Maasai Mara National Reserve Kenya
Maasai Mara national reserve Kenya also known as Masai Mara national reserve is Kenya’s premium protected areas alongside Amboseli and Lake Nakuru national parks. It’s the largest game reserve found in Narok County. It is contiguous with the famous Tanzanian Serengeti national park. In fact it forms the Mara- Serengeti ecosystem which is the oldest in the world, the ecosystem is the largest across East Africa. Maasai Mara was named to honor the local Maasai residents that are the ancestral inhabitants of the region. The word “Mara” was added which described the landscape of the reserve when looked from a distance. The word “Mara” means “spotted” by the Maa language. They meant the dotted spotted Acacia trees that circled around the reserve. The reserve is the mecca of wildlife not only in Kenya but entire Africa. Its blessed with a large number of wildlife species. The Masai Mara national reserve is composed of greater Mara Ecosystem. The eco system is made up of Maasai conservancies and the Mara triangle. The Mara conservancies include: Ol Chorro Oirowua, Lemek, Kimintet, Koiyaki, Siana, Oloirien, Ol Derkesi, Maji Moto, Olkinyei, Naikara and many others.
History of Maasai Mara national reserve Kenya
Maasai Mara national reserve Kenya was first established in 1961 as wildlife Sanctuary that was covering only 520 square kilometres. Within 1961 the reserve was extended to the East which brought the total land area to 1,821 square kilometres. After the extension, the sanctuary was converted into game reserve. This is when now the Narok county Council took over the daily management and sensitization of the locals on the importance of the game reserve. In 1974 Maasai Mara national reserve Kenya was declared a national reserve. The involvement of the locals on the management of the reserve also affected the reserve in that some land was given to the locals and by 1984 only 1,510 square kilometres were remaining till today.
In 1994 another management council was formed due to some differences among the locals from different conservancies and TransMara County Council was formed. It was started in the Western part of Maasai Mara national reserve Kenya hence diving the management of the reserve into two councils. In 2001 the locals further formed another governing body which was called Not-for-profit Mara Conservancy which took the headship of the Mara triangle.
The Maasai Mara national reserve Kenya was fist established by the British colonists who wanted to conserve and preserve the Africa wildlife and its scenic beauty. After deadly hunt and killing of the predators by the locals. The local Maasai tradition entails that for one to be initiated as Maasai warrior one has to execute and show the powers by killing a lion.
The Maasai locals who are the ancestral inhabitants of the area are the pastoralists, they are the only local community that has managed to stay peacefully inside protected parks. Their mode of life has made it possible for them to leave in harmony with wildlife since they solely depend on their cattle as a source of life.
Location of Maasai Mara national reserve Kenya
Maasai Mara national reserve Kenya is located in the South western part of Kenya in the famous Great Rift Valley Region. The reserves cover an area of 1,510 square kilometres making it one of the largest reserve found in Narok county. The reserves lie on the Rift Valley the fault line that runs over 3,500 miles. It stretches from Ethiopia’s red sea down through Kenya. Maasai Mara national reserve Kenya borders Serengeti national park in the South, Masai ranches on the North and East and Siria escarpment on the West.
The reserve can be reached by good tarmac road from Capital Nairobi which takes 5 to 6 hours drive. The drive is more scenic with great view of the Great Rift Valley features, culture and scenic landscapes. There are several public means that operate daily from Nairobi to Narok town which can be accessed by any traveller. The only challenge is that the public means leaves you in Narok town and you have to look for the car to take you inside the reserve. Alternatively, one can also use domestic flights that operate daily from Wilson airport in Nairobi taking only 45 minutes to the reserve. There are several domestic flights that operate to different airstrips found at the reserve. The flight easies the long drive through the bumpy roads of Africa full of the traffic jams, especially around the town areas.
Wildlife in Maasai Mara national reserve Kenya
Maasai Mara national reserve Kenya is an all-year tourist destination, it’s the best wildlife destination in Africa. It is much known for a large number of predators and the wildebeest migration. The reserve homes the largest population of lions across the country. Other predators include Leopards, Cheetahs, Jackals, Hyenas and others. Maasai Mara national reserve Kenya is the best place to see the African big five those are Elephants, Rhinos, Lions, Buffaloes and leopards. Masai Mara is wildlife heaven with the world’s largest multi wildlife species migration that annually takes place between Masai Mara and Serengeti national parks. The most notable wildlife include Wildebeest, gazelles, zebras, Antelopes, topis, kudus, giraffes, warthogs, dik-dik, oribi and many others.
Masai mara national reserve also boasts for the high number of bird species with over 450 bird species. Out of the total 45 species are birds of the prey. The key bird species include Kori bustard, lovebirds, starlings, ostriches, different species of Eagles, tens, swallows, waders, weavers, Cattle Egret, secretary bird and others.
Recommended time to visit Maasai Mara national reserve Kenya
The reserve can be visited throughout the year due to the permanent wildlife inhabitants at the park. The reserve has more permanent residents that make the wildlife viewing experience wonderful at any time of the year. However, due to weather factors, the Maasai Mara national reserve Kenya is best visited during the dry months. These dry months start from June to October and its during this tie that the wildebeest migration happens that attracts more travellers to the reserve. Its busier but easy to view most of the big game during the dry months when the grass is short. Also the animals concentrate on the water catchment areas making it easy for the driver guide to look for the specific game that the guest is interested at.
If you’re a birder the rainy season from March to May is the best when the birds are breeding and the reserve hosts a large number of migratory birds during this time.
Are you looking for the big game in Africa, Kenya Masai Mara national reserve is the best destination where Gold meets sliver in wildlife. The best wildlife sanctuary not only in Kenya but the entire world. It is very small but inhabits over 50% of the total wildlife in Kenya and it can be accessed at any time of the year. For safari packages check on our tailor-made itineraries that are developed by our safari experts.