Maasai Mara, Kenya

Situated in the southwest of Kenya, about 270 km (170 mi) from the capital Nairobi City and about 4-5 hours by road or 40-45 minutes by flight, is the world famous Maasai Mara National Reserve.

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It is contiguous with the Serengeti National Park in the Mara Region of neighbours Tanzania, and is the northern-most section of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, which covers some 25,000 km2 (9,700 sq mi) in Tanzania and Kenya. It is named in honour of the Maasai people (the ancestral inhabitants of the area) and their description of the area when looked at from afar: “Mara,” which is Maa (Maasai language) for “spotted,” an apt description for the circles of trees, scrub, savanna, and cloud shadows that mark the area.

Covering an area of 1 510 square km (583 square miles) and rising from 1550 to 2100 metres above sea level, the Maasai Mara National Reserve is a place of breathtaking vistas, abundant wildlife and endless plains. The terrain of the reserve is primarily open grassland with seasonal riverlets. In the southeast region are clumps of the distinctive acacia tree. The western border is the Esoit (Siria) Escarpment of the East African Rift, which is a system of rifts some 5,600 km (3,500 mi) long, from Ethiopia’s Red Sea through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and into Mozambique.

The Maasai Mara is regarded as the jewel of Kenya’s wildlife viewing areas and one of the world’s greatest wildlife reserves. As in the Serengeti, the wildebeest are the dominant inhabitants of the Maasai Mara, and their numbers are estimated in the millions. Around July of each year, these animals migrate north from the Serengeti plains in search of fresh pasture, and return to the south around October. The Great Migration is one of the most impressive natural events worldwide, involving some 1,300,000 Wildebeest, 500,000 Thomson’s gazelles, 97,000 Topi, 18,000 Elands, and 200,000 Zebras. Nowhere in Africa is wildlife more abundant, and it is for this reason a visitor hardly misses seeing the big five (Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, Lion and Rhino). Another 90 species of mammals have been recorded in the reserve, along with over 500 species of birds and many amphibians, reptiles and other fascinating creatures.

The reserve is a photographer’s and naturalist’s paradise, with abundant wildlife, birds, incredible African landscapes, and excellent weather. The BBC Television show titled “Big Cat Diary” was filmed in both the Reserve and Conservation areas of the Maasai Mara.

We offer personalised trips to the Maasai Mara as part of our Eastern African portfolio on Nature Travel Africa. For more information go to www.naturetravelafrica.com or send you enquiry to info@naturetravelafrica.com

 

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