Masai Mara National Park attractions, activities,
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The Richness Of 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 in the world. 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 with over 550 species recorded 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.
The Masai Mara National Park - An Introduction
The Masai Mara national park alias
Maasai Mara National Park/ 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
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Masai Mara National Park Attractions/ Activities
Tourist attractions in Masai Mara National Park can be categorised into two:
- Attractions -What visitors see (natural /physical attractions- mts, rivers, riftvalley, hills, kopjes, wildlife, beautiful scenery) and their interactions with rich Masai Culture (cultural attractions).
- Activities - what visitors or tourists do in masai mara, recreational and cultural activities, sports, game drives, balloon safaris, bird watching, hiking, cultural tours, events, meetings, unique wining and dining experiences including sundowners, bush diners, breakfasts,
Masai Mara National Park Attractions- What to see:
Physical features in Masai Mara comprise of hills, escarpments, rivers, plains. Notable among these are:
- The Western boundary of Maasai (Masai) Maramarked by the Olololo/Sirisia escarpment.
- A major feature is the Mara River and its tributaries Taleki and Sand Rivers.
- Large plains including Loita Plains, Burrungat plain, Paradise plain, Possee plain, Central Plains
- Hills like Loita, Olempito, Ol Tukal, Longwalet, Ngama Hills
- Sianna Springs
Mammals:- Over 95 species of mammals including the big five- lion, elephant, buffalo, leopards, rhino. Others include Masai giraffe, thomsons and grants gazelles, wildebeests, baboons, hippos, cheetars, topis, eland, sunis, zebras, duickers, hartebeest, hyena, impalas, fox eared fox, jackals, warthogs, kongoni, bushbuck, dik dik, waterbuck, wild dogs,
Birdlife: Over 550 species recorded including masai ostrich, hammerkops, shoebilled stork, herons, egrets, bitters, ibis, spoonbill, ducks, geese, vultures, eagle, kites, harriers, hawks, falcons, kestrels, quils, francolins, guineafowls, plovers, terns, pegions, doves, parrots, turacos, nightjars, swifts, trogons, kingfishers, bee eaters, hoopoes, rollers, hornbills, swallows, sparrows,
Culture of the local people Unique culture of the masai including their architecture, religion, art craft, dressing
Beautiful scenery The beauty of masai is enhanced by riftvalley escarpments, hills, plains, skies.
By GSR / 1 hour ago
By GSR / 1 hour ago
Masai Mara National Park Attractions:- Activities/ What to do
The numerous tourist activities, what visitors do is what attracts them to Masai Mara. The top ten (10) most popular tourist activities in Masai Mara National Park are:
Game drives: Game drives are better undertaken at dawn or at dusk. The morning or dawn game drive offers one a chance to witness the beautiful sunrise. The animals that survived the usually tumultous night are starting the day. Birds are in plenty and the plains are teaming with herbivores.
Night Game Drives: Nightfall ushers in a rare opportunity to experience and explore the African night. The jungles are full of life and on a clear night the skies are equally attractive with millions of twinkling stars. To predators like lions, hyenas and leopards its another opportunity to hunt. To the herbivores its full of uncertainty and danger.
Balloon Safaris: Balloon safaris offers visitors a thrilling opportunity to observe animals as they drift over Masai Mara in hotair balloons. These takes starts at dawn and one completion one is treated to a chamapagne breakfast and given a certificate.
Bird Watching or bird walks: Masai Mara boasts of over 550 species of birds. Bird walks of bird watching safaris are usually led by resident ornithologists or naturalists with wide knowledge of wildlife- plants, birds, animals you are likely encounter.
Wildebeest MigrationWildebeest Migration Safari safaris organized specifically to visitors whose interest is to witness the wildebeest migration especially the spectacular river crossing. These will follow the migrating animals within the mara serengeti ecosystem
Nature Walks: Nature walks give visitors an opportunity to observe wildlife- elephants, buffalos, giraffes, gazelles and hippos at close quarters. They follow trails that are less frequented by dangerous predators like lions. They are conducted by armed ranger guides or local morans.
Camping: There are numerous public and private campsites where one can set up the tents. Most of the campsites have basic facilties like toilets, kitchens. Some private campsites feature swimming pools.
Visiting Maasai homestead/ manyatttas: Homestead visits are ideal to guests who wish interract with the local Masai and learn their way of life.
Cultural dances: Most of the lodges do organize cultural dances as part of their evening entertainment. However they are available too in Masai Homesteads.
Sundowners: sundowners in Masai Mara National Park are romantic wining and dining experiences never to be missed. They comprise of decorated tables with sumptous meals and sparkling drinks/ wines set up in scenic bush locations with panoramic views of the setting sun ideal for lovers, couples or honeymooners to enjoy an evening drink as they watch the sunset to the west.
Bush dinners/ breakfasts: Like sundowners these too are romantic bush meals set up in scenic locations and offer an opportunity for guests to watch sunrise or sunsets.
Horseback safaris: they offer opportunities for guests to observe wildlife on a horseback. They too are conducted by ranger guides or local morans.
January, February- it is usually dry with the grass cropped short. April-July long rains. Mid-July- September migration
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 Maasai Mara 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? Maasai (Masai) Mara or Serengeti? The Migration Cycle:-
The migration follows a clockwise direction dictated by the rain patterns in the Mara/Serengeti ecosystem. The Migration has been going on for as long as our ancestors can remember and where it started is debatable. 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.