The Maasai (Masai) Mara national park and reserve, once described as "Kenya's Jewel never to be lost", is in a class of its own. The best known wildlife sanctuary in the World Maasai (Masai) Mara National Reserve has acquired a high flier status having been named "the seventh wonder of the world". The seventh wonder of the world is the spectacle of the annual wildebeest migration between Maasai (Masai) Mara and Serengeti. See Map for getting to Maasai Mara
The Richness Of Maasai ( Masai) Mara National Park
"With an area of 1500 Km2, the Masai (Maasai) Mara reserve is an extension of Serengeti National Park of Northern Tanzania. The Masai (Maasai) Mara ecosystem has one of the richest assemblages of wildlife in the world and supports about 237 herbivores per km2 , making it one of the most productive natural terrestrial ecosystems. It maintains the greatest and most spectacular large mammal migration on earth and is the most highly visited tourist area in the East African region. The Masai Mara National Reserve came into being in 1961"
The Masai (Maasai) Mara magic is attributed to its panorama. From the vantage of rounded hills, the large expanses grassy plains teaming with herds of animals resemble a canvas painting. The overwhelming population and the rich species presentation makes Mara the best destination for any serious wildlife observer.
All the 'Big Five' of Africa: Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino, and Leopard are represented in Maasai (Masai) Mara. Bird life is exceptional in Masai (Maasai) Mara with large number of raptors and scavengers. The permanent Mara River with its tributaries, the Sand and Talek Rivers, ensures a continuous supply of water making Masai (Maasai) Mara a permanent sanctuary of many animals throughout the year.
Activities/ What to do in Maasai (Masai) Mara National Reserve
- Game drives
- Bird/nature walks with Maasai Morans.
- Visiting Maasai villages
- Balloon Safaris
- Cultural dances
- Maasai (Masai) Village visits.
January, February- it is usually dry with the grass cropped short. April-July long rains. Mid-July- September migration
Physical Features of Masai (Maasai) Mara National Reserve:
The Western boundary of Maasai (Masai) Mara
marked by the Olololo/Sirisi escarpment. A major feature is the Mara River and its tributaries Taleki and Sand Rivers.
The park is has large plains dotted with hills including Loita hills.
Remember you must enter the reserve through the official gates: These are:
- Olololo Gate
- Sand River Gate (closed)
- Musiara and
- Ololaimutieki Gate
NB: Please note the Sand River gate connecting Masai Mara to Northern Serengeti is closed. Anybody wishing to go to serengeti from Masai Mara must prepare for a long drive via Sirare border post. The drive can take 8 hours so an early start is inevitable.
Every year, in the months of July August and September, over 1.7 million wildebeests accompanied by about 800,000 gazelles and Zebras migrate from Serengeti into Maasai (Masai) Mara and back. The river crossings are particularly dangerous as large crocodile lie in wait of unsuspecting animals, killing and maiming thousands of them. Besides predation, migrating herds have to contend with flooded rivers and disease outbreaks. The wildebeest mate in
and Calve in Serengeti.
The annual wildebeest migration
is not about wildebeests migrating per se but rather its influence on the movement patterns of the other animals including human beings. Picture a never ending milling of over 2.5 million wild animals composed of a about 1.7 million wildebeests, and 800,000 common gazelles and zebras with predators-lions, hyenas, leopards, jackals etc following closely. In this picture add thousands of vultures providing air cover the to migrating animals, the goggling human traffic; the hazardous crossing of crocodile invested Mara and Grumeti rivers and behold your magical wonder of nature.
Where are the Wildebeest? The Migration Cycle:-
The wildbeest migration
follows a clockwise direction dictated by the rain patterns in the Mara/Serengeti ecosystem. The
has been going on for as long as our ancestors can remember and where it started is debatable.
Best Time to visit
The best times to view migration in Serengeti is December to Jul. While in Maasai Mara, the best time is August to November.
- Between December and March, the herds congregate in Eastern Serengeti Plains where carving takes place. Births accounts for over half a million calves annually.
- April and May still in Serengeti the calves matures and gets ready for migration.
- June is the month of crossing Grumeti River along the Northern Corridor towards Maasai Mara.
- In July/August, the herds cross the Mara River into Maasai (Masai) Mara, where mating takes place.
- By November the succulent grass in Mara is finished and the migrating herds heads for Serengeti where curving will take place and the entire cycle starts all over again.
Accommodation in Maasai (Masai) Mara comprise of lodges, tented camps and camping:
"A major environmental concern in Maasai (Masai) Mara is the proliferation of unplanned development in the adjacent community/ group ranches. Currently there are approximately 108 properties in greater Mara with a bed capacity of 4000. A large proportion of the properties are in the community group ranches. Game lodges, tented camps, private houses and campsites are all found in Mara." Maasai Mara has the largest number of lodges and tented camps in any park of East Africa.
Masai Mara National Park Lodges include
- Mara Serena Lodge-Serena Hotels and Lodges
- Mara Olkuruk Lodge
- Mara Sopa Lodge-Sopa Elewana Lodges
- Keekorok Lodge
- Mara Simba Lodge
- Base Camp Maasai Mara
- Mpata Safari Club
Tented Camps in Maasai (Masai) Mara
These luxury tented camps in Mara offer highest degree of comfort.
- Mara Sarova Camp - Sarova Hotels
- Kichwa Tembo Tented
- Mara Explorer - Heritage Hotels
- Fig Tree Camp- Mada Hotels
- Olonana Tented Camp-Sanctuary Lodges & Hotels
- Mara Intrepids -Heritage group of Hotels
- Mara Safari Club- Fairmont Hotels
- Governor's Camps -Governor's Hotels & Lodges
- Siana Springs - Heritage Hotels
- Oseur Tented Camp.
Budget Camping and Camp sites
Maasai Mara offers good opportunities for camping. The following campsites have permanent tents offering basic accommodation with hot showers and meals at affordable prices. Thes include
- Acacia Camp
- Simba Camp
- Aruba Camp & Safaris
- Riverside Camp