THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THE MAASAI MARA
Masai Mara National Reserve is a wildlife game reserve in south west Kenya near the Tanzanian border. It is amongst the most popular parks in the world for a wildlife safari. The landscape has grassy plains and rolling hills, and is crossed by the Mara and Talek rivers. The area nearby has many Masai Villages. The Masai people are best known for their distinctive customs and dress. They mostly inhabit the area near the game reserve. The park has stunning natural scenery and is home to some of the largest wild animal populations in the world.
Key Facts and History
In 1961 the Masai Mara covered only 520 Square kilometers of the current area, including the Masai Triangle. This all area was extended to the east to cover 1,821 km in 1961 and converted to a game reserve. The NCC took over management of this reserve. Some portion of the hold was given National Reserve status in 1974, and the rest of the zone of 159 km2 (61 sq mi) has come back to neighborhood networks. An extra 162 km2 (63 sq mi) were expelled from the save in 1976, and the recreation center was diminished to 1,510 km2 (580 sq mi) in 1984. In 1994, the Trans Mara County Council (TMCC) was shaped in the western piece of the hold, and control was isolated between the new chamber and the current Narok County Council. In May 2001, the not-revenue driven Mara Conservancy assumed control administration of the Mara Triangle. Some portion of the hold was given National Reserve status in 1974, and the rest of the region of 159 km2 (61 sq mi) has come back to nearby networks. An extra 162 km2 (63 sq mi) were expelled from the save in 1976, and the recreation center was lessened to 1,510 km2 (580 sq mi) in 1984.
Best time to visit
July to Oct
Whilst there is no real best time to visit as the Masai Mara is lively throughout the whole year, you should however take the following in to consideration. The wildebeest migration happens from July to October. It is the busiest time of the year in the Mara and means the park is really busy and crowded. Although the wildebeest migration is the main attraction, if you are not a fan of crowds it might not be the best time to visit. During these months the bush is less dense and wildlife is easier to spot. You should try and avoid February and March as the area receives plenty of rainfall during that time, you might not get the best safari experience with the rains pouring down. Remember the roads in the park are not paved and you definitely need a 4 wheel drive vehicle during this time.
How to get there
You can either travel by road or by air. Depending on your preference.
Driving will take you about five to six hours at most. The road up to Narok is generally smooth and beautiful. It’s best to leave Nairobi early in the morning so as to make it to the park by early afternoon. Driving down the rift valley there is plenty of natural scenery to keep you in awe. In Narok town there is a fuel station directly over the stream which is an incredible spot for a short stopover before the extremely rough road begins. From Narok to the Sekenani gate the road is a real mess and will shake you up a bit. However it is all part of the adventure.
There are a couple of safari companies that offer air travel to the Masai Mara. It takes around 40 minutes from Nairobi. A departure from the Coast is around 2 hours leaving from Mombasa, Diani Beach or Malindi. There are 6 airstrips in the Mara and you may end up landing on a few of them before reaching yours, all part and parcel of the adventure. Although very convenient, you do end up missing the natural scenery the Great Rift Valley has to offer. The experience
The one and only thing that really makes the Masai Mara great and attracts thousands of visitors every month is the wildlife. There is an awful lot of game viewing on offer. Right from the moment you step in to the park you are greeted with wildlife in its most natural habitat.
Wildebeest, Zebra, Topi and Thomson’s gazelle migrate into and occupy the Mara reserve, from the Serengeti plains to the south and Loita Olains in the pastoral ranches to the north from Jul to Oct or later. Wildebeests are the dominant inhabitants of the Masai Mara. The plains between the Mara River and the Esoit Siria Escarpment are probably the best area for game viewing. Other animals in the park include: Elans, Gazelles, Impalas, Duikers and Coke’s hartebeests. The Masai Giraffe are also at home here. The substantial roan impala and the night-time bat-eared fox, are seldom present elsewhere in Kenya. Additionally an excess of 470 types of feathered creatures have been distinguished in the park, a large number of which are vagrants, with very nearly 60 species being raptors. Birds that call this territory home during any time of the year include: vultures, marabou storks, secretary winged creatures, hornbills, delegated cranes, ostriches, since a long time ago peaked hawks, African dwarf hawks and the lilac-breasted roller, which is the national flying creature of Kenya.
The big five are also in plenty here, Lions, Elephants, Buffalos, Rhinos and Leopards. Cheetas are also present in the mix of many other cat species.