Maasai Mara National Reserve is located in Narok County, Southern park part of Kenya. The Mara is considered to be one of the greatest wildlife reserves in African due to the incomparable population of lions, cheetahs, leopard and Elephants within the Reserve. The Great Mara comprises of two major sectors; Masai Mara National Reserve and The Mara Triangle, however it also encompasses of other conservancies to include: Olkinyei, Siana, Maji Moto, Koiyaki, Naikara, Lemek, Ol Derkesi and Oloirien
Maasai Mara National Reserve gets its name from local Kiswahili word, “Mara” which means “spotted”. The wildlife reserve was named in honor of the local tribe who occupy the plains of the region known as the Maasai people. The prominent group is one of the famous African tribes famously known for their residence near many Parks across Kenya and the African Great lakes region. The tribe has preserved their African culture up-to present day which is clearly reflected by their dress code, ways of living and their life dependence on strictly herbal African medicine up to today.
Wildlife in Maasai Mara National Reserve
It’s is a positive statement to say there is nothing lacking In Masai Mara National Reserve. The park has a wide range of wildlife species to include the Big five: lions, leopards, Rhinoceros, Cape buffaloes and Elephants. However the number of Rhinoceros/ black rhinos is reduced due to the poaching acts in the early 1970. The ivory extracted out of the black Rhino had good market according to history and this accounts for the low current population of Black rhinos in Masai Mara National Reserve . Antelope species can be found in Masai Mara, these species include: the coke’s hartebeests, duikers, impalas and Grants Gazelle. Masai Mara National Reserve is also known for the distinctive Masai Giraffe and rare existence of the white giraffes. Aquatic wildlife Species such as crocodiles and hippopotamus are in large numbers mostly situated along the rivers, Mara and Talek. Foxes, Jackson hartebeest, jackals, cheetahs and hyenas are also found in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Birding in Maasai Mara National Reserve:
Maasai Mara National Reserve is gifted with more that 470 bird species with both raptors and Migrant species. Of these, the highest percentage are migrants which leaves to about 60 species known to call Masai Mara home to atleast half the year. Birders across the world visit the park in large numbers annually, a typical birding Safari to Masai Mara National Reserve is highlighted with a visit to Lake Nakuru known for having the world’s highest concentration of flamingoes. Birds species with in Masai Mara National Reserve include: The African Pygmy falcons, Long Crested Eagles, Ostriches, Crown Cranes, secretary Birds, Marabou stocks, vultures, hornbills and lilac-breasted Roller (Kenya’s National bird)
The Great wildebeest Migration
We all must have heard of the The Great wildebeest Migration in Africa, a seasonal movement of large herds of wildebeests accompanied by zebras and antelopes. This Great Migration takes place in Masai Mara National Reserve and is the sole reason why many travelers have listed an adventure to the park as part of of their travel experiences Wildebeest, Thompson’s Grazelle, topi and zebras herds total population is in millions in number with in Masai Mara. These herds seasonally migrate into the Masai mara Reserve across the Mara River all the way from Serengeti National Reserve in Tanzania. This is what is referred to as the Great Migration in Africa.
The herds move in search for pastoral ranches within the Maasai Mara. The wildebeests whose population is estimated in millions are the sole occupants of the Masai Mara. These wildebeest highlight the annual Great Migration which is also known as the wildebeest Migration due to their excessive numbers involved in the trek. The Great Migration is known to be the greatest and most impressive natural migration in the whole word, there is no such an experience any where else of the globe. This Migration is estimated to have over 1,300,000 wildebeest 97,000 Topi 500,000 Thompson’s Gazelle, 200,000 zebras and 18,000 Elands.
Masai Mara National Reserve Rules and Regulations
Maasai Mara National Reserve is a unique place with the different ecosystems,this unique ecosystem is the sole reason Masai Mara National Reserve attracts lot of people from different parts of the world. Both directly or indirectly, humans and wildlife are bound to be conflict, the Mara Triangle Conservancy has come up with rules to make sure that both coexist in harmony.
- No littering in Masai Mara National Reserve, cigarette, litter and plastic bottles can be detrimental to the environment.
- Noise making is not allowed cause it can change the animal behavior in the Mara natural habitat
- The recommended speed limit within Maasai Mara National Reserve is 50 kilometers per hour, this speed or less should be maintained even while in the game
- Vehicle during the game drives should be 25 meters away from the animals, at that recommended distance, one can still take a comfortable picture and it keeps the animals behaving the way supposed to.
- While on a game drive in Maasai Mara National Reserve, animals have got right-of-way, this
- is because they were there before and deserve to put as first priority we were
- No driving off-road other words, avoid off tracking while in the park, employ high-tech equipment like binoculars to be able to view from a distance without having to disturb the animals.
Efforts to implement the currents ensure that the conservancies have enough vehicles moving around the park to ensure that these rules have been observed. Signs posts have also been put up in different locations within Masai Mara National Reserve to guide game viewers; signs of no floating , speed limit and directions to different game sections
How to get to Masai Mara National Reserve?
Maasai Mara National Reserve is about 280km from Nairobi, This journey to the park can be accessed by both air and by road. There are several airfields that were established in the Park to Accommodate travelers who prefer taking flights to the Park. Airfields include: Mara Serena Airport, Ngerende Airport, Tembo, Ngerende, Kichwa, Keekorok, Angama Mara and Musiara Airport.
Which airport is preferable?
It all depends on which accommodation you booked for your stay in the Park, most of the Airports are close to different lodges which it is in your best interest to book a flight to an airport closest to your booked accommodation. A fight to Masai Mara National Reserve from Nairobi via Jomo Kenyatta international Airport is only 45 minutes which saves you the 6 hours you would have endured on the road.
Which is the best choice to access Masai Mara?
The journey to Masai Mara National Park both by air and road has disadvantages and advantages. Before running into conclusion about which travel means you will take, kindly look through these factors that will help you to have a better choice.
If you have a lot of time to embark on your safari to Maasai Mara National Reserve , road access would do you no harm, matter of fact it’s the best option you can have, the option gives you an opportunity to enjoy the country scenic views along the drive to include suburbs of Nairobi, the great rift valley escarpments which is a major en route stop over. The drive is also a cheaper option compared to booking a flight to the Park
However, along the drive you will encounter bumpy roads as you approach closer to the Masai Mara National Reserve. The last 80 km can go for about 3 hours on the road which reflects just how much of a delay the bumpy roads bring about. It is at this point that a 4×4 vehicle becomes a must have while embarking on a magical safari to the Great Mara.
Which is the best choice to access Masai Mara?
This is ideally the best option for travelers having a short time to spend on a safari to Masai Mara National Reserve. (Less than 2nights). Flights to the Masai Mara depart from Wilson international airport which is about 1 hour from Nairobi with consideration of Traffic jam. The 3 companies licensed to operate flights to the Maasai Mara include: Air Kenya, Safari Link and Fly Safari. While planning a fly in Safari to Maasai Mara National Reserve , it is advisable to contact an expert tour operator who can help you with the flight bookings in advance, At Masai Mara Holidays, we organise Fly in Safaris to Masai Mara, simply contact us to plan a customizable safari with help of a professional team.
Flying to the Maasai Mara National Reserve offers you an amazing opportunity to view beautiful aerial views of the Park. The aircraft really fly low which offers you a chance to Enjoy aerial scenic views of the savannah grasslands blended with spotted shrubs and the major highlights, the Mara river as it makes it’s way through the Park. There are also arranged flights from Tanzania at Mombasa and Malindi together with Zanzibar all going to Maasai Mara.