Maasai Mara National Reserve called by the natives as ‘The Mara’, is a great game reserve located in the south-western part of Kenya. The park has taken its name from the cultural inhabitants of the place called as Maasai people and Mara means ‘Spotted’ as the area is encircled with trees, savannas, clouds and scrub. The park is very well known for its extraordinary population of Thomson’s gazelle, big cats, wildebeest, the journey of Zebras, game-compelling the tourists to take flights to Nairobi to observe the Great Migration with an eagle eye.
The Maasai National Park is just a little part of the Greater Mara Ecosystem which further consists of Kimintet, Oloirien, Kerinkani, Ol Derkesi, Naikara, Maji Moto, Siana, Olkinyei, Ol Chorro Oirowua, Lemek and Koiyaki.In 1948 when the park was first established as a Wildlife Sanctuary, it only comprises a land area of about 520 square kilometres which is now spreaded on the land of approximately about 1,510 square kilometres.
The park offers a number of tented camps and lodges for the visitors , all located inside the limits of the Reserve and Conservation area amongst which the well-known ones are the Sekenani camp, sMara Simba, Elephant Pepper, Mara Sopa, Royal Mara Safari Lodge, Keekorok, Governor’s camp and Mara Serena. There are a number of interesting activities that can be performed at the park like Game Drives- that enables you to have several game visits with the help of a vehicle and a guard.
Besides, you can also opt for Walking Safaris- a little and entertaining adventure, with the local guides. You will love to have the Cultural Tour which offers you have a journey towards the cultural village of Maasai and experience their traditions very closely. The most charming and fascinating activity is the Hot Air Ballooning- where you will have a bird’s eye view of the whole park from the top, a unique and an amazing experience.
From the southern side the park is bordered with the Serengeti Park, Siria escarpment in the western region and Maasai bucolic ranches to west, east and north. The biggest attraction here is the ‘Big Five’ (leopard, lion, Black Rhinoceros, African Buffalos and African Elephant). Besides a wide range of Nile crocodiles and Hippopotami are found in Talek and Mara rivers.
Cheethas, Hyenas, Leopards, bat-eared foxes and Jackals can also be seen in the reserve. The plain located between the Esoit Siria and Mara River is the perfect location for observing the game of cheetah and lion. In Serengeti, millions of Wildebeest can be seen who migrate here and there in the quest of fresh grass and vegetation. This Great Migration is an impressive and notable event, which is very famous throughout the world and includes approximately 200,000 zebras, 18,000 elands, 97,000 Topi, 500,000 Thomson’s gazelles and 1,300,000 wildebeest.
Various other antelopes such as Coke’s hartebeests, duikers, elands, impalas and gazelles can also be observed in the Park. The bird-watchers will truly be mesmerized to see around 470 distinctive breeds of beautiful and colorful birds like lilac-breasted roller, African pygmy-falcons, long- crested eagles, ostriches, crowned cranes, hornbills, secretary birds, marabou storks and vultures.