Maasai Mara National Reserve
Details of Maasai 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 the south western 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 amazingly in harmony and this co-existence of man. 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 is permitted.
Masai Mara is the favourite safari destination
Seasoned safari travelers, writers, documentary makers and researchers will admit Masai Mara is their favourite. 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.
The greatest reserve in Africa
Considered the greatest reserve in Africa, Masai Mara prides of 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 - Mosaic of bushes and trees
The word “Mara’’ refers to the patchy mosaic of bushes and trees that define Mara plains. The Mara comprises 200 sq miles of open plains, woodlands and river line forest. Contiguous with the plains of the Serengeti, the Mara is home to a breath taking array of life. The Ngama Hills, the Siria Escarpment, the Mara Triangle and the Central Plains.
The 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 sq km of open grassland, riverine forest, acacia woodlands, swamps, thickets and scrubs. The permanent Mara and Talek Rivers and their tributaries flow through the Reserve.
The rainy season between April and May and in November.
The dry season is between July and October and there is long grass after the rains hence huge herds of herbivores can be seen.
In December in January is hottest and coldest in June and July. Evey year at end of July and November there are lots of rain and there is lots of fresh grass.
Home of Kenya's famous 'Big cats'
The ecosytem hosts over 95 animal species and they include large herds of elephant and buffalo meandering the plains, the hippo pools in the Mara brown rivers, masai girrafe, topi, grant and thompsons gazzele, zebra, plenty of Nile crocodile, blue and red tailedmonkeys and tree hyrax. With abundance of herbivore it definetely makes it ideal hunting grounds for predators and therefore are home kenya's famous 'Big cats'. The lions, lepards, chettah, spotted hyena and jackals can be spotted easily.
Amazingly the massai warriors share the plains with these hunting lions.
Millions of widbeests and zebras leave Serengeti plains and make a spectacular migration into Mara. As they trek across the plains they will cross the Mara and Talek rivers that are infested with hippos and crocodiles. In droves they plunge into the rivers with currents and have to fight with the waiting crocodiles and hippos and only the succesful make to other side while other fall prey.
Eighth Wonder of the World
The frenzy is a great natural spectacle and a pictureseque of the world and has earned the title ''Eighth Wonder of the World''. At end of October, they begin to cross back to Serengeti. However its good to note that the actual timing is dictated by weather and may not always run on schedule.
Acacia trees are abound with bird life.
On the plains you will spot common ostorich, secretary bird, ground hornbill, african fish eagle, yellow-billed stork, sacred ibis and helmeted guinea fowl.
Home to a 53 species of raptors
The Reserve, is a home to 53 species of raptors, augur buzzard, black-shouldered kite, bateleur eagle and 6 species of vulture inclusive. It happens to be the only place in Kenya where you can see the rare Schalow's turaco. There is variety of vegetation in mara creating a botanical marvel home.