Introduction to Masai Mara National Reserve
The Masai Mara is in southwestern Kenya on the border of Tanzania. The reserve is situated in the Rift Valley and is contagious with Tanzania's Serengeti Plains running along its southern end. Named after the Masai - the people who occupy the land and the Mara River which runs through the reserve (north to south), the Masai Mara National Reserve was established in 1961 to protect wildlife and it's eco-system. The Masai Mara attracts many visitors come to Kenya and its beauty and abundant wildlife won't disappoint. This guide to the Masai Mara will tell you what animals you can expect to see, the topography of the area, where to stay, how to get there, and what there is to do beyond the game drives.
Masai Mara National Reserve - black manned lion
Masai Mara National Reserve as a Safari attraction
The Masai Mara reserve is Kenya's most popular game park it is a relatively small reserve yet it hosts an amazing concentration of wildlife. You are almost guaranteed to see the Big 5 (Lions, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant). Other animals to be seen in Masai Mara National Reserve include cheetah, hyenas, giraffe, impala, wildebeest, topi, baboons, warthogs, buffalo, zebra, elephants, and of course hippos and crocodiles in the Mara River.
During July and October the Masai Mara National reserve hosts the wildebeest and zebra migration.
Because Masai Mara National Reserve has no fences you can actually see as much wildlife within its boundaries as outside in the areas inhabited by the Masai tribes. Some of these areas are also not so crowded.
Masai Mara National Reserve - wildebeest migration
Things to Do in and around the Masai Mara Reserve
- Game Drives: Masai Mara safari packages will usually include several daily game drives, game sighting is best all day round but most productive in the mornings
- Walking Safaris: If you enjoy a little adventure try a walking safari with a Masai guide. The best ones are outside the reserve boundaries.
- Cultural Tours: Visiting a traditional Masai village is frequently included in a safari package to the Masai Mara. Here you you may learn something about the Masai, their culture, their daily to day life and participate in their song and dance.
- Hot Air Balloon over the Masai Mara reserve is a unique experience. The balloons usually fly at dawn and last about an hour. Upon landing most balloon companies offer a champagne breakfast and you are awarded a balloon flight certificate.
Masai Mara National Reserve - view from a hot air balloon
How to get to the Masai Mara
The Masai Mara Reserve lies 168 miles from the capital city of Kenya, Nairobi. By road you will get great views of the rift valley and the farmlands of Kenya. Another option to get to the Masai Mara is to fly into the Masai Mara National Reserve into airstrips neighboring safari lodges where you will be collected by 4x4 land cruiser and transferred to the safari lodge.
Masai Mara National Reserve cheetah with cub