Wedged between the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, the Mara River and the Oloololo Escarpment in the western section of the Masai Mara, the Mara Triangle is a special area of the national reserve which, unlike the rest of the reserve, is managed by a non-profit conservancy company formed by local Maasai communities. The aims with the management of the Mara Triangle are to reduce poaching, improve infrastructure and run community projects that strengthen conservation.
Credit: Karen Blixen Camp
If you’re looking to escape the crowds of the reserve, the Mara Triangle – which makes up one third of the entire national reserve – should be your Masai Mara destination of choice. The concentration of game in the Mara Triangle is excellent – with all the exciting species that you find in the rest of the national reserve – and yet it sees fewer visitors than the rest of the reserve, due to its remoteness, the fact that there are only two access gates and because there is only one lodge, one camp and some campsites located within the sector. It’s an excellent area to watch the drama of the Great Migration unfold without the masses of other vehicles elsewhere in the park, as the herds of animals move through the sector on their way into and out of the Masai Mara from the Serengeti.
This area of the park, which spans a vast 126 000 acres, contains the most dramatic scenery of the Masai Mara, with landscapes ranging from riverine forest around the Mara River, to vast plains, volcanic hills and the 400-metre high Oloololo Escarpment on the western edge of the reserve, where you can soak in some of the reserve’s best views. In fact, some of the best-known scenes from the film Out of Africa were filmed in the spectacular wilderness of the Mara Triangle – and on game drives you’ll be able to visit some of the exact locations of the shoots.
Credit: Mara Ngenche Safari Camp
The Mara Triangle is area where the herds of the Great Migration enter and exit the Masai Mara National Reserve from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, making it a prime section for viewing this amazing wildlife spectacle unfold. Crossings of the Mara River make for some of the most dramatic scenes of the migration, so staying in the Mara Triangle will give you front-row seats to the show.
There’s a launch site for hot air ballooning in the Mara Triangle, and this airborne activity should not be missed. Flying high above the plains of the Mara as the sun turns the landscapes golden and being able to do wildlife spotting from the air is an experience you’ll never forget. You can organise the hot air balloon flight through your camp or lodge.
For adventurous travellers, the Mara Triangle offers a unique experience that you can’t do anywhere else in the national reserve: camping in the wilderness. You’ll need to be self-sufficient, with your own food, water and firewood and to be cautious about wild animals entering your campsite, but if you’re up for the adventure, there’s no better way to experience the magic of the bush.
Credit: Asilia Rekero Camp
There’s only one lodge and one camp situated within the Mara Triangle, so if you want to stay in the conservancy be sure to book ahead – and especially far ahead if you’re travelling during the peak months of August to October. There are also 10 camps located outside of the sector that offer game drives within its borders, so you do have other options if you want to explore the area.
If you’re travelling on a budget and want to pitch your own tent in the park, the Mara Triangle is where you should head. There are three public campsites and eight private campsites in the Mara Triangle, and prices start at an affordable US$ 30 per person. You don’t need to book in advance for the public campsites but you do need to reserve the private campsites ahead of time on the Mara Triangle Conservancy website.
By car the Mara Triangle is more challenging to reach than the more popular and more accessible eastern sections of the Masai Mara. The roads to the Mara Triangle are rough and you’ll need a 4x4. The easiest way to access the region is by plane: there are two airstrips that you can fly into and daily flights connect the Mara Triangle with other safari destinations in Kenya as well as Nairobi.