Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the most popular African safari destination in Kenya. The reserve is located in the Great Rift Valley in primarily open grassland. Wildlife tends to be most concentrated on the reserve’s western escarpment.
The Masai Mara National Reserve is regarded as the jewel of Kenya’s wildlife viewing areas. The annual wildebeest’s migration alone involves over 1.5 million animals arriving in July and departing in November.
There have been some 95 species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles and over 400 birds species recorded on the reserve.
Nowhere in Africa is wildlife more abundant, and it is for this reason a visitor hardly misses to see the big five (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and rhino).
Exceptional Wildlife in Masai Mara National Park
The Maasai Mara is one of the best-known reserves in the whole of Africa, and is globally renowned for its exceptional wildlife. Despite comprising only 0.01% of Africa’s total landmass, more than 40% of Africa’s larger mammals can be found here. Across the vast plains of the Mara visitors are able to witness lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, and an infinite variety of other species in their natural habitats.
Masai Mara ecosystem contains some 25% of what is left of Kenyan wildlife. Estimate says that around 70% of Kenya’s wildlife lives outside national parks and reserves. Thus; the need for new role models preserving the Mara wildlife, on private land is paramount. Naboisho plays that role today!
Africa has lost some 95-98% of its most iconic mammals over the last hundred year or so, elephants, rhinos, lions, and cheetah. WWF estimate that the world will lose 2/3 of its vertebras in the incredible short period 1970-2020, i.e. 50 years. Some 70% of the world’s ecosystem are under stress. Loss of habitat is the main reason for this decimation.
Where is Masai Mara National Reserve
Masai Mara National Reserve is situated in south-west Kenya and is one of Africa’s Greatest Wildlife Reserves. Together with the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania it forms Africa’s most diverse, incredible and most spectacular eco-systems and possibly the world’s top safari big game viewing eco-system.
Masai Mara National Reserve lies about 270 km from the capital Nairobi City and takes about 4-5 hours by road or 40-45 minutes by flight. The road is great for the most part. There is a section from Narok town to Sekenani Gate that is dirt road but fairly good. The other road through Lemek and Aitong town is not good at all and very bumpy.
The Masai Mara National Reserve lies in the Great Rift Valley, which a fault line some 3,500 miles (5,600km) long is stretching from Ethiopia’s Red Sea through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, and into Mozambique. Here the valley is wide, and a towering escarpment can be seen in the hazy distance. The animals are at liberty to move outside the park into huge areas known as ‘dispersal areas’. There can be as much wildlife roaming outside the park as inside. Many Maasai villages are located in the ‘dispersal areas’ and they have, over centuries, developed a synergetic relationship with the wildlife.
Masai Mara National Reserve Terrain
There are four main types of terrain in the Mara – the Ngama Hills to the east with sandy soil and leafy bushes favored by black rhino; Oloololo Escarpment forming the western boundary and rising to a magnificent plateau; Mara Triangle bordering the Mara River with lush grassland and acacia woodlands supporting masses of game, especially migrating wildebeest; and the Central Plains, forming the largest part of the reserve with scattered bushes and boulders on rolling grasslands favored by the plains game.
Activities to do in the Masai Mara
There is no doubt that Masai Mara is one of the best destinations when you are on a Kenya safari tour holiday. Masai Mara can offer that much needed break from the town life as you enjoy the untouched nature and all it has to offer.
The Masai Mara National Reserve itself stretches over an area of about 1500 square metres. This simply means that you have 1500sqm of untouched nature. Everything in the ecosystem exists in its natural form. There are very few places that you can get this and they are reducing by the day in countries that do not place enough policies to curb the invasion by humans.
However, Kenya is different and Masai Mara justifies all that. There are really no limits to what you can do in the Masai Mara. If you are out for adventure, then you have just landed to the best place. Visitors tour the area all through the year but other times of the year are usually packed for one reason or another.
Things to Do in Masai Mara National Reserve
Below we look into the various activities that tourists can take part in when they are on a Masai Mara safari tour. There is a lot that you can learn out of these activities and this diversity makes Masai Mara a very special place for safaris in Kenya.
Game Drives in the Mara
In most cases, this will be your main purpose of visiting Masai Mara in the first place as a tourist. The Masai Mara National park has a lot to offer in terms of nature and animals. You will be able to see almost all the wild African animals that you have always dreamt of seeing. Maybe you have seen a lion in the zoo someday, but you might not have seen it in the wild before.
You can easily see the difference between the animals that you are used to seeing in the zoo and how they really are in the wild. This is usually a thrilling experience and the Masai Mara can offer all that and even more.
Nature Walks in Masai Mara
With the help of guides, you can be able to walk to parts of the park that are not usually frequented by predators. You will be amazed how close you can come to beautiful animals like giraffes and zebras or the huge animals like elephants and rhinos.
This also gives the tourists a closer look into nature and they can learn about trees in the Masai Mara and birds as well. You will get up close to the tiny members of the Masai Mara that you would not have seen were you on your 4×4 truck.
Balloon Safaris in Masai Mara
This is an absolute spectacle that will remain in your memory forever. You can plan to tour the Masai Mara National Reserve on a hot air balloon. You will see the animals from the bird’s eye view and when you add the ride itself, that’s double thrill for you.
Picnic in Masai Mara National Reserve
Have you lunch in the game reserve itself, maybe by the Mara River. Enjoy the silent whispers of the waters as they flow and the roar of a hungry lion in the distance. It is usually fun if you can do this with your family or lover. When it comes to romance, Masai Mara definitely has your back.
Visit a Masai Village
The Masai peopl are the indigenous community of the Masai Mara area, hence the name. They have been living in the area for years and even after the intrusion of the western culture in Kenya, they still remain faithful to their African roots and Masai heritage.
You can visit the villages and learn a thing or two about their culture. How they build houses from mud, their clothes and accessories and they can even give you a few pointers on hunting.
There are very many more activities that Masai Mara has to offer but this are the key ones whenever you are on your safaris in Kenya.
WILDLIFE AND MIGRATION in MASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE
The Mara is perhaps best known for the Great Migration, which takes place every year July to Septemberr. During these months the yellow savannah is dotted black by more than 1.5 million wildebeest, zebra and antelopes that migrate from the Serengeti to the Mara in search of food and water.
Mara and Serengeti parks are interdependent wildlife havens. This is where the world’s largest multi-species migration takes place. The movement is, centered around the wildebeest migrating from Serengeti into Masai Mara during the dry period in Tanzania, crossing the mighty Mara River on their way.
The Great Wildebeest Migration rightfully deserves its standing as one of the natural world’s most astonishing spectacles. Compromising of more than 1.5 million wildebeest, zebras and antelopes, the Great Migration constitutes the last surviving multi-species migration on the planet.
From end of July onward, millions of freshly arrived brown and black dots scatter the great plains of the Masai Mara National Reserve, making this Natural Wonder of the World even more wondrous until they wander back in December. The life cycle of the wildebeest is a snapshot of the circle of life of all living creatures. The wildebeest spend their lives wandering, unwearyingly trekking between the Serengeti in the South to the Masai Mara in the North.
Every sequence in a wildebeest’s life happens in accordance with Mother Earth. Their migratory routes are determined by the rain patterns; they wander in a constant pursuit of water and fresh grass. Similarly, their calving instincts are timed to the movements of the moon, resulting in a three-week long birth fest on the Serengeti plains in February.
The comings and goings of the wildebeest also shape the lives of many other species. For the predators of the Masai Mara, the arrival of the wildebeest marks the beginning of a time of feasting and prosperity. The Big Cats, in particular, thrive during the migration season.
The abundance of available prey means that the lions, cheetah and leopards are able to grow strong and produce healthy offspring. The dramatic contrast between life and death to be witnessed during the Great Migration makes the Migration Season a particularly spectacular time to visit Basecamp Explorer Kenya.
|Languages spoken||English, Kiswahili, Maasai|
|Currency used||Kenya Shillings (KES)|
|Area (km2)||1,510 km2|