Masai Mara National Reserve - Kenya
Keekorok means 'the place of dark' trees in Maa, the language of the Masai. One of the easier Mara lodges to reach from Nairobi by road, Keekorok Lodge is well located, standing amid 80 acres of wilderness, atop a shallow rise, which allows for spectacularly long views across the rolling savanna. Dating from 1965, it is a large and busy lodge capable of accommodating almost 200 guests.
World renowned for the breathtaking spectacle of ‘the greatest wildlife show on earth', the awe inspiring annual migration of the wildebeest, the Mara is Kenya's most visited protected area. Technically an extension of Tanzania's renowned Serengeti National Park, the Mara constitutes only 4% of the entire Serengeti ecosystem but its rolling grasslands, meandering rivers and towering escarpments offer one of the world's most rewarding and evocative wildlife arenas.
Location and climate
The Masai Mara is 270 miles from Nairobi (five hours by road). All weather air strip - less than an hour from Nairobi by plane. The climate is temperate. There is low humidity year round. The days are warm and the evenings cool. Maximum temperature is around 28 degrees Centigrade in December and minimum temperature is about 11 degrees Centigrade in July.
Kenya hotels and accommodation
Amongst the wide range of Kenya hotels, some make the ideal Kenya safari destination. Choose a safari lodge, safari hotel, bush camp, luxury lodge, safari camp, tented camp or bush lodge. National park accommodation usually takes the form of a traditional safari lodge or tented camp, but numerous other options exist on the park boundaries. Luxury lodges and luxury camp options are also offered in the private wildlife conservancies.
The Masai Mara National Reserve
When it comes to game-viewing, there is nowhere in Africa richer in wildlife or more eventful in encounters than the Mara. A pristine wilderness of haunting beauty, it promises its visitors a profusion of wildlife, prolific bird life and the unprecedented opportunity of catching up with all the members of the ‘Big Five' in one morning. As to scenery, the 1,800 sq kilometres of this veteran reserve offer the classic mix of African imagery; miles of lion-gold grasslands, shoals of lilac-misted hills, a meandering river, acres of thorn-bush and mile upon mile of undulating wilderness.
The Miracle of the Migration of the Wildebeest
All the time, when on the move, the wildebeest emit harsh grunts, something like the sound of frogs, something like that of old men clearing their throats. People have called them ungainly because of their high shoulders and sloping hindquarters and also clowns because of their long pale faces and white beards, but in fact they move with grace and sometimes playfulness, leaping and cavorting with apparent joie de vivre.
Last Days in Eden-Elspeth Huxley and Hugo van Lawick
Between the end of July and November, over one and a half million wildebeest accompanied by half again as many zebras and gazelles, migrate from the short-grass plains of the Serengeti to fresh pasture in the grasslands of the Mara; thus creating one of nature's grandest spectacles. Moving in groups of up to 20,000 at a time they thunder across the plateau hesitating only briefly to cross the Mara River, where many fall prey to the waiting crocodiles. Towards the end of October they begin crossing back into Tanzania. The actual timing of the migration, however, is dictated by the weather and does not always ‘run to schedule'.
The lodge offers 70 rooms, spaced out across its area. The rooms are simply furnished, most with tub and shower. Some have double beds and mini-bars.
Dining and bars
Overlooking the manicured lawns and internal rock gardens, the restaurant serves a variety of traditional African, Asian and Western food. Guests can dine inside or outside on the Elephant Deck. The Discovery Bar features a photo-gallery of the illustrious clientelle who have visited the lodge over its long history. The Swimming Pool Bar serves drinks and snacks throughout the day. The Hippo Pool Bar is connected to the lodge by a 1km long wooden walkway. This meanders through the Keekorok forest, and overlooks a permanent watering hole, home to over 20 hippos, and regularly visited by both elephants and lions. There is a broad stone terrace offering spectacular views.
Conference and event facilities
The lodge has its own conference room to accommodate up to 100 guests. The lodge is connected by telephone, VHF and HF radio and hi speed wireless internet.
Offering an abundance of herbivores, the Mara makes the ideal hunting ground for Kenya's famous ‘big cats' and hosts her largest population of lions. It also offers the best chance of spotting a leopard in the wild. Other predators include cheetah and spotted hyena. Historically teaming with wildlife, the Mara is famous for the large herds of elephant and buffalo that meander its plains; also for the fat pods of hippo that wallow in its mud-brown rivers. Other stars include the distinctive Masai giraffe, plum-coloured topi, Coke's hartebeest, Grant's and Thomson's gazelle, zebra, impala, Kirk's dik-dik, bushbuck, waterbuck and red duiker. The Reserve also boasts plentiful Nile crocodile, monitor lizard, baboon, vervet, blue and red-tailed monkeys, nocturnal bush babies, and tree hyrax. There are over 550 resident and migratory species of birds.
The lodge welcomes children. Special menus and mealtimes are available for children and at night time up to 10.00pm, a listening service is available to detect wakeful children.
What to see and do
The lodge offers its own swimming pool, forex and medical services, petrol station and gift shop, while activities offered are as follows:
Keekorok operates a fleet of custom-built four-wheel drive vehicles with roof hatches designed for game viewing in comfort and safety. Places for game drives may be in booked in advance or on arrival at the Lodge. The recommended times for game drives are:
06.30h to 08.30h
09.30h to 12.30h
16.30h to 18.30h
Every day at 10.00pm with the resident naturalist. A fee is chargeable.
Hot Air Ballooning
Balloon safaris have been operated for many years using fully qualified pilots and state of the art imported balloons and baskets. Flights are operated daily depending on prevailing weather conditions and take off at 06.30 usually for 60 minutes duration. A full English breakfast and sparkling wine or Buck's Fizz are served adjacent to the landing site prior to a short game drive back to the Lodge to arrive by 11.30 am. Local regulations restrict flights to adults and children aged 6 years and over.
At 21.30 on evenings alternating with the showing of a wildlife video, a troop of Masai Morans entertain guests to a 30 minute display of traditional dancing.
This is shown on video and alternates with evenings of displays of tribal dancing.
Keekorok Lodge - Masai Mara
Kenya Safari Lodges, Tented Camps, Hotels & Resorts