The Maasai Mara is one of Kenya’s most magnificent and world-renowned nature reserves. ‘Maasai’ honours the Maasai people of Kenya. ‘Mara’ honours their description of the spectacular scenery. ‘Mara’ translates from the Maa language to mean ‘spotted’ in English. The description could not be more fitting – the landscape is spotted with acacia trees, craters, and a diversity of wildlife.
The Maasai Mara is spectacularly vast in size – eventually expanding southwards to join Tanzania’s Serengeti Plains. This combined with Kenya’s deep commitment to conservation makes it home to incredible populations of big cats. Cheetahs, leopards, and lion can all be found in remarkable numbers. The reliable rains and rich vegetation uphold the diversity of the ecosystem. Wildebeest, zebras, giraffe, elephants, gazelle and impalas all call the Maasai Mara home. The park is also home to over 450 bird species.
The Maasai Mara is famed for the spectacle of the Wildebeest Migration. Between mid-August and early December, you can witness the movement of millions of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle from the Serengeti in the south as they follow the availability of sweet grazing till they reach the plains of the Maasai Mara, leaving clouds of dust in their wake. The legendary frantic scramble across the Mara River, avoiding the waiting crocodiles and watchful lions, is a sight to behold. At other times of the year, the Maasai Mara is more peaceful but the Reserve is home to an excellent year-round concentration of resident plains game and predators.
There are a variety of safari camps both inside the Maasai Mara and in the private conservancies that border the unfenced Park. The private conservancies offer 4×4 game drives inside the Mara as well as off-road game viewing and night drives on their own land.
Immersing yourself in the landscape on a Maasai-guided walking safari or witnessing its magnificence from the height of a hot-air balloon safari is the perfect complement to a traditional 4×4 safari.
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