Masai Mara National Reserve

Masai Mara National Reserve

Africa’s Greatest Wildlife Reserves

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Masai Mara National Reserve is globally famous for its exceptional population of Masai lions, African leopards and Tanzanian cheetahs, and the annual migration of zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, and wildebeest to and from the Serengeti every year from July to October, known as the Great Wildebeest Migration.

Masai Mara National Reserve is named in honor of the Maasai people (the ancestral inhabitants of the area) and their description of the area when looked at from afar: “Mara,” which is Maa (Maasai language) for “spotted,” an apt description for the circles of trees, scrub, savanna, and cloud shadows that mark the area.

The Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR) covers some 1,510 km2 (583 sq mi) in south-western Kenya. It is the northern-most section of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, which covers some 25,000 km2 (9,700 sq mi) in Tanzania and Kenya. It is bounded by the Serengeti Park to the south, the Siria escarpment to the west, and Maasai pastoral ranches to the north, east and west.

Wildlife

Wildebeest, topi, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle migrate into and occupy the Mara reserve, from the Serengeti plains to the south and Loita Plains in the pastoral ranches to the north-east, from July to October or later. Herds of all three species are also resident in Masai Mara National Reserve.

Like in the Serengeti, the wildebeest are the dominant inhabitants of the Maasai Mara, and their numbers are estimated in the millions. Around July of each year, these ungainly animals migrate north from the Serengeti plains in search of fresh pasture, and return to the south around October. The Great Wildebeest Migration is one of the most impressive natural events worldwide, involving some 1,300,000 wildebeest, 500,000 Thomson’s gazelles, 97,000 Topi, 18,000 elands, and 200,000 zebras. These migrants are followed along their annual, circular route by hungry predators, most notably lions and hyena.

All members of the “Big Five” (lion, leopard, African elephant, cape buffalo, and black rhinoceros) are found in the Maasai Mara. Hippopotami and crocodiles are found in large groups in the Mara and Talek rivers. Leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, jackals, and bat-eared foxes can also be found in the reserve. The plains between the Mara River and the Esoit Siria Escarpment are probably the best area for game viewing, in particular regarding lion and cheetah.  Antelopes can be found, including Grant’s gazelles, impalas, duikers and Coke’s hartebeests. The plains are also home to the distinctive Masai giraffe. The large roan antelope and the nocturnal bat-eared fox, rarely present elsewhere in Kenya, can be seen within the reserve borders.

More than 470 species of birds have been identified in the park, many of which are migrants, with almost 60 species being raptors. Birds that call this area home for at least part of the year include: vultures, marabou storks, secretary birds, hornbills, crowned cranes, ostriches, long-crested eagles, African pygmy-falcons and the lilac-breasted roller, which is the national bird of Kenya.

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Kenya Safaris Quick Travel Info
Capital Nairobi
Official Languages Kiswahili, English
Population 45 M (2014)
Currency Kenyan Shilling (Ksh)
Time Zone EAT (UTC +3)
Traffic Drives Leftt Side
Dialling Code +254
Best Time to travel Low Season (Mar–May)
Shoulder (Nov & Dec)
High Season (Jul-Oct, Jan & Feb)

Masai Mara National Reserve Safaris & Tour Ideas

Masai Mara Wildlife Paradise Safari
Masai Mara Wildlife Paradise
Masai Mara National Park
03 days
Lake Nakuru & Masai Mara
Lake Nakuru & Masai Mara
Lake Nakuru & Masai Mara National Parks
04 days
Kenya Classic Safari - Amboseli, Lake Naivasha, Lake Nakuru & Masai Mara
Kenya Classic Safari
Amboseli, Lake Naivasha, Lake Nakuru & Masai Mara
07 days
 The Great Rift Valley Safari - Samburu, Great Rift Valley & Masai Mara
The Great Rift Valley Safari
Samburu, Great Rift Valley & Masai Mara
05 days
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