Masai Mara Facts

Maasai Mara National Reserve is one of the largest game reserves in Kenya, widely considered to be Africa’s greatest wildlife reserve (also known as Masai Mara and by the locals as The Mara). Maasai Mara National Reserve stretches 1,510 square kilometers (580 square miles) and raises 1,500-2,170 meters (4920-7120 feet) above sea level. Contiguous with the plains of the Serengeti, the Mara is home to a breathtaking array of life. The Mara Game Reserve is known all over the world for a wide range of wild animals such as the " big five " (lion, leopard, African elephant, cape buffalo, and black rhinoceros) and other popular species like zebra, giraffe, hyena, cheetah, wildebeest, eland and Thomson's gazelle.

It 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" means "spotted" in the local Maasai language of Maa, due to the many trees which dot the landscape. The reserve is managed by The County Goverment of Narok and the local Maasai community has been involved in the conservation efforts to contain poaching and other illegal activities.

Landscapes in Masai Mara National Reserve

1. Amazing Wildlife

First designated as a conservation area in 1961, Masai Mara National Reserve is regarded as year round safari destination as it offers more or less ideal climate with an abundance of wildlife for excellent game viewing throughout the calendar year. The Mara is home to the big five as well as the Big Nine African animals (lion, leopard, elephant, cape buffalo, and rhinoceros) along with more than 400 bird species identified in the park, many of which are migranting species and with almost 60 species being raptors. Click here to read more about Masai Mara Animals and Wildlife

Wildlife in Maasai Mara

2. Great Wildebeest Migration

Great Wildebeest migration has been selected as one of the seven natural wonders of the World and takes place every year between late July to end of September, though this timing can vary somewhat due to prevailing rainfall patterns. During these months the yellow savannah is dotted black by more than 1.5 million wildebeest, zebra and antelopes that migrate from the Serengeti northwards into the Masai Mara in search of food and water, and as part of their mating and birth cycles.
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Great Migration in Maasai Mara

3. Lions

Though there are many fascinating animals to be found in Masai Mara, sighting the Lions is often the highlight of a safari game drive and most tourists if not all have Lions on top of their wildlife spotting check list when visiting the reserve. There are currently estimated to be between 800 to 900 Lions ( including Lionesses) in the greater Masai Mara area, to include the conservancies surrounding the core reserve. Click here to read more about Masai Mara Lions.

Lions in Maasai Mara

4. The Maasai People

Arguably the single most iconic tribe in Africa, the Maasai are nomadic pastrolists who traditionally make a living out of herding cattle. Originally a Nilotic ethnic group which is said to have migrated centuries ago from the semi arid Nile valley north of Lake Turkana, the Maasai inhabit the region around Masai Mara as well as large portions of Great Rift Valley. The Maasai have their unique nomadic culture and way of life not to mention their traditonal dress of red or brightly colored ''shukas'' or body drapes. Click here to read more about Maasai Tribe Facts

Traditional Clothing of Maasai; Maasai Shuka's

5. Area & Location

Masai Mara is located in South West Kenya, which in turn is a part of East Africa. A major part of Kenya is carved almost vertically by the Great Rift Valley and the Mara reserve is actually situated within the vast valley formations. In terms of land area, Masai Mara covers some 1,510 km2 (580 square miles) and borders the Serengeti National Park to its south. In fact Masai Mara is the northernmost section of the joint Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, which itself covers some 25,000 km2 (9,700 sq mi) in Tanzania and Kenya.

Maasai Warrior Hair Style

6. Scenery & Landscapes

The word Mara in fact means spotted and the reserve earned this name thanks to the typical landscape of short bushy trees and shrub dotting the huge rolling grassland plains, commonly referred to in Africa as the' savannah'. The reserve has several hilly outcrops as well as steep cliffs on the Western most part of the park, known as the Oloololo escarpment.

Maasai Ceremonial Dance

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