The Masai Mara National Reserve
TheMasai Mara National Reserve is presumed to be themost popular wildlife habitat in the country as well as a “must see” for new holidaymakers taking their first safari to Kenya. This reserve is blessed with a large number of different wild animals which makes it the best place to see Africa’s Big Five animals which include Buffaloes, lions, rhinos, elephants and leopards while in Kenya. Another important thing to note is that the annual wildebeest migration also takes place here from Serengeti.
About the Maasai Mara
Masai Mara National Reserve (commonly referred to as Maasai Mara or simply Mara) covers an area of 1,510 square kilometers and it’s found in the Rift Valley within southern Kenya. This huge savanna grassland whose boundaries are not demarcated with a physical fence is found approximately 150 miles south-east of Nairobi the capital city of Kenya.
Its name ‘Maasai Mara’ was derived from the local Kenyan people of the Maasai tribe as well as from River Mara which flows through the reserve.
Unlike other national parks in the country that are managed by theKenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the Maasai Mara National Reserve is managed the by the Narok district local county council.
Wildlife to see in the Maasai Mara
Thanks to the open savanna grasslands and River (which dries out during the dry season),the reserve is also home to Kenya’s richest wildlife concentration among which are the ‘Big Five’ (buffaloes, rhinos, elephants, leopards and lions), in addition to gazelles, crocodiles, zebras, hippos, antelopes, giraffes, hartebeests, hyenas, gnus, warthogs, as well as Oribis, among several others. The Mara is home to the biggest population of African lions among which are the black-maned lions.
There are also more than 400 birds species found in this reserve.
Weather and climate of the Maasai Mara National Reserve –
The large Maasai Mara Reserve is foundbetween at an altitude range of 4,875ft and 7,052ft above sea level, and because of this it experiences a damp climate with moderate temperaturesunlike most parts of the country. The maximum temperatures during the day are 85°F / 30°C and at night thy drop to as low as 60°F / 15°C. The heaviest rain is experienced starting in the month of March up to the end of May while the short rainscome in November and December. We recommend against visiting the park during the rainy months most of the roads are impassable.
In July through to October, the park experiences dry weather, the vegetation is verdant and the temperatures during the day are very pleasant. During this time the number of tourists is very high here. The highest temperatures are experienced in December and January.
How to get to the Reserve
By Road: It is about five hours drive from the capital Nairobi to Maasai Mara. The roads are all in good condition and passable especially in dry; however, during the rainy months game drives can only be conducted in 4WD vehicles.
By Air: there are daily scheduled flights from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) as well as Wilson Airport in Nairobi, and it takes approximately 45 minutes to eitherKeekorok, or Olkiombo, orMusiara airstripswhich serve this park. There are also flights available connecting from Mombasa to this reserve.
What to see or do in the Maasai Mara Reserve
This is among the best destinations to enjoy game viewingon the African continent,and these can be enjoyed as throughout the year. among the animals you will see in this reserve are the big cats, the big five(including buffaloes, elephants, rhinos, lions and leopards, in addition to large herds of zebras,Maasai giraffes, Jackals, hyenas, Oribis, white-bearded gnus, rone antelopes, warthogs, Topi antelopes, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles, crocodiles, hartebeests, hippos as well as bat-eared foxes.
View the Wildebeest Migration
There are more than one and a half million wildebeests, zebras plus various types of antelopes that take part in this annualmigrationduring whichthe animals march between the Mara Reserve and the Serengeti Park of Tanzania.
This migrating herd normally attracts a large number of hungry predators among which are hyenas plus lions that normally prey on the weak, sick andlame animals.
For four months–July to October, the animals move towards the Maasai Mara and the best time to watch this herd is from July to August as the herd is crossing the full River Mara also filled with a large number of hungry crocodiles ready to preyon this herd.
Enjoy Rides in the Hot Air Balloon
The Maasai Mara Reserve offers one of the very best Hot Air Balloon Safari experience on the African continent offering tourists an opportunity to enjoy views of this reserve as you glide up in the sky watching the numerous animals down blow you. The ride will take close to two hours beginning very early in the morning before sun rise. On landing you will enjoy a bush breakfast.
Bird lovers visiting on a Safari in Kenya, the Maasai Mara is one of the best places you can enjoy bird watching adventures. Over 400 different bird species have been recorded here among which are several birds of prey, black-bellied hartlaubs bustards, vultures, ross turacos, ostriches, orange buffs, long-crested eagles, Pel’s fishing owls, pygmy falcons, wary guinea fowl, secretary birds, Jackson’s bustards, marabous, white-tipped crests as well as the red-winged Schalow’s turacos in addition to many others.
The Maasai Cultural Tours
During our exciting cultural tours you will have an opportunity to step back into the ancient way of life as you visit the Maasai village to meet and interact with the local people as well as experience the amazing culture. The young Maasai warriors will entertain you with thrilling performances of their traditional dance.Also get a chance to buy some souvenirs and art pieces made by the Maasai people.
AdditionalActivities to enjoy in the Maasai Reserve
Guided Nature Walks
Bush Dinners organized through you lodge
Where to Stay in the Maasai Mara
Basing on your budget, there are a number of accommodation options ranging from the luxury, mid-range and budget facilitiesas well as campsites. Among the popular accommodations here are:Sarova Mara, Keekorok Lodge, Mpata Safari Club, KichwaTembo Camp, Mara Intrepids Club, Governors Camp, Mara River Camp, Mara Serena Safari Lodge, Siana Springs Camp, Governors Camp as well as Mara Safari Club.
There are also a number of eco-lodges here including Ilkeliani Luxury Tented Camp as well as Base Camp Masai Mara.
Among the available places for camping are: Oloolaimutiek Campsite, Mara Springs Camp, OlpertElongo Camp, Riverside Camp and Simba Camp.
Best time to visit the Maasai Mara
From December to March as well as from July to October the weather is very pleasant which makes this the best time to visit the reserve. Although April and June are also good months they are normally cold and rainy.
For the best views of the wildebeest Migration, the reserve can be visited from July and August.