Masai Mara (Maasai Mara) is one of Africa’s greatest wildlife reserves and it is one of the best-known and most popular reserves. Masai Mara and the Serengeti National Park form Africa’s most diverse, incredible, and most spectacular ecosystems and possibly the world’s top safari big game viewing ecosystem. Safaris are without a doubt some of the best you ever get.
Details of Masai Mara National Reserve
Because of its big skies, rolling open savannahs, the romance of films like Out of Africa, the annual wildebeest migration, density of game, variety of birds, chance of a hot air balloon ride, and interaction with the tall red-robed Masai people – a combination of all these attracts people to the Mara all the time.
In southwestern Kenya is the African heartland for the Masai, where the local villages combine with the national reserves.
The Masai tribes live side by side with the wildlife in harmony
The Masai tribes live side by side with the wildlife in amazing harmony. Wildlife makes Masai land one of the most unique wilderness regions. In the reserve area, the wildlife is protected and takes precedence over human activities, but human habitation and domestic livestock are permitted.
Masai Mara is a favorite safari destination
Seasoned safari travelers, writers, documentary makers, and researchers will admit Masai Mara is their favorite. Because of its big skies, rolling open savannahs, the romance of films like “Out of Africa”, the annual wildebeest migration, the density of game, variety of birds, the chance of a hot air balloon ride, and interaction with the tall red-robed Masai people – a combination of all these attracts people to the Mara all the time.
The greatest reserve in Africa
Considered the greatest reserve in Africa, Masai Mara prides on the breathtaking spectacle of the greatest wildlife show on earth known as Wildebeest migration between the Mara and Serengeti ecosystems. It is the most visited protected area.
Mara – a mosaic of bushes and trees
The word “Mara” refers to the patchy mosaic of bushes and trees that define Mara plains. The Mara comprises 520 square kilometers of open plains, woodlands, and riverine forests. Contiguous with the plains of the Serengeti, the Mara is home to a breathtaking array of life.
Mara is divided into four topographical units:
- the Ngama Hills to the east of Keekorok and the Sekanani Gate;
- the Siria Escarpment, which forms the western boundary;
- the Mara Triangle, which lies between the Mara River and the Siria Escarpment;
- and the Central Plains, which lie between the Mara River and the Ngama Hills.
Lying above 1500-2170 metres above sea level, the reserve covers 1672 square kilometres of open grassland, riverine forest, acacia woodlands, swamps, thickets, and shrubs. The permanent Mara and Talek rivers and their tributaries flow through the reserve.
The rainy season is between April and May and in November.
The dry season is between July and October and there is tall grass after the rains – hence huge herds of herbivores can be seen.
In December in January is the hottest and the coldest months are June and July. Every year at end of July and November there is lots of rain – and lots of fresh grass.
Home of Kenya’s famous big cats
The ecosystem hosts over 95 animal species and they include large herds of elephants and buffaloes meandering the plains, the hippo pools in the Mara brown rivers, Masai giraffes, topis, grant and Thompson’s gazelles, zebras, plenty of Nile crocodiles, blue- and red-tailed monkeys and tree hyraxes. An abundance of herbivores definitely makes it an ideal hunting ground for predators – and therefore a comfy home of Kenya’s famous big cats. The lions, leopards, cheetahs, spotted hyenas and jackals can be seen easily.
Amazingly, the Masai warriors share the plains with these hunting lions
Millions of wildebeests and zebras leave Serengeti plains and make a spectacular migration into Mara. As they trek across the plains, they come to cross the Mara and Talek rivers, where hippos and crocodiles abound. In droves, they plunge into the rivers with currents and have to fight with the lurking crocodiles and hippos. Only the strong successfully make it to the other side while others fall prey.
Eighth Wonder of the World
The frenzy is one of the greatest natural spectacles and has earned the title ”Eighth Wonder of the World”. At end of October, they begin to cross back to Serengeti. However, it’s good to note that the actual timing is dictated by weather and may not always run-on schedule.
Acacia trees abound with birdlife
On the plains, you will spot common ostrich, secretary bird, ground hornbill, African fish eagle, yellow-billed stork, sacred ibis, and helmeted guinea fowl.
Home to 53 species of raptors
The Reserve, is home to 53 species of raptors, augur buzzard, black-shouldered kite, bateleur eagle, and six species of vulture inclusive. It happens to be the only place in Kenya where you can see the rare Schalow’s turaco. There is a variety of vegetation in Mara creating a botanical marvel home.