Maasai Mara national reserve is part of the Mara eco system and adjoins Serengeti national park with numerous wildlife roaming between the plains of the two countries’ Kenya and Tanzania, it boasts as one of the most famous safari destinations known for its wildebeest migration annually.
It’s found in Narok county of Kenya at the rift valley province.
The Maasai Mara reserve covers an area of about 1, 510 kilometers squared with very rich diversity ranging from over 570 species of birds, 95 species of mammals, plant species and Savannah grasslands the migration of over two million wildebeests along side zebras escorted by their predators is undoubtedly one the best incredible wildlife scenes you can come across.
The Maasai Mara reserve derives its name from the local nomadic pastoralists who used to graze their cattle in this area alongside wildlife. The word Mara stands for “spotted”.
It was established in 1961 covering an area 520 square kilometers but was later extended to cover 1,510 kilometers squared when part of the reserve land was returned to the local communities.
The great annual wildebeest migration arrives to stay for four month; there are a lot of animal tracking routes where tourists can view lots of wildlife such as cheetahs, leopards, buffalos, lion, black rhinos, elephants, Thompson’s gazelle, wildebeests, top and many more.
Maasai Mara is one Kenya’s top destinations for birding making it a birders paradise, the bird enthusiasts can expect to see over 500 species of birds some examples of birds found in the reserve are; lilac breasted roller, African pygmy falcons, Masai giraffes, crowned cranes, secretary birds, ostriches, long crested eagles, marabou storks, vultures, hornbill and many more.
The Maasai people have typically un spoilt African culture with unique cultural values and different ways of life; they have always depended on pastoralists from he ancient times.
Tourists can even go a head and graze the Masai cattle along side the warriors in the wilderness, they also entertain tourists with local traditional dances in most hotels in the Eastern evenings.
Balloon safari at the Masai Mara reserve are always conducted in the mornings with clear views of the rising sun, lots of nocturnal animals to be seen such as hyenas return back to their dens after night grazing, it’s also a better way to view wildlife other than on a safari vehicle.
There are a number of places to select where to stay from ranging from camps to luxurious hotels some of the accommodation units found in the Mara can be named below; Mahali Mzuri,Ngerende island lodge, Olarro lodge, Mara West camp, Entumoto safari camp, Lusokwan luxury camp among others.
The Maasai Mara national reserve can be visited all year round but the best time is when the great migration has arrived from Serengeti national park in Tanzania this is from July to October, the big cats are always available all year round and mainly from December to February.
Maasai Mara reserve can be reached by road from Nairobi in about 4-5 hours covering a distance of 270 kilometers; it’s accessible by flight in about 40-45 minutes.