Masai mara national reserve

Masai mara national reserve is a great national park in Kenya attracting a lot of tourists because of the wildlife and great scenery in the park, the park is lies in the Great Rift Valley and found in Narok County in rift valley province. Masai mara national park apparently a large game reserve covering an area of 1,510 square kilometers, it lies in the great mara ecosystem which consists of many masai conservancies such as Koiyaki, Lemek, Ol Chorro Oirowua, Olkinyei, Siana, Maji Moto, Naikara, Ol Derkesi, Kerinkani, Oloirien, and Kimintet.

Masai mara national reserve’s name “mara “is a slag from the local Masai people who are the early inhabitants of the area occupied by the park meaning spotted, the park is regarded one of the important habitants for wildlife in Kenya as it is a evident home for many wildlife species which live in various regions of the park. Masai mara national reserve consists of 4 scenic terrains where animals and birds in the park thrive that is Ngama hills, Oloololo escarpment, mara triangle and central plains. What makes Masai mara national reserve different from other national parks in Kenya is that it experiences the world’s famous annual migration of wildebeest, annual migration takes place in the period of July to November and it involves crossing of thousands of animals that is zebras, Topis, Thomson’s gazelle, elands and wildebeests as they cross from Serengeti national park to masai plains crossing mara river.

 In in 1961 520 square kilometers of an area gazetted by the masai people was gazetted as a wildlife sanctuary purposely to conserve the wildlife in the park and protecting them from poaching activities, in the same year 1961 a huge chuck of land was added to the sanctuary to make 1,821 square kilometers . The sanctuary was upgraded to a game reserve and put under the management of Narok county council and in 1976 the status of the reserve was upgraded to a national reserve and 162 square kilometers were cut off the reserve and the reserve remained with an area of 1,510 square kilometers.

Masai mara national reserve is a home to many animals and many birds, among the animals in the park include the big five and high population of wildebeests. Animals living in the reserve include lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, rhinos, spotted hyenas, topi, zebras, Coke’s hartebeests, Thomson’s gazelle, cheetahs, jackals, bat eared foxes, hippopotamus, antelopes such as Grant’s gazelles, impalas, duikers, roan antelope, masai giraffe and many more. Birds in Masai mara national reserve are estimated to be over 470 species and they include vultures, marabou storks, secretary birds, hornbills, crowned cranes, ostriches, long-crested eagles, African pygmy-falcons, lilac-breasted roller, Rosy-breasted Long claw, Secretary bird, Kori Bustard, Southern Ground Hornbill, Schawlow’s Turaco, Grey-crested Helmet shrike, Red-necked Spur fowl, Red-winged Francolin, White-headed Vulture, Temminck’s Courser, Bare-faced Go-away-bird and many more. These bird species are found in large concentration around Tara River and Mara River.

Tourist activities in Masai mara national reserve

Game viewing

Game viewing is one of the prominent activities offered in Masai mara national park, the park is habitant to many wildlife which are viewed while on game viewing adventure. Game viewing in Masai mara national reserve is done while a drive in the grassland regions of the park using various game drive trails, in the comfort of your car you get to view animals like wildebeests, buffaloes, giraffes, cheetahs, warthogs , antelopes,  zebras, kudus,  hartebeests, zebras, gazelles, hippos, leopards and many more

In Masai mara national reserve game viewing can be done in the morning, afternoon and full game viewing, these best spot to view animals in the park is a round river mara.

Wildebeest migration viewing

Masai mara national reserve experiences the world’s most exhilarating phenomenon the great annual migration of wildebeest, the great migration of wildebeest is a massive movement of wildebeest and other animals as they cross from Serengeti national park in Tanzania to Masai mara national reserve. Wildebeest migration is led by thousands of zebras, Thomson gazelle, elands, Topis followed by millions of wildebeest, the migration of wildebeest and other animals into Masai mara region takes place from July and November and the event can be watched at mara river as the animals cross from Serengeti national park.

Bird watching

Masai mara national reserve is a home for many bird species estimated to be over 440 bird species living in various regions of the park which are generally covered by short savannah grassland and at the banks of Mara River. There are many bird types residing in the park such as water birds, forest birds, endemic species and many more, these birds are easily spotted as you drive through the park on game drive or even while on nature walks safari.  Birds seen in Masai mara national park include abdim’s stork, African finfoot, African wood owl, Ayres’s hawk eagle, cinnamon-breasted bunting, Denham’s bustard, giant kingfisher, grey-crested helmet-shrike, grey penduline tit, Hildebrandt’s starling, jackson’s widowbird, lazy cisticola, ostrich, purple grenadier, red-throated tit, ross’s turaco, rosy-throated longclaw, rufous-bellied heron, rufous-throated wryneck, saddle-billed stork, Schawlow’s turaco, secretary bird, silver bird, southern ground hornbill, Swahili sparrow, tabora cisticola, Temminck’s courser, trilling cisticola, Usambiro barbet, white-bellied go-away bird, woolly-necked stork, yellow-mantled widowbird, yellow-throated sandgrouse and many more

Hot air balloon

Hot air balloon activity is one of the unique ways of touring offered in Masai mara national reserve and there is nothing which can beat the thrill, hot air balloon safaris in masa mara national reserve are operated and managed by Hot Air Africa Eco Adventures Limited. This activity offers a bird’s eye view of the park and its animals from the sky, hot air balloon flights gives you an opportunity to get views of animals like wildebeests, zebras, leopards and many. This activity is the best option when you want to enjoy the exciting views of the great migration of wildebeests.

Nature walks

Nature walks in Masai mara national reserve is a very exciting activity where you get to enjoy the beautiful dramatic nature of the park, this activity is done on foot with a help of a walking stick in regions of the park which are covered by short savannah grasslands. On nature walks led by a professional guide you get to see many animals like wildebeests, zebras, elephants and many more, you also get to view many beautiful and color bird species such as lilac-breasted roller, Rosy-breasted Long claw, Secretary bird, Kori Bustard, Southern Ground Hornbill, Schawlow’s Turaco, Grey-crested Helmet shrike, Red-necked Spur fowl, Red-winged Francolin, White-headed Vulture, Temminck’s Courser and many more. Great spots to visit while on nature walks in the park is river mara which is crowded by many animals.

Visiting Masai communities

Masai mara national reserve offers authentic African culture through visiting the Masai communities, Masai communities where the early inhabitants of the area occupied by Masai mara national reserve and after gazetting of the park they currently live on the boundaries of the park. Masai people are nomadic pastoralists and poses unique culture and traditions which have never be interfered with by modernity and technology, when visiting this community you will be fascinated by the over 50 traditional huts built in a shape of a dome and the masai lifestyle. On you visit you get to enjoy the entertaining Masai dances of jumping, their unique dressing code, local ways of cooking and many more.

Where to sleep in Masai mara national serve

If you are wondering where to stay while on your safari in Masai mara national reserve, there is many hotels and lodges offering accommodation to tourist on a visit in the park and they include mara bush tops, Leleshwa camp, Ilkeliani camp, Sala’s camp, cottar’s 1920’s camp, Bateleur camp, kichwa Tembo tented cam, sanctuary Olonana, Rekero camp, governors IL Moran camp, Naibor camp and many more.

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