History of Masai Mara National Reserve
History of Masai Mara National Reserve will give you an insight into what the park was and the different historical features that the park grew through. Masai Mara National Reserve which is located in the south western part of Kenya is a tourist destination famously known for its amazing wildlife viewing opportunities. This national park also has a strong background which has greatly contributed to its fame among tourists.
This reserve is also made up of lush grassland, acacia woodland, magnificent plateaus, open plains in the rift valley escarpment where wildlife species can be seen roaming and grazing.
Masai Mara reserve was established as a wildlife sanctuary named after the Masai people who are inhabitants of the reserve. The word “Mara” is a description in the Maa language which means “spotted” as a way of describing the nature of the tree-dotted landscape in the reserve.
It was later extended to the east and it became a game reserve under the management of the Narok county council in 1961.
Following the British colonization and influence in Kenya, the Masai Mara reserve was established to preserve the African wildlife and its landscape and this lasted until 1963 when Kenya got its independence.
The influence of the British on the Masai Mara National reserve greatly impacted the local community of the Masai who were displaced since the British perceived that they were doing more harm than good to the reserve.
The Masai community which makes up parts of the northern, central and southern parts of Kenya lost culturally significant areas of the reserve and this affected their pastoralist way of life since they relied on those lands to sustain the cattle and other livestock they kept.
In 1974, part of the reserve was returned to the local community of the Masai people. An additional part of the reserve was also removed in 1976 and by 1984, the size of this reserve had reduced.
The trans-Mara council county was formed in the western part of the reserve and the management was divided between the new council and the Narok county council.
In 2001, the Mara conservancy took over the management of the Mara triangle which is known for supporting a large number of wildlife species and it also borders the Mara River where the wildebeest cross into the Masai Mara reserve from Serengeti national park annually.
The Mara Triangle is also the largest part of the reserve and it consists of the scattered bushes and kopjes where lions can be seen seated as they watch their prey grazing in the central plains and grasslands.
Tourists can access the Masai Mara reserve through different means such as by road and by air. By road, tourists can drive from Nairobi to Narok and then proceed to any of the gates which are located in different parts of the reserve.
By air, tourists can fly to any of the airstrips in the reserve which organize both domestic or charter flights.
Wildlife species which can be seen in the Masai Mara National Reserve include the big five such as lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos, and rhinos as well as other wildlife species such as cheetahs, wildebeest, gazelles, zebras, hyenas, giraffes, topis, gazelles, warthogs, elands, jackals, waterbucks, oribis, reedbucks among others.
The best time to visit the Masai Mara reserve is in the months of July to October which is the dry season. During this time, tourists can also witness the wildebeest migration which is among the natural wonders of the world.
Masai Mara reserve experiences both rainy and dry seasons. The rainy season takes place in the months of November, December, March, and May.
The Masai people who live around the Masai Mara reserve have also contributed to tourism and promoting conservation in the reserve. Tourists visit the Masai villages for different cultural experiences such as watching traditional dance performances, visiting the “manyattas” which are the traditional Masai houses, seeing local arts and crafts among other activities.
Tourists who visit the Masai Mara reserve engage in different activities such as game drives which take place in the morning and in the evening, nature walks, hot air balloon safaris, bird watching, cultural visits among others.
Visit the Masai Mara reserve and get to know the rich history of the home of the Masai people as you explore the different attractions and engage in different activities in the reserve.