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Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya

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Masai Mara Kenya

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The Masai Mara has an area of 1510 km˛, not the largest game park in Kenya, but along with the Kruger National park in South Africa is probably the best known and most popular reserves in the whole of Africa and at times and in certain places it can get a little overrun with tourist minibuses. There are a few good reasons for this, the drama of the annual wildebeest masai mara migration, the density and variety of the birds and game and other activities such as hot air balloon rides over the mara combine together to make a Masai mara Safari difficult to beat.

The entire Masai Mara game reserve lies within the enormous Great Rift Valley, which is a fault line some 3,500 miles (5,600km) long that extends from the Mediterranean Sea through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and to South Africa. Most of the game viewing activities occur on the valley floor with the terrain of the reserve is primarily open grassland, with clusters of the distinctive acacia tree in the south-east region. The western border is the Esoit Oloololo Escarpment of the Rift Valley, and wildlife tends to be most concentrated here, as the swampy ground means that access to water is always good and tourist disruption is minimal. The easternmost border is 224 km from Nairobi, and hence it is the eastern regions which are most visited by tourists.

The animals are also free to move outside the park and there can be as much wildlife roaming outside the park as inside! Many Masai villages are located in the area and the maasai tribe masai mara game reserve have over the course of time forged out a symbiotic relationship with the wildlife.

Map of the Masai mara Game Reserve
View our Interactive Masai Mara Map

Wildlife of the Masai Mara National Park

What can you expect to see on a safari to the mara? The Mara is sometimes called the Kingdom of the Lions and they are the top predators in this area, there are also healthy populations of both Cheetah and Leopard, so you have a chance of seeing all the big cats. Other smaller predators include Spotted Hyena, Jackals, the Bat-eared fox and in the Mara and Talek rivers you'll find crocodiles as well as Hippos.

Then of course there is the 1.3 million Wildebeest and alot of Zebra who because of their mass migration have made the mara famous. The wildebeest migration brings new life to the Masai Mara by helping the regeneration of the grasslands and also for the predators who follow the herds.

On the plains you will also find two species of Giraffe, the distinctive Masai Giraffe as well as the common Giraffe. There are also Thomson's Gazelle, Impala, Hartebeest, Topi, the large and impressive Roan Antelope and Eland. A good place to find Buffalo is the Musiara Swamp as they are very water dependant. This is also a good place to find Elephant.

In areas of thicker vegetation like the Acacia forests you'll find monkeys, baboons and an abundance of birdlife over 450 species have been recorded including Ostrich marabou storks and vultures. There is also a small population of Black Rhinoceros

Getting to the Masai Mara

The closest major town near the Mara is Narok which is about a 3 hour drive from Nairobi and you can find regular buses and taxis known locally as matatus from Nairobi taking you to Narok or go on a self drive safari. You can also choose to Fly to the Mara, which has two 2 airstrips (shown on the map of the masai mara). There are daily scheduled flights from Nairobi to these airstrips. Another way is to hire a car in Nairobi and then drive down, an excellent way to see the Kenyan countryside and this also helps once you arrive as getting around the Masai Mara is difficult without private transport or unless you are part of a Safari Package.

The Masai Mara National Park has a well established internal network of roads and dirt-tracks.

Nguruman Escarpment and the Loita Hills: Both these areas are considered to be sacred to the Maasai people but dont be put off these are excellent areas for trekking for the more adventurous of you out there!

Masai Mara Facts

This is a malarial area
The reserve covers an area of 1510 km˛
This is a Reserve rather than a National Park and it belongs to the Masai people.
Night driving is not permitted and vehicles must be back at the lodge by 6pm.
Rainy Season: It rains in April and May and again November and this can cause some areas of the Mara to be inaccessible due to the sticky 'black cotton' mud.
Dry Season: July to October is dry, this is a good time to come and see the huge herds of migratory herbivores.
Hottest Months: December and January.
Coldest Months: June and July.

The Masai Mara entry fees in 2006 were US$40 for non Kenyan adults and US$10 for children.

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