270 kilometres away from the capital city of Nairobi is home to one of Africa’s greatest wildlife reserves, The Maasai Mara National reserve. Named in honour of the Maasai people who were the ancestral inhabitants of the area and Mara, a Maasai language meaning “spotted” depicting a description for a circle of trees, savanna, scrub, and cloud shadows in a particular area.
The Maasai Mara National reserve is reputed to have one of Africa’s most unbelievable and astonishing ecosystems. The Maasai Mara is globally known for its wide collection of Maasai lions, Tanzanian cheetahs and African leopards not forgetting the yearly movement of gazelles, wildebeest and zebras from Maasai Mara to the Serengeti every July to October.
It’s also interesting to know that the Maasai Mara National Reserve is not the entirety of the Mara ecosystem but only a part of it as it also includes about 11 group ranches such as Lemek, Kimintet, Siana, Naikara etc. Maasai Mara was initially established as a wildlife sanctuary but was later extended and adapted to a games reserve.
Another interesting thing about the Maasai Mara National park is that the wildlife move freely across the reserve and conservation centre that makes an astonishing scenery and an incessant wildlife ecosystem. Apart from the vehicles used for animal sightings, balloon safaris are also available giving you an aerial view of the national reserve and an opportunity to view the vast landscape.
The landscape of Maasai reserve consists mainly of open grasslands and river lets. Surprisingly, the Maasai Mara National reserve is not managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service, unlike other game reserves and conservation centres but by the Narok County government. The Narok County Council spearheaded its management and administration shortly after it was established.
Though it’s a great destination for tourists, the Maasai Mara National reserve is quite expensive as entry fees for Non-East African tourists is about $80 for adults and $30 for kids, However several tented camps and lodges are still available for the tourists.
The wildlife in this park is massive as crocodiles and hippopotami are found in large groups across the Talek & Mara Rivers. Wildebeests are also key inhabitants of the Maasai Park as they are estimated to be in millions at the park. There are also cheetahs, jackals, hyenas, leopards and even bat-eared foxes.
You could also find antelopes including impalas, duikers, Grant’s gazelles & Coke’s hartebeests. The nocturnal bat eared fox & large roan antelopes are scarcely found anywhere in Kenya but can be found in the Maasai Mara Park.
In addition, Maasai Mara Park serves as a dwelling place for birds for some parts of the year; the park has a wide variety of birds which includes over 470 varying species of birds. Birds such as vultures, long-crested eagles, hornbills, ostriches, secretary birds, crowned cranes, African pygmy-falcons, marabou storks and the lilac breasted roller which happens to be the national bird of Kenya.
The Maasai Mara National Park is a place to be; the wild diversity of animals, the amazing scenery and the limitless ecosystem is more than enough reason for you to be there.