Welcome to Maasai Mara National Reserve Kenya
Maasai Mara National Reserve is one of the key popular tourism points in Kenya, its located in South-western Kenya along the Great Rift Valley area in Norok county Kenya adjacent to Serengeti national park of Tanzania all around Mara Region. The Reserve was named in honor of the ancestral inhabitants the Maasai people who described the area as Mara meaning spotted circles of trees, savanna, scrub and cloud shadows of the area. Maasai Mara National Reserve was established in 1961 as a wildlife sanctuary covering a small area of only 520 square kilometers of the current Mara Triangle. In the same year, the reserve was extended to the East to cover around 1,821 square Kilometers, it’s at this point that it was converted into a game reserve under the new management of the local community of Narok County Council. Maasai mara in 1974 then acquired national reserve status and some part of the land measuring 159 km2 was returned to the locals, in 1976 more deduction was done to the park totaling to 162 square kilometers reducing the total area of the park to 1510 square kilometers by 1984.
In 1994, Trans Mara County Council was formed and this leads to the division of the management of the park between Narok County Council and the new council. To further complicate but a good move that in 2001, another not-for-profit Mara Conservancy was formed and took over the management of the reserve. Maasai Mara National Reserve is bordered by Siria escarpment in the West, Serengeti in the south and Maasai pastoral ranches on the North, East, and West. The park has the Maasai Mara River and Talek River as key draining rivers for the park. The vegetation of the park is mostly open savannah grassland with some seasonal rivulets, some doted acacia trees. The reserve is most popular for the annually great migration where millions of wildebeest cross the Mara River under the survival of the fittest besides the big Nile crocodiles, predators like Lions, leopards, and others. You can see all the big five in Masai Mara those are Elephants, Leopards, Lions, Buffalos and Rhinos with the highest number of black rhinos in Africa.
Discover Maasai Mara National Reserve
Explore the vast lands of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya
Location of Maasai Mara: Maasai Mara national reserve is located in the South Western part of Kenya, its 180 kilometers away from the Kenyan Capital city Nairobi. Masai Mara is one of the most famous national reserves not only in Kenya but in Africa at large. This reserve is found in Narok County in Kenya adjacent to the endless plains of Serengeti national park that form the great Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem. Masai Mara national reserve covers 1,510 square kilometers that run to the Northern Most section of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem that covers over 30,000 square kilometers. The reserve is bordered by Serengeti national park in the South, Siria Escarpment on the West and the Masai pastoral ranches on the North, West, and East. The reserve is drained by three main rivers those are: the Sand River, the Talek river and the Mara river. Masai Mara can be accessed by both road transport and by flight with daily flights operating through Nairobi at Jomo Kenyatta national airport and Wilson airstrip. Other domestic flights connect from different domestic airstrips across East Africa.
Attractions in Masai Mara National Reserve: Attractions in Masai mara national Reserve has both nature and wildlife attractions that are allocated in the middle of the park. These attractions are subdivided in conservancies that are managed by different Masaai locals around the park. Below are the top Attractions in Masai mara national Reserve: Seeing the great wildebeest migration, the largest world’s animal’s migration that happens annually, The Masaai Culture is one of the few remaining untapped cultures on the planet. The Hot Air Balloon Safari, Big game, walking safaris and bird watching.
Narok Museum located in the Maasai largest town Narok. It’s one of the unique attraction found in this little isolated town, the Museum is parked with the traditions and culture of the Masaai.
Ol Kinyei Conservancy is one of the key attractions in Masai Mara located in the center of the reserve along with the greater Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. It’s the largest conservancy in Mara endorsed with a wide range of attractions from rolling Kopjes to the mighty great migration along the Mara River. The Mara Triangle is another famous conservancy in Masai mara. It is managed by the Trans-Mara county Council. The Mara triangle covers an area of 510 square kilometers, it’s situated next to Oloololo Escarpment. Other Attractions in Masai Mara National Reserve include Mara River where the great wildebeest migrations happen, Mara North Conservancy, Olare Ork Conservancy, Ol Choro Oiroua conservancy and Lemek Conservancy.
Hot air Balloon in Masai Mara: Hot air Balloon in Masai Mara is one of the few unmissable experiences at the reserve. Have a great Eagle view of Masai Mara as you float on air seeing the aerial view of the wildlife and entire topography of the reserve. Hot Air Balloon in Masai mara is a unique experience that lasts for 1 hour or more depending on the weather of the day. You enjoy the pink toques of the sunlight flicker that crosses the sky, observing the rays of the sun rise spread all over the balloon basket. The Balloon safaris in Maasai Mara starts early in the morning at around 5 am with briefing by the senior pilots before we are set to enter and sit down at the basket as the hot air balloon is started. The Maasai Mara hot air balloon takes you as close as possible to nature where you can make clear videos, take as many photos as you can. You catch wildlife actions live while on the flight like wildebeest migration, hunting of the big cats and many more. The Hot Air balloon is done in the bush with a toast of wine glass before your driver collects you to take back to the lodge.
Wildebeest migration in Masai Mara: Wildebeest migration in Masai Mara is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Its recorded as the largest wildlife migration on planet earth that takes place annually. The wildebeest circular migration follows the yearly weather calendar as the animals look for fresh water and pasture. The wildebeest move miles and miles from the endless plains of Serengeti to the Maasai Mara national park through Mara River. Wildebeest migration in Maasai Mara National Park happens from July to August when millions of the wildebeest and other grazers like Zebras, topis and others more to the Southern part of Masai mara to look for green pastures. Its much incredible, magical and indescribable action worth viewed live not reading on documentaries. The journey attracts a lot of predators especially the big cats on land and big Nile Crocodiles on the water during crossing the River as its termed as Survival to the fittest. Wildebeest migration in Maasai Mara National Park is the world’s most thrilling and spectacular displays of wildlife which is unique. The animals will spend between two to three months in Masai Mara before they transfer again back to Serengeti national park.
Activities in Masai Mara: Exploring the best of Maasai Mara national reserve with the best Tour operators gives the guests a wide range of experience through different Safari activities at the reserve hence making your African trip more remarkable. We offer our guests a wide range of best selected safari activities that are done both inside and outside the reserve. You can explore these activities by car, foot or Horse and they can be done either by day time or at night.
Game drives are the key activity in all African wildlife protected areas. The game drives can be done the whole day, half day or at night. Maasai Mara is among the few national reserves that allow night game drives.
Nature walks are the guided walking safaris that are led by the game rangers or the Masaai warrior. We follow the footsteps of the wildlife at the wilderness as the Explores did, experiencing the beauty of nature on foot. The other great activity in Maasai mara National Park is the Hot Air Balloon which is once in lifetime experience recommended as an unmissable activity while in Maasai Mara. Cultural Tours, visit the locals and see true African set up of traditions in Africa with the Maasai culture. Guests can also enjoy the new form of wildlife game drives called Horseback Safaris. Encountering the best of the bush while on top of the other animals is a unique experience.
Wildebeest migration viewing, 1000’s of tourists flock Masai Mara from July to October as they come to catch a live migration of the wildebeest. Happening annually is one of the memorial events in Maasai Mara National Park. Besides viewing wildebeest birders also enjoy the reserve as it’s a home of over 500 bird species both migratory and permanent residents. The reserve has more and more activities that the guests can enjoy while in the park and outside the park.
Maasai Mara Gates: It is easy to access Maasai Mara National Reserve through all the directions as the park gates are found in all the lead routes to the Reserve. There are 6 Maasai Mara National Reserve gates distributed to ease the accessibility of the reserve. The furthest gate taking around 5 to 6 hour drive from the capital Nairobi. The six gates of Masai Mara are: Oloololo Gate located in the North Eastern part of the reserve. Oloolaimutia gate that gives access to the Reserve on the Eastern side, Musiara Gate which is next to the Oloololo gate in the East just opposite the great Mara river. Other gates are Talek Gate which is located on the North Western part of Maasai Mara, it’s one of the oldest and well developed gates in Masai mara. The last gate is Sand River Gate which is located on the Southern Masai Mara bordering the Serengeti national park. The gate is used by guests who do safaris in both Kenya and Tanzania.
The Maasai tribe: The Maasai tribe is one of the native tribes found in Kenya, they occupy the Southern and Northern part of the country. The locals leave along the Great Rift Valley which has a semi-desert climate. The Maasai tribe practices a nomad lifestyle where they depend on their livestock for livelihood with little agriculture. Its out of this nature that government from different countries allow them to settle around the wildlife protected areas. They are among the few tribes in Africa that have managed to conserve their traditions and cultures amidst modernization of the continent
Accommodation in Masai Mara: For every remarkable safari experience, accommodation facility plays the greatest role. Accommodation in Maasai Mara National Park caters for all the budgets of the guests from Budget clients to Mid-range and finally luxury guests. The guest goes relax at the lodge after long day activities, the accommodations are located both inside the reserve and others outside the Reserve. Camping tents are available with different tour operators.