Rules & Regulations in Masai Mara National Reserve
Rules and regulations in Masai Mara National Reserve are put in place to ensure that tourists conserve the environment while enjoying viewing the wildlife species in their natural habitat.
There are a variety of wildlife species which can be seen in this reserve and they include wildebeest, elephants, giraffes, buffalos, hartebeests, zebras, hyenas, lions, leopards, cheetahs, rhinos among others.
Due to the many numbers of tourists who visit the Masai Mara reserve for different activities in the reserve such as game drives and nature walks, the authority which manages the reserve regulates the behavior of tourists by using the rules and regulations.
Tourists are briefed by their guides before engaging in the game viewing activities in the Masai Mara reserve as a way of increasing their awareness about conserving their environment. The rules and regulations are also displayed at the entrance gates of the reserve.
The Masai Mara reserve is managed by the Masai community with the help of stakeholders in the tourism industry to increase the benefits of tourism to the local community. The rules and procedures in Masai Mara reserve include the following;
- Avoid exceeding the speed limit of 50km/hr in order to protect the wildlife and the ecosystem. This rule helps tourists to avoid accidents while driving around the Masai Mara reserve such as knocking the wildlife species.
- Keep at a distance from the wildlife to avoid interfering with the behavior of the animals in their habitat. The presence of humans in the natural habitat of the wildlife species scares the animals and keeps them from continuing with their usual way of life.
- Avoid making noise, sounding your horn, playing music so as to avoid scaring away the animals. The loud noise startles the wildlife species and this may cause a lot of confusion among the animals and lead to unseen accidents such as stampedes which endanger the tourists.
- Drivers are prohibited from going off the track. This rule protects the tourists from dangers of driving off the usual routes for game drives such as getting lost in the wilderness, getting attacked by wild animals and many other dangers in the Masai Mara reserve.
- Avoid getting too close to the animals. Tourists are encouraged to carry equipment such as binoculars in order to be able to see the wildlife species in the Masai Mara reserve even from a far distance.
- No more than five vehicles are allowed around one wildlife sighting. This rule makes it possible for other tourists who are visiting the Masai Mara reserve to also share in the wildlife viewing experience and to see its attractions.
- Avoid getting out of the vehicles with exception of the viewing points along the river and at the picnic sites. This rule protects the tourists from risks associated with leaving the tourists vehicles during game viewing activities in the Masai Mara reserve such as attacks from the animals.
- Avoid feeding the animals because this makes them abandon their normal hunting and feeding behaviors.
- Avoid littering the reserve. Tourists are also discouraged from littering the Masai Mara reserve in order to protect the environment and to conserve the wildlife species which live in the reserve.
- Respect the animals and avoid trying to get the animals to move by making loud noise, clapping hands, banging the car doors and other forms of signaling to the wildlife species.
- Taking or removal of specimen such as bones, feathers, stones, plants and flowers from the protected areas in the Masai Mara reserve is prohibited.
- Avoid blocking a river crossing during the wildlife viewing activities in the Masai Mara reserve. Tourists are also advised against driving through animal herds and to slow down for the animals.
- Tourists are encouraged to respect the opening and closing times of the Masai Mara reserve. The reserve opens at 06:00 am in the morning and closes at around 7:00 pm in the evening on a daily basis.
Tourists are encouraged to follow the guidelines given to them in the Masai Mara reserve to avoid the penalties which are given to them by the park authorities and the stakeholders in charge of the conservation of the reserve.
Some of the penalties put in place for the people who violate the rules and regulations of the Masai Mara reserve include paying on the spot fines to the authorities in charge of the reserve, banishment from the reserve among others.
Fines of about Ksh 10,000 are paid to the rangers’ office before exiting the reserve. Fines are also paid by illegal grazers in the Masai Mara reserve in order to reduce the level of poaching and killing of the wildlife species by the local community.
The rules and regulations in the Masai Mara reserve have also promoted tourism by involving the local community in conserving the environment and avoiding acts such as poaching which affects the number of wildlife in the reserve.
These rules and regulations guide tourists to protect the Masai Mara reserve and its wildlife species so that other tourist who visit the destination in the future can also enjoy the wildlife viewing experience during their safari.