Maasai Mara National Reserve
Maasai Mara National Reserve : Masaai Mara is situated in Southwest Kenya and one of Africa’s greatest wildlife reserves. Masaai Mara National Reserve stretches 1,510 sq. km (580 sq. miles) and raises 1500-2170 meters above sea level, Masaai Mara was originally established in 1961, the Maasai Mara covers 520 Km2 (200 sq. mi) of the current area, including the Mara triangle. the area is at least twice the size. It hosts over 95 species of mammals and over 570 recorded species of birds.
Masaai Mara is also made up of lush grasslands, acacia woodland, magnificent plateaus, open plains in the rift valley escarpment where wildlife species can be roaming and grazing. Maasai Mara was established as wildlife sanctuary name after the Masai people who are inhabitants of the reserve. The word ‘Mara’ is description in the Maa language which means spotted as a way of describing the nature of the tree-dotted landscape in the reserve. It was extended to the east and it became game reserve under the management of the Narok county council in 1961.
In 1963 following the British colonization and influence in Kenya the Masai Mara reserve was established to preserve the African Wildlife and its landscape.
In 1974, a part of the reserve was returned to the community of the Maasai people, in addition part of the reserve was also removed in 1976 and by 1984 the size of this reserve had reduced. In 2001, the Massai Mara conservancy took over the management of the Mara triangle which is known for supporting a large number of wildlife species and it also borders the Mara River where the wildebeest cross into Maasai Mara reserve from Serengeti national park annually.
Activities Done In Masai Mara National Reserve.
Masai Mara national reserve has more to explore during your stay and this can be done through the use of safari land cruisers or even walking. This reserve is being monitored and care taken by the local community hence giving much opportunity to guests to have leisure walks both inside and around the local community. Walking safaris are one of the easy but most rewarding ways of experiencing Masaai Mara, walking on foot with locals putting on local sandals make out of car tires sharing a lot excitement as you explore the best of the reserve looking of wildlife like the elephants, giraffes, antelope, buffalos and grazers around the park. You can reach as far as the Mara River witnessing the migration if you are in the right season visit.
If viewing game using 4 times 4 vehicle is great, then getting an Ariel view of the vast Mara plains will take your breath away especially if you do it during the great migration. The hot air balloon route follows the Mara river allowing you to get an aerial view of the forests, birds and aquatic mammals before going deep into the savannah for more stunning views of the land scape.
The activity lasts for one hour ends with a picnic, lunch/breakfast with champagne on the savannah plains. All participants are given certificates. Hot air balloon safaris are excellent for families and couples on a honeymoon, taking photos is also allowed in the reserve.
Maasai Cultural encounter.
The Mara not only offers a great wildlife experiences but also memorable cultural encounters in Kenya. The masai tribe men are one of Africa’s most intriguing ethnic groups and known for their colourful dresses and height. Masaai live in Kenya and Tanzania. Maasai only migrated to Kenya 200 years ago. And they believe to have originated from Sudan, and they believe that all cattle in the world at one point belonged to their ancestors.
There are many campsites within Massai Mara National Reserve, most are public but there are also private ones with facilities like kitchen and toilets and some even have pools where you can relax with friends and families.
Sundowners and Bush breakfast/dinner.
If you chose to spend your honeymoon in the Maasai Mara game reserve, this is one thing you shouldn’t miss out. Your hotel can arrange for a mobile dinning in the middle of the savannah with meals, drinks and wines. There is nothing bigger than watching the beautiful sunset in the wilderness and in the arms of your partner.
This particular activity is arranged in the conservancy and within the main reserve itself. Participants are taken deep into the Mara on the back of a horse to view antelopes, leopards, hartebeests, giraffes, elephants, leopards and lions. It is the most ecological way to tour the reserve without emitting sounds and fumes. This particular activity is led by game rangers, owners of the conservancies or maasai guides.
With over 500 species of birds, Maasai Mara national reserve is abider’s paradise. You can look out for giant ostriches or check out the birds of prey like vultures, smaller birds can also be seen nesting on the thickets or edges of escarpment. On typical birding excursions, you be looking out for ducks, egrets, geese, herons, ostriches, hornbills, pelicans, spoonbills and storks. Birding is led by very experienced and knowledgeable ornithologists/naturalists.
The great wildebeest migration.
Between June and November, the Maasai Mara is host to one of the greatest wildlife spectacles in the world. Over 1.5 million wildebeest Thompson’s Gazelles and zebras across the Mara river from the Serengeti in search of greener grass. They encounter many challenges along the way predators, the migratory animals have to cross the crocodile infested Mara river where thousands drown or get eaten by crocodiles. Tourists visit to witness the great concentration of animals, the calving season, the battle between predator and prey.
Maasai Mara national reserve has best spot wildlife in Africa and each year, hundreds of thousands of tourists visit to see some of Africa’s famous mammals and the game drives in this national reserve is done three times in a day that is morning, afternoon and night game drives.
Attractions in Maasai Mara National Reserve.
Ol Kinyei conservancy.
This is one of the busiest and great attraction in the reserve, it was established in 2005 in partnership between 172 maasai landowners and porini safari camps to set apart some land to be cattle free zones for the purpose of promoting wildlife conservation, it’s occupied by swamps and water streams not forgetting the Mara river that runs across between the two and also acts as boundary.
It’s a conservancy in Maasai Mara. Mara triangle was founded by committee hardworking goals that aim at sustainable tourism through accountable transparent management that accounts for the welfare of both guests and wildlife. Mara triangle is less crowded, found across the Mara river, the Mara triangle proudly hosts the great attractions in Maasai Mara like wildebeest migration as it acts as an open door for both entrance and exit making it one of the riches destinations in maasai Mara where the most experimental game drives can be done.
This is the best game viewing areas in Maasai Mara, located on the northern sector of the game reserve with an area of approximately 19000 acres of land with the aim of maximizing sustainable Mara eco system.
MaraNaboisho conservancy located in the south west part of the maasai Mara national reserve, Olare Orok in the west and Ol Kinyei to the east occupies around 50,000 acres of land making it the second largest conservancy after Mara north in the region,
Ol Choro Oiroua.
Is the conservancy is managed by Seiya Limited under the control of Fairmount Kenya, it covers total area of 17,000 acres of land. It is located in the northern part of the maasai Mara national reserve with its greatest uniqueness from other conservancies being that even the youngest members of the benefiting tribes get their benefits from Ol Choro Oiroua conservancy Best time to visit Masai Mara National Reserve.
This is also one of the top attraction in Maasai Mara which is known as massive area foe wildness and scattered trees. The plain is so amazing as you can see for miles and have spectacular sights of some good game animals such as cheetah, herds of elephant, zebras and many more.
Where to stay in Maasai Mara national reserve.
There are quite number of accommodations where to stay when you in Maasai Mara national reserve ranging from mid-range, budget and luxury accommodations and they include as follows Mara Serena safari lodge, Mara big five lodge, Kichakani camp maasai Mara, sand river maasai Mara, sanctuary Olanna and many among others.
Best Time To Visit Maasai Mara National Reserve.
The best time to visit Masai Mara National reserve is between July to October and also December to February. July to October is when the migration reaches the Mara while December to February is the best time to see the big cats in action. If you to have a more private safari and avoid the crowds, you should visit when the migration is beginning or about to end. If you are not interested in the great migration but only want to see the Big 5 in one place, then you to visit in the low season, the big five mammals do not migrate and it is mistake to think the Mara is only worth visiting during the migration period.
How to get to Maasai Mara National Reserve.
Maasai Mara can be accesses by both roads and air transport.
By Air or flight transport.
Domestic flights are always used here, and the favoured route for Maasai Mara fly-in safari is by flying from Nairobi Wilson Airstrip, from here it is short (between 45 and 60 minutes) flight to Mara.
By Road transport.
The Maasai Mara is located 270km/167 mi northwest of Nairobi. The road is notoriously bad and the driving time is about five hours. It is also possible to drive from Lake Nakuru National Park, the distance is about 235km/150mi and the driving time is roughly six hours.