Maasai Mara National Reserve

Maasai Mara national reserve is a world-famous wildlife safari destination located in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya in the south western region of Narok County, 224 kilometers east of Nairobi. It is renowned for the great wildebeest migration and the big five animals (lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, and rhinos).

Maasai Mara encompasses 1,510 square kilometers of open plains, undulating hills, and two major rivers (Mara river and Talek river) that flow northward. The reserve is dominated by vast acacia trees in the southeast and the escarpments of the East African Rift valley Esiot Escarpment in the west. The escarpments extend 5600 kilometers from the red sea in Ethiopia, through Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi, to Mozambique.

Maasai people refer to Maasai Mara national reserve as the Mara park. The reserve was named in honor of the local Maasai ancestors who resided in the area now occupied by the reserve. “Mara” is the Maasai word for the shrubs, savanna, and grasslands that dominate Maasai Mara national reserve.

In 1961, the reserve was established as a 520-square-kilometer wildlife sanctuary; the sanctuary was subsequently transformed into a 1,821-square-kilometer game reserve, and its size was increased. In 1974, the remainder of the Maasai Mara national reserve was upgraded to national reserve status. 159 square kilometers were removed from the reserve and handed to local communities. The size of the reserve was reduced to 162 square kilometers, leaving 1,510 square kilometers for three ranches: Mara triangle, Sekenani, and Musiara.

The reserve is an excellent habitat for a variety of wildlife species, such as lions, elephants, buffaloes, zebras, cheetahs, rhinoceros, crocodiles, wild African dogs, elands, giraffes, gazelles, wildebeests, crocodiles, spotted hyenas, and many others.

Maasai Mara national reserve is also an ideal location for Kenya birding excursions, as it is home to over 470 bird species, such as Abdim’s stork, African finfoot, African wood owl, Ayres’s hawk eagle, Cinnamon-breasted bunting, and Denham’s bustard. Large kingfisher Grey-crested helmet-shrike, Grey penduline tit, and Grey penduline tit Hildebrandt’s starling, widowbird of Jackson Lazy cisticola, Ostrich, Purple grenadier, Red-breasted thrush, Ross’s turaco, Rufous-bellied heron, Rufous-throated wryneck, and Rosy-throated longclaw. Saddle-billed stork, The Schalow turaco, Secretary goose, Silverbird, South American ground hornbill, The Swahili sparrow, the Tabora cisticola, and the Temminck’s courser are all endangered species. Trilling cisticola, Usambiro barbet, White-bellied vanisher, Stork with a woolly neck Among them are the Yellow-mantled widowbird and the Yellow-throated sandgrouse.

Safari activities to do in Maasai Mara national reserve

Game viewing 

Exploring Maasai Mara on morning and afternoon game drives offers the chance to see a variety of animals, including lions, elephants, buffaloes, zebras, cheetahs, rhinos, crocodiles, wild African dogs, elands, and many others. Millions of wildebeests, accompanied by zebras, elands, and gazelles, cross from Serengeti national park to the plains of Maasai Mara national reserve during the great wildebeest migration, which can be observed during game viewing in Maasai Mara national reserve. The ideal opportunity to observe the great wildebeest migration is between July and September.

Bird watching 

The reserve is a remarkable destination for Kenya birding excursions, as it is home to over 470 bird species, 60 migrant species, and numerous raptors, making it a birder’s paradise. Maasai Mara national reserve provides the opportunity to observe a variety of avian species, including Abdim’s stork, African finfoot, African wood owl, Ayres’s hawk eagle, Cinnamon-breasted bunting, Denham’s bustard, and others. Large kingfisher The gray-crowned helmet-shrike, The grey penduline tit, the Hildebrandt’s starling, and the Jackson’s widowbird are all migratory birds. Lazy cisticola, Ostrich, Purple grenadier, Red-breasted thrush, This is Ross’s turaco, The pink-throated longclaw, Rufous-bellied heron, Rufous-throated wryneck, Saddle-billed stork, and Schalow’s turaco are all species of birds. Secretary goose, Swahili sparrow, Southern ground hornbill, and silverbird Tabora cisticola, Temminck’s courser, Trilling cisticola, Usambiro barbet are all species of cisticola. White-bellied vanisher, Other species include the Woolly-necked stork, Yellow-mantled widowbird, and Yellow-throated sandgrouse.

Watching the great wildebeest migration

Maasai Mara national reserve is one of the two protected areas in the globe where the great wildebeest migration occurs. The great wildebeests migration takes place within the Serengeti ecosystem, which consists of Maasai Mara and Serengeti national park. Over 1.5 million wildebeests and hundreds of thousands of zebras, elands, and Thomson and grant’s gazelles migrate between two protected areas in pursuit of green pasture and water during the Great Wildebeest Migration.

Observing the great wildebeest migration is the most fascinating wildlife event you will ever witness. The best event of the wildebeest migration in the Maasai Mara national reserve is the Mara river crossing, where the migrating animals face off against crocodiles in the river and predators on the riverbanks as they cross to the Mara plains. The best times to observe the great wildebeest migration and the river crossing in Maasai Mara national reserve are late July to early August, late October to early November, and September when the animals return to the south plains.

Cultural tours

Cultural tours in Maasai Mara are remarkable Kenya cultural tours that provide travelers with the opportunity to meet Maasai people and learn about their exquisite traditions, cultures, and customs. The Maasai are nomadic pastoralists dependent on livestock rearing, and while visiting their communities sharing boundaries with the reserve, you will enjoy viewing their circular houses (The Bomas) constructed from local materials, visit primarily schools, be entertained by local dances and drama, interact with the locals, and take part in circumcision ceremonies, among other activities that will enlighten you on the Maasai culture and traditions.

Maasai Mara National Reserve
Maasai People

Walking safaris

Walking safaris are the ideal Kenya safari activity for nature enthusiasts and are arranged in the Maasai Mara national reserve. For safety reasons, walking safaris are conducted under the supervision of an experienced, armed game ranger. The Naboisho conservancy in Maasai Mara is the ideal location for walking safaris due to its natural beauty and abundance of animals. During your trek, you will be able to view the rolling savannah plains, as well as animals and numerous birds such as.

Hot air balloon 

In contrast to game driving, where animals are viewed through the open windows of your vehicle, a hot air balloon safari in Masai Mara provides excellent views of the reserve’s infinite plains dominated by savannah. A hot air balloon safari provides aerial views of vast herds of animals, including lions, leopards, wildebeest, African elephants, zebras, and lions, among others.

Hot air balloon safaris are conducted in an inflated balloon suspended in the heavens above the reserve’s plains; the air balloon’s movement depends heavily on the direction of the wind. Per session, only 17 passengers are permitted in hot air balloons.

How to get to Maasai Mara national reserve 

The reserve is a highly accessible African safari destination in Kenya that can be accessed from a variety of locations in Kenya, including Musiara gate, Ololaomutiek gate, Olooolo gate, Sand river gate, sekenani gate, and Talek gate. The Maasai Mara national reserve is accessible via road and air travel.

By road, from Nairobi, a major tourism hub in Kenya, the Masai Mara national reserve is approximately three hours away via Narok town and Sekenani gate. When using both public and private road transportation, it is strongly recommended to use a four-wheel-drive automobile.

By air: domestic chartered flights to Maasai Mara national reserve are offered from Wilson airport in Nairobi, Samburu airport, Lewa Downs, Nanyuki, Mombasa and Diani airport landing to one of the airstrips serving Masai Mara national reserve. Numerous airstrips, including Keekorok airstrip, Cottars airstrip, Mara north airstrip, Musiara airstrip, Ngerende airstrip, Olare Orok airstrip, Ol Kiombo airstrip, Ol seki airstrip, Serena airstrip, and Siani airstrip, service the reserve.

Several airlines offer domestic chartered flights to Maasai Mara national reserve, including AirKenya Express, SafariLink Aviation Limited, East African Safari Air Express, Fly540, Bluebird aviation, Jambojet, Mombasa air safari, and many others.

Accommodation in Maasai Mara

Accommodation (safari lodges and camps) in Maasai Mara national reserve range from Luxury, midrange, and budget, and include elephant pepper camp, Mara Bush camp, Kikwa Tembo Tented camp, Mara Serena safari lodge, The Mara Suni lodge, and many others.

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