MASAI MARA NATIONAL GAME RESERVE
Masai Mara National Reserve is of no doubt that one magical wilderness paradise that is worth exploring on Kenya safari holiday. This conservancy area is also best known as the Maasai Mara National Reserve and it straddles in Southwestern Kenya on the mighty Rift Valley Region, Norok County of Kenya bordering Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park of Tanzania. This reserve boasts of its enormous wildlife and breathtaking landscape. It takes its name from the Maasai ethnic group.
In 1961, the Masai Mara National Reserve was initially a designated wildlife sanctuary and at the time, it straddled in an area of 520sq.kms. In 1974, its status changed into a game reserve, and currently, it sits in an area of 1510sq.kms just between the altitudinal range of 1500 and 2180m. It consists largely of dotted acacia trees in the Southeast, vast savanna grassland as well as scenic Mara and Talek Rivers which flow via the reserve.
- History of Masai Mara National Reserve
The unique history of Maasai Mara National Park can be traced as far as 1974 when it was established. However, the reserve was initially set as a wildlife sanctuary in 1961 and it extended up to only 520sq.kms. It was during the same period that its boundaries were extended to incorporate some parts of the East which increased its size to 1821sq.kms. Later, its status changed into the game reserve and this was under the Narok County Council management.
Attractions in Masai Mara National Reserve
- Wildlife safari
What makes the Masai Mara National Reserve an outstanding wildlife safari destination is a huge concentration of wildlife. This makes it an unusual game viewing safari destination-worthy exploring Kenya safaris tour. Among the many wildlife to explore include wildebeest, Cape buffaloes, lions, rhinos, Thompson’s gazelles, zebras, topis, elephants, leopards, hippos, crocodiles in Mara and Talek Rivers; jackals, hyenas, antelopes, the Masai giraffes, bat-eared foxes, cheetahs.
With over 500 bird species, Maasai Mara National Reserve is of no doubt a birder’s haven. The different avifaunal species to sight on Kenya birding tour include lilac-breasted rollers, African pygmy falcons, Jackson’s bustards, red-winged Schawlow’s turacos, ostriches, long-crested eagles, black-bellied hart laub’s bustards, grey crowned cranes, Pel’s fishing owls, guinea fowls, southern ground hornbill, little bee-eaters, Denham’s bustards, grey kestrel, superb starling, Kori bustards, Ross’s turacos to mention but a few.
Activities to do in Masai Mara National Reserve
- Witnessing the wildebeest migration
A Kenya safari is never complete without a visit to Masai Mara National Reserve to witness the gigantic wildebeest migration. This is a powerful and rare wildlife experience that is offered to visitors to witness millions of wildebeests plus grazers as they move to look for water and pasture. The best time to witness the great wildebeest migration in July, August.
- Game drives
A visit to Masai Mara National Reserve lets you embark on a full-day, half-day, or night game drives. Generally, game viewing in this reserve lets you view wildebeest, Cape buffaloes, lions, rhinos, Thompson’s gazelles, zebras, topis, elephants, leopards, hippos, rhinos, warthogs, roan antelopes, jackals, hyenas, duikers, elands, waterbucks, reedbucks, oribis, topis, the Masai giraffes, bat-eared foxes, cheetahs
Birding in Masai Mara National Reserve involves identifying birds such as African pygmy falcons, Jackson’s bustards, red-winged Schawlow’s turacos, ostriches, long-crested eagles, black-bellied Hartlaub’s bustards, grey crowned cranes, Pel’s fishing owls, guinea fowls, southern ground hornbill, little bee-eaters, Denham’s bustards, grey kestrel, superb starling, Kori bustards, and Ross’s turacos.
- Guided nature walks
The rare way to uncover the hidden treasures of Masai Mara National Reserve is by embarking on guided nature walks. On a nature walk, you are able to visit different habitats, each providing you a chance to get close to nature, sight a variety of wildlife, plant species, and many more.
- Community walks
What makes a Kenya safari in Masai Mara National Reserve unforgettable is a visit to the Masai community for the cultural experience. Visitors are presented with the opportunity to explore the rare culture, traditions, and lifestyles of the Masai as well as enjoy the thrilling cultural dances and music performances.
- Hot air balloon tours
Hot air balloon trips in the Masai Mara National Park is a thrilling experience which lets you catch a glimpse of diverse wildlife above the air rather than in a safari vehicle.
- When to visit Masai Mara National park
Masai Mara National Reserve features favorable climatic and weather conditions making it an all-year-round safari destination. However, the best months of the year to visit this reserve to witness wildebeest migration/game drive in between July and October or from later November, December, January, February.
- Accommodation in Masai Mara National park
There are different accommodation alternatives set for visitor stay while on Kenya safari in Masai Mara National park and they include among others Maasai Serena Safari Lodge, Olonana Tented Camp, Governors Private Camp, Mara Bush Camp, Fairmont Mara Safari Club, Mara Ngenche Luxury Tented Camp, Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp, Acacia House, Mara Plains Camp.
- Getting to Masai Mara National park
The best way to reach Masai Mara National park is either by road or by air. By road, you can visit this reserve using a car hire or bus service or taxi services starting from Nairobi to Masai Mara. However, there are also flight services offered from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport or Wilson Airport to any of the following airstrips; Musiara, Olkiombo or Keekorok airstrip.
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