The Greater Mara ecosystem is the area surrounding the Masai Mara National Reserve. Although part of the same eco-system, the game here is not as prolific as in the Mara itself, but the restrictive regulations of the National Reserve do not apply, which means that guests can walk and night drive.
The conservancies of the Greater Mara that surround the National Reserve are a fantastic way to experience the very best of the Masai Mara whilst getting away from the large volumes of traffic that are sadly now associated with travelling to this part of Kenya. The Greater Mara offers more space, fewer vehicles and some very high quality safari camps.
The wildlife sightings in these areas are still very good, with a high possibilty of seeing the big five, the only draw back is its distance to the Mara and Sand rivers for the main crossing points on the Great Wildebeest Migration, which involves a whole and long day in a vehicle. It is possible with a picnic breakfast and lunch and a good way to make the most of this extraordinary wilderness, but if your set on witnessing a Wildebeest crossing, you will be better of staying somewhere in the main reserve.
In addition the Greater Mara offers much more flexibilty with regards to activities. Here you can going on walking safaris, night drives and in some instances riding safaris, galloping next to the antelope of the Masai Mara is a truly amazing expereince! In the Greater Mara, there are a number of camps that line the Mara River to the north west of the ecosystem and it is here the game viewing is at its best. See our blog for more information about getting front row seats to the Great Migration
With the wildlife viewing is so good inside the Mara and some of the camps so superb (have a look at Rekero and Naibor!) we always recommend spending at least some time in the reserve, either instead of or in addition to the Greater Mara.
Greater Mara Safaris: where to stay
There are a number of top lodges in the Greater Mara. Our favourites are Alex Walker’s Serian Camp and Ngare Serian, both of which are absolutely top quality. With only four rooms, Ngare Serian is the more exclusive and luxurious of the two, while Serian itself is more affordable.
&Beyond’s Bateleur Camp nearby is arguably the area's most luxurious option, and offers &Beyond's usual high standards of accommodation, food and service. Also nearby, &Beyond's Kichwa Tembo is a superb large camp, and substantially more affordable than Bateleur - although it lacks Bateleur's luxury and style, this is our favourite Mara lodge for clients on tighter budgets.
Further up the Mara river is Elephant Pepper Camp, while Ol Seki, Richards and Saruni camps are all located far away from the Mara’s main rivers - although they are great camps, the game viewing they offer is nowhere near as good as that available in other areas.
The final camp to mention is Cottars, in the far east of the Greater Mara. Built in the 1920’s and designed in 1920’s style, Cottars' private location and unique character make it one of the Mara’s most famous camps.