Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Africa

The Masai Mara is located in the southwest of Kenya and, in fact, is the northern extension of the Serengeti National Park. The reserve is named after the Maasai tribe – the traditional population of the region – and the Mara River, which separates it. Masai Mara is a unique place. Nobody is a threat here. And life and death are in those proportions that are established by nature itself. Maybe that’s why everyone seems happy here: both people and animals.

The famous wildebeest migration begins in July, when the rainy season comes to an end in the Masai Mare, and vegetation is renewed in the expanses of the savannas. One and a half million herd of wildebeest, replenished by 400 thousand newborns, leaves the Serengeti scorched by the sun and rushes to Kenya, to the Masai Mara.

The Masai Mara is one of the best known and most popular game reserves in all of Africa. Sometimes and in some places the park is filled with tourist minibuses, but there is something special about this place that beckons here again and again.

Seasoned safari travelers, travel writers, documentary makers and explorers often say the Masai Mara is one of their favorite destinations. So why is she? Perhaps this is due to the open beautiful sky over the Masai Mara and its spacious savannah, the romance of films like Out of Africa and, of course, the annual wildebeest migration, the variety of animals and birds and the opportunity to observe this amazing place. from a height in a hot air balloon. And also because of the red-clothed Maasai, whose way of life is completely different from what we are used to, and from whom you learn to look at the world a little differently, calling into question certain generally accepted values. The combination of all these things, as well as some amazing spirit of this place – which is very difficult to convey in words – this is what

The Masai Mara lies in the East African Rift Valley, which is a fault line 5600 km long, from the Red Sea of ​​Ethiopia through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and to Mozambique. In this place the valley is quite wide, the towering slopes are visible only in the foggy distance. Most animal sightings take place at the bottom of the valley, but some loggias offer walking tours outside the park’s boundaries, to the hills of the Olulolo Escarpment. Animals also have the right to go outside the park into vast areas known as “dispersal areas”. There can roam the same number of wild animals as in the park. Many Maasai villages are found in such areas, and the people have developed a close relationship with the wilderness over the centuries.

There are four main types of terrain in the Masai Mara: the Ngama Hills in the east, with sandy soils and deciduous shrubs favored by black rhinos; the Olulolo escarpment, which forms the western border and rises to a stunning plateau; bordering the Mara River, a triangular area of ​​lush pastures and yellow locust forests is a favorite area for many animals, especially migrating wildebeests; The central plains, which form the largest part of the reserve, with rare shrubs and huge boulders among the meadows, picturesquely scattered across the expanses of the plain.

The park is constantly patrolled by rangers, so there is practically no poaching, and therefore safaris are excellent here. There is also a strict control on the number of vehicles for animal watching, which makes your safari even more comfortable.

Within the national park there are loggias and camps, hot air balloon safaris are available. Departing on a safari in the early morning allows visitors to enjoy the spacious scenery, the rising sun and gatherings of animals.

The Masai Mara National Park area is home to Mara Serena, Musiara and Kikorok airports. Within the protected area of ​​the Masai Mara are the airports of Mara Shikar, Kichwa Tembo and Ngerende.

ANIMALS AND BIRDS

During a short stay in the park during the wildebeest migration period, you can see thousands of animals, while at other times there are still hundreds of them. The plains are full of wildebeests, zebras, impalas, swamps, giraffes, Thompson’s gazelles. In addition, leopards, lions, hyenas, cheetahs, jackals and big-eared foxes can often be seen. Black rhinos are a bit shy, so they can be hard to find, often only visible from a distance. They belong to an endangered species – there are only a few dozen of them.

The Mara River is teeming with hippos as well as large Nile crocodiles that lie in the coastal mud waiting for their prey as the wildebeest cross the river in search of new pastures.

Every July (and sometimes August) wildebeest travel more than 960 km from the plains of the Tanzanian Serengeti north to the Masai Mara, the last obstacle for them is the Mara River. In October or November, when they have had their fill of grass and there is nothing left of it, they turn around and come back.

The Masai Mara is home to birds of all sizes and colours, including common but insanely beautiful species such as the lilac-breasted roller and many large species such as eagles, vultures and storks. The park is home to over 53 different birds of prey.

SEASONS

Altitudes in the Masai Mare range from 1500 to 2170 m above sea level, which makes the climate somewhat milder and wetter than in other regions. The temperature during the day rarely exceeds 30°C, and at night it almost never drops below 15°C.

Rainy season: April and May, as well as November, in connection with which some sections of the Masai Mara become impassable due to mud.

Dry season: July to October is dry, the grass is tall and lush after the rains. This is a good time to come and see the huge herds of migratory herbivores.

Hottest time: December and January.

The coldest time: June and July.

PECULIARITIES

  • Wildebeest migration
  • Opportunity to observe the park from a height in a hot air balloon
  • Huge savannas of golden meadows
  • Endless sky
  • Rift valley slope
  • Lion sightings

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya