Maasai Mara National Reserve

Maasai Mara National Reserve
The Maasai Mara National Reserve is a large game reserve in Narok County, contiguous with the Serengeti National Park in the Mara Region, Tanzania. It is named in honor of the Maasai people and their description of the area when looked at from afar: “Mara”, which is Maa (Maasai language) for “spotted,” an apt description for the circles of trees, scrub, savannah, and cloud shadows that mark the area.

The Maasai Mara National Reserve is only a fraction of the Greater Mara Ecosystem, which includes the following Group Ranches: Koiyaki, Lemek, Ol Chorro Oirowua, Olkinyei, Siana, Maji Moto, Naikara, Ol Derkesi, Kerinkani, Oloirien, and Kimintet.

It is globally renowned for its exceptional population of lions, leopards and cheetahs, and the annual migration of zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, and wildebeest to and from the Serengeti every year from July to October, known as the Great Migration.

Wildebeest, topi, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle migrate into and occupy the Mara reserve, from the Serengeti plains to the south and Loita plains in the pastoral ranches to the north-east, from July to October or later. Herds of all three species are also resident in the reserve.

All members of the “Big Five” (lion, leopard, African elephant, African buffalo, and Black Rhinoceros) are found in the Maasai Mara. However, the population of the black rhinos has diminished since 1970s. The black rhino’s aggressive nature makes it an easy target for poachers and has led to the black rhino being killed in greater numbers than the white rhino which opts to flee to escape poachers. Conservation efforts are however being improved and a slight increase in the number of black rhinos has been recorded over the past ten years.

Hippopotami and Nile crocodiles are found in large groups in the Mara and Talek rivers. Leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, jackals, and bat-eared foxes can also be found in the reserve. The plains between the Mara River and the Esoit Siria Escarpment are probably the best area for game viewing, in particular regarding lion and cheetah.

As in the Serengeti, the wildebeest are the dominant inhabitants of the Maasai Mara, and their numbers are estimated in the millions. Around July of each year, these ungainly animals migrate north from the Serengeti plains in search of fresh pasture, and return to the south around October. The Great Migration is one of the most impressive natural events worldwide, involving some 1,300,000 wildebeest, 500,000 Thomson’s gazelles, 97,000 topi, 18,000 elands, and 200,000 zebras. These migrants are followed along their annual, circular route by hungry predators, most notably lions and hyenas.

Numerous other antelopes can be found, including Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles, impalas, elands, duikers and Coke’s hartebeests. Large herds of zebra are found throughout the reserve. The plains are also home to the distinctive Masai giraffe. The large Roan antelope and the nocturnal bat-eared fox, rarely present elsewhere in Kenya, can be seen within the reserve borders.

More than 470 species of birds have been identified in the park, many of which are migrants, with almost 60 species being raptors. Birds that call this area home for at least part of the year include: vultures, marabou storks, secretary birds, hornbills, crowned cranes, ostriches, long-crested Eagles, African pygmy-falcons and the lilac-breasted roller, which is the national bird of Kenya.

Track the wildebeest migration, enjoy game drives, hot-air balloon safaris, walking safaris and birding safaris in this wonder of nature.

Accommodation used by The Tourist Centre

  • Porini Lion Camp – Luxury
  • Mara Explorer Camp – Mid-range
  • Royal Mara Safari Camp – Luxury
  • Mara Intrepids Camp – Luxury
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