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Mara Simba Lodge - Masai Mara, Kenya

The Masai Mara National Reserve - Kenya

Mara Simba Lodge has been designed so as to present a safari resort, Styled to reflect the iconic colours and cultural artefacts of the Maasai people, who are the original owners of this land, it offers a peaceful retreat from the adventure and experience of the traditional safari. Situated on the banks of the Talek River, the lifeblood of this region, it extends for one kilometer, amid typical savannah and indigenous forest landscape. Wide, well-lit pathways link the rooms with the central restaurant and bar areas, where log fires are lit nightly. The resort offers a swimming pool, a wide range of evening entertainment; daily game drives through the expanse of this famous reserve, and a gift shop.

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
The Masai Mara is 270 miles from Nairobi (five hours by road). All weather air strip - less than an hour from Nairobi by plane.

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 Background
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'.

Accommodation
There are 84 guest rooms, widely spaced along the banks of the river, each of which stands within a cluster of six natural wood and stone chalets. Each has its own private verandah with uninterrupted views across the landscape. Each has its own en-suite luxury bathroom (hot and cold running water, flushed WC and shower).

Dining and bars
The central dining room, which is presented in traditional Maasai style, offers a lavish selection of principally buffet-styled meals, which reflect international and local cuisine and always provide plenty of vegetarian options. Drinks can be taken in the stylish bar, or against a bush setting. Entertainment in the form of traditional cultural displays is offered most nights.

Wildlife highlights
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.

Child-friendly
The resort welcomes children and additional beds can be provided.

What to see and do
Game drives are offered in the morning, afternoon and evening as are guided bush walks and birding tours. The resort has its own resident naturalist. In the evenings traditional bush BBQs are staged, which can be preceded by traditional safari sundowners in the bush.


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