Maasai Mara National Reserve

Maasai Mara National Reserve which is frequently recognised as Masai Mara and by the locals as The Mara is an enormous game reserve  found in  Narok County  in Kenya. The reserve is  adjoining with the Serengeti National Park in Mara Region in Tanzania.

The national reserve is baptised in honor of the Maasai people (the inherited residents of the area) and their explanation of the area when looked at from afar: “Mara,” which means Maa in Maasai language   and it is spotted with upright depiction for the circles of trees, scrub, savanna, and cloud shadows that mark the area.

Maasai Mara is internationally well-known for its remarkable population of Masai lions, African leopards and Tanzanian cheetahs, and the yearly migration of zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, and wildebeest to and from the Serengeti every year from July to October, known as the Great Migration.

The National Reserve is only a section 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.

Maasai Mara National Reserve is questionably the most common wildlife destination on the sphere. This is where the idea of safaris originated, and is a reserve  where one can see millions of gazelle, zebras and wildebeest make their annual trip to Tanzania, giving births to thousands of calves en-route. The Mara has often been called the most productive wildlife destination in the entire world. When you there, you will see unending regions of savannah, untamed wilderness, massive plains and some of the most unusual animals that man has never seen.

By the time it was established as wildlife sanctuary in 1961, the Mara covered only 520 square kilometers (200 sq mi) of the present area, together with the Mara Triangle. The area was later stretched to the east in 1961 to cover 1,821 km2 (703 sq mi) and transformed to a game reserve. The Narok County Council (NCC) took over management of the reserve at this time. Part of the reserve was given National Reserve status in 1974, and the remaining area of 159 km2 (61 sq mi) was returned to local communities. An additional 162 km2 (63 sq mi) were removed from the reserve in 1976, and the park was reduced to 1,510 km2 (580 sq mi) in 1984.

In 1994, the Trans Mara County Council (TMCC) was formed in the western part of the reserve, and control was divided between the new council and the existing Narok County Council. In May 2001, the non-profit Mara Conservancy took over management of the Mara Triangle. 

The geography.

The Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR) covers some 1,510 km2 (583 sq mi)[1] in south-western Kenya. It is the northern-most section of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, which covers some 25,000 km2 (9,700 sq mi) in Tanzania and Kenya. It is surrounded by the Serengeti Park to the south, the Siria escarpment to the west, and Maasai pastoral ranches to the north, east and west. Rainfall in the ecosystem increases noticeably along a southeast–northwest gradient, varies in space and time, and is markedly bimodal. The Sand, Talek River and Mara River are the major rivers draining the reserve. Shrubs and trees fringe most drainage lines and cover hill drops and summits.

The land of the reserve is largely open grassland with seasonal river lets. In the south-east region are batches of the unique acacia tree. The western border is the Esoit (Siria) Escarpment of the East African Rift, which is a system of rifts some 5,600 km (3,500 mi) long, from Ethiopia’s Red Sea through Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi and into Mozambique. Wildlife tends to be most concerted here, as the swampy ground means that access to water is always good, while tourist disturbance is nominal. The easternmost border is 224 kilometers (139.2 mi) from Nairobi, and hence it is the eastern regions which are most visited by tourists.

Altitude: 1500-2180m; Rainfall: 83mm/month; Temperature range: 12-30℃

Masai Mara is positioned in south-west Kenya and is one of Africa’s Greatest Wildlife Reserves. Together with the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania it forms Africa’s most diverse, improbable and most remarkable eco-systems and perhaps the world’s top safari big game viewing eco-system.

How to get there.

Masai Mara is found just 270 km from the capital Nairobi City and takes about 4-5 hours’ drive by road or 40-45 minutes by flight. The road is great for the most part. There is a section from Narok town to Sekenani Gate that is dirt road but fairly good. The other road through Lemek and Aitong town is not good at all and very bumpy.

Best Time to Visit

Maasai Mara can be visited during the wildebeest migration in JULY – OCTOBER; this is the best time to see this unbelievable movement of animals. Although it is not guaranteed that the wildebeest get to Maasai Mara, it has yet to let us down. Also, December to February area great times as it is dryer and good for the Big Cats.

However Maasai Mara is an all year round destination with the big cats, and all the big game still in the Maasai Mara Ecosystem.

Accommodation: 

There is a wide selection of places to stay in and around the Maasai Mara and the conservancies surrounding it. The conservancies surrounding the Maasai Mara have restricted number of vehicles allowing a more private game viewing of wildlife.