first game drive, searching for the resident plains game herds, the famous Marsh Pride of lions, local cheetah coalition and elusive leopards that reign in this area. A plethora of iconic wildlife such as elephants, hippos, giraffes, Grant’s and Thompson’s gazelles, plains zebras, topis, warthogs and buffaloes are also common first sightings.
Your driver, a Maasai silver medal level guide, will constantly be reading the tracks while your guide will share his knowledge and passion.
Overnight at Sentinel Mara Camp on full board.
After an early morning mug of steaming fresh Kenyan coffee you will head out into the plains of the Mara in search of species that may be returning from their nocturnal forays, or waking up and getting ready for the day.
Breakfast is normally packed into a basket and served during your morning game-viewing safari. Your time out in the field will be determined by what is happening on the day. There is no such thing as getting bored in the Mara, and every day spent here is more than duly rewarded.
The Maasai Mara secret season starts in late October and runs intermittently through to April. It is enjoyed by locals at a time when the Mara is blissfully overlooked by foreign visitors. It is a period of recovery, resurgence and revelation. Starting in October, as the last herds of wildebeests trickle south in endless single files, the month begins hot and dry and ends with the arrival of the rains – hot, dry days with thunderstorms in the late afternoon and evening. Slowly but surely, rain fills up the marsh, the ravaged savannah grasslands begin to regenerate, and wildflowers like fireball lilies and flame lilies bloom throughout.
Most plains game have their calves in October in anticipation of the November rain. Thomson's gazelles, impalas and warthogs tend to give birth at the start of the month, and the topis and Coke's hartebeests mostly calve towards the end of the month.
During the next few months, big cats such as lions, leopards and cheetahs enjoy the easy pickings as they prey on the young topi, Thomson's gazelle and impala calves. With grass cropped and recovering, sightings of bat-eared foxes, servals, jackals, and even aardwolves become more common - sometimes with with their pups or cubs.
By December, breeding has subsided, and by now, the males have started rutting; their territories are being re-established and marking and scenting their territories is the order of the day.
January and February are the peaks of summer, and days start off cool, becoming hot by midday. There are sporadic rains in the afternoons making for stunning landscape scenes and sunsets. The grasslands remain fairly short, lush and green – ideal for the resident plains game in search of nutrient-rich graze.
The Loita migration is a lesser-known migration of up to 250,000 wildebeest and zebra that pour into the Mara during March and April. They are on an annual journey into the Maasai Mara from the Loita Hills to the northeast of the Maasai Mara.
The secret season is the best time to visit for bird migrations, butterflies and wild flowers.
Leaving camp after a late breakfast, you will be transferred back to Musiara Airstrip for your flight back to Nairobi. On arrival at Wilson Airport, an Africa Geographic representative will transfer you to JKIA Airport where you will check in for your return flight home.
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