Masai Mara Entry Gates
If you’re planning to visit Masai Mara National Reserve, you’ll most likely enter through Sekenani Gate which is the most popular and has a tarmacked road all the way from Nairobi. But Sekenani is not the only gate to the Mara National Reserve. There are a total of 6 gates spread along the Mara West region stretching to the southern region.
This post is part of our guide for helping Kambu Mara Camp guests how to get to Masai Mara.
What are Masai Mara Entry Gates?
While the Masai Mara National Reserve lacks the traditional enclosure you’d see in fenced National Parks such as Lake Nakuru, it does have officially designated entry and exit points. These points are utilized by Narok County, the managing authority to regulate access and collect entry fees. The gates are strategically positioned, with five of them situated on the Eastern side, spanning from the Southernmost Oloolaimutia Gate to the Northernmost Oloololo Gate. On the Western side of the Mara, there is a sole gate in close proximity to the Tanzanian border.
You can purchase entry tickets at the gate and conveniently gain entry into the Reserve using any of the gates. As of November 2023, tickets are available for 12-hour durations, with gates opening at 6 a.m. and closing at 6 p.m. Simply present your ticket upon arrival to enjoy the experience.
For budget travelers heading to Mara, we suggest using public transportation from Nairobi to Sekenani Gate. Start by taking an Easy Coach from the City Center to Narok town for Kes. 1000. From there, you can hop on a probox matatu for an additional Kes. 600. This way, you can enjoy your journey while keeping costs in check.
Below is the map showing all the gates;
I have described each of the gates below;
This serves as the main entrance to Masai Mara Reserve, with the major tarmac road from Narok town leading directly to the gate. It is widely used and preferred by visitors entering the park. Located on the outskirts of Sekenani center on the eastern part of Masai Mara National Reserve, this gate is strategically positioned.
Even those who are supposed to use other gates often choose this entrance due to the road conditions. Here, you can encounter a diverse range of wildlife, including elephants, topi, elands, Burchell’s zebras, and if you’re lucky, even spot the elusive black rhino, which has its territory within the gate. One of the gate’s highlights is the group of five cheetah brothers, who may occasionally observe and welcome you to Mara. Several hotels are situated in this area, including Sarova Mara Game Camp, Sekenani Camp, and AA Lodge, among others. Check out these top accommodations in or near Sekenani town
Our Kambu Mara Camp is also located close to this Gate and offers a range of activities to enjoy while you explore the Masai Mara.
Below is an image showing the front face of Sekenani Gate;
Located in the northeastern region of Maasai Mara National Reserve, Oloololo Gate lies just south of one of the tributaries of the Mara River. Accessible via C13 (Aitong Road) and C14 (Sigor – Kaboson Road), this gate provides a convenient entry point. From here, you can easily drive to the western side of the Mara River and the majestic Oloololo Escarpment in the north, both just a short distance away. When it comes to accommodation near Oloololo Gate, you have a choice of excellent options including Mara Big Five Lodge, Fairmont Mara Safari Club, Entim Mara Camp, and Oltome Mara Magic Resort, among others.
If you want to visit Masai Mara North region through Oloololo Gate, you are better off taking a flight as it can take up to 7 hours to drive to this gate from Nairobi. You’ll have to keep right on the main Narok-Bomet highway until you get to Ololunga junction which is about 30 kilometers away from Narok town. From this junction, you’ll have to use the rough road for more than an hour. Another way to get to this gate is by continuing with the Narok-Sotik Highway until you get to a small town called Chebole where you take a left and proceed for about an hour to this gate. Fortunately, most of Chebole-Oloololo Gate road is tarmacked.
The gate leading to Masai Mara is primarily used by travelers from Tanzania and the western part of Kenya. This elevated region offers breathtaking views of the savannah below, showcasing the beauty of the Mara river and the majestic Oloololo escarpments. It serves as a convenient entry point to the river and is located closer to one of its tributaries. This route is a key pathway for the magnificent great migration, as herds journey from the Serengeti through the Mara triangle, renowned for its black rhinos. It guarantees unforgettable encounters during the migration period, where the dance of survival unfolds between prey and predators. Additionally, this area is home to some of the most iconic lodges in Mara.
The Talek Gate is located in the southwestern region of Maasai Mara National Reserve and is closest to Sekenani Gate. From Nairobi, this gate can be accessed through A104 Nairobi-Narok-Talek road. To get to Sekenani gate, you need to take a right turn before you get to Sekenani on Narok-Sekenani road. Situated in the northwestern part of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, it resides within the vast expanse of the Savannah grasslands, adjacent to the renowned Talek River. This river acts as a natural boundary, dividing the eastern and western regions of Maasai Mara. When it comes to accommodation near Talek Gate, there are several exceptional options to choose from. These include Mara Intrepids Tented Camp, Julia’s River Camp, Aruba Mara Camp, Tipilikwani Mara Camp, Mara Leisure Camp, Fig Tree Camp, Azure Mara Haven, Mara Simba Lodge, and Mara Serena Safari Lodge. For more information about Talek Gate, please continue reading.
Oloolaimutia Gate is situated on the outskirts of Oloolaimutia town, nestled amidst the picturesque hilly eastern end of Masai Mara National Reserve. This gate is located South of Sekenani Gate and is used considerably less compared to other gates. When it comes to accommodation options near Oloolaimuita gates, you’ll find a selection of exceptional choices including Ol Moran Tented Camp, Siana Springs Tented Camp, Mara Sidai Camp, Acacia Camp Mara, and more.
During the rainy season, the road to the gate can be challenging with its rough terrain. However, this region is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, offering abundant opportunities for wildlife viewing. You can spot a variety of majestic creatures, including giraffes, buffaloes, elephants, gazelles, zebras, wildebeests, coke hartebeests, topi antelopes, elands, dik-diks, and other herbivores. And of course, there is no shortage of predators, such as lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, and more. Occasionally, you may even catch a glimpse of wild dogs. Additionally, this area is home to some wildebeest that do not take part in the annual migration. Notable lodges in this area include Masai Mara Sopa Lodge, Olmoran Camp, and many others.
Located at the Northeastern end of the park, the rarely used gate is a hidden gem far from the bustling tarmac. Oloololo gate is its closest neighbor, nestled beside the Mara River. This gate offers the ultimate vantage point for witnessing the awe-inspiring wildebeest migration and other wildlife that thrives along the river’s banks. Moreover, it is conveniently situated near Musiara airstrip, a popular stop for tourists visiting the Masai Mara.
This captivating sanctuary is home to the renowned “BBC documented pride,” famously known as the marsh pride. Here, herds of elephants find solace in the marshy areas, delighting in their swimming and feeding routines. Additionally, the gate holds a rich history, once having been the territory of the scar-faced Lion and the illustrious kabosho the leopard, both of whom roamed these lands with grace and majesty.
Sand River Gate:
Located on the southern part of the Masai Mara National Reserve, near the border with Tanzania, lies a seldom-used gate. This hidden gem is in close proximity to the magnificent Sand River, a tributary of the Mara River. During the awe-inspiring wildebeest migration, this river becomes a captivating spectacle as the wildebeest bravely cross its waters.
As the primary migration corridor, this area is teeming with a diverse array of predators, including lions, cheetahs, hyenas, and leopards. Among them, the famous “split nose” leopards are known to frequent this gate, as they are more elusive and prefer the lesser human interactions it offers. Additionally, this region is home to the rare and exquisite Serval cats and Caracals, adding to its allure.
With its pristine scenery, abundant wildlife, and fascinating inhabitants, this gate is a true paradise for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers alike. As per some online sources, this gate is currently closed.