Mad about the Masai Mara

Even after working in the field for over 30 years, nine of which have been for Great Plains, JP Kerore is as enamored with the Masai Mara Game Reserve as ever, starting every game drive with an infectious smile and boundless enthusiasm for what sightings the day might bring.

JP (or ‘Paramsau’, to use his full Maasai name) is the Mara Expedition Camp’s head guide, and he’s also a community leader in his local village, where he acts as a liaison between the safari camp, wildlife conservationists and local village leadership.

Throughout their many years of visiting the area, our YPA founders, Nick and Ashley, maintain that he’s one of the top Maasai safari guides in Kenya. His knack for always getting the greatest sightings (particularly when it comes to finding the big cats) comes from his mastery of the environment and his in-depth knowledge of animal behavior.

JP has countless reasons why every month in the Mara is the right time to visit, but from the end of November to the end of May are particularly special seasons.

“Towards the end of November and into early December, it’s end of the wildebeest and zebra migrations, the herbivores have had their young, and there are many predators around. That why there’s always a lot of action during this period,” he enthuses, “and because the grass is low and the congestion of vehicles is very manageable, it’s an ideal time for great photography.”

“Then from January to March is the dropping season for gazelles, zebras, and wildebeests. The long rains start, and you have clear mornings and beautiful skies covered by dark clouds in the afternoon. This is when the elephant herds start congregating for breeding, and you can also see lots of cat cubs. It’s an amazing season to visit.”

As you can probably tell, he’s got a special place in his heart for cats, not only because he says they’re spiritually magical, but also because he never tires of seeing them.

“In all my years in the field, you’ll never hear me say ‘there’s another lion, leopard or cheetah’. Even if I’ve have seen them a hundred times, I’ll never get tired of seeing them,” he says with a smile. “Seeing the big cats is a mood and soul motivator, and it gives me energy for the whole day.”

By interpreting animal behavior, using certain species as his spotters and pointers, and by tuning in to different animal sounds and tracks, JP is more often than not the first vehicle on the scene of a special sighting. That’s why we always say that we know you’re going to be in good hands with JP and his team of expert local Maasai guides.

“Once JP guided a YPA group we were hosting and we did a ‘full day out’ where we took packed lunches and left before dawn to go in search of the last herds of the annual wildebeest migration,” Nick remembers. “We found them just as they were crossing the Mara River, and I’ll never forget sitting peacefully to watch them cross while JP described the natural cycle where the herds follow the rains north across the Mara River into Kenya for just a short couple of months before they return back south to Tanzania in search of greener pastures. It was mesmerizing.”

“On our way home, we also ended up seeing a rare and endangered black rhino, a family of cheetahs, a pride of lions, herds of giraffes, an elephant family, and even the elusive leopard. It was a fantastic full day out in the bush.”

Now that you’ve ‘armchair traveled’ with JP and got a taste of what his game drives can offer, who wouldn’t want to book a safari in the Masai Mara? If you want to know more about The Mara Expedition Camp, a Great Plains Conservation Explorer-Collection safari camp, get in touch and let’s start building your dream safari vacation.

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