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MASAI MARA

NATIONAL RESERVES
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Maasai Mara is situated in south-west Kenya and is one of Africa’s Greatest Wildlife Reserves. Together with the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania it forms Africa’s most diverse, incredible and most spectacular eco-systems and possibly the world’s top safari big game viewing eco-system. It is about 270 km from the capital Nairobi City and takes about 4-5 hours by road or 40-45 minutes by flight.

Maasai Mara National Reserve has 1,510 sq km area and raises 1,500-2,170 meters above sea level. Add the conservancies and the area is at least twice the size. It hosts over 95 species of mammals and over 570 recorded species of birds. Together with the Serengeti National Park there is no better place to witness the best viewing of wildlife Animals in the world.

It is named in honor of the Maasai people (the ancestral inhabitants of the area) and their description of the area when looked at from afar: “Mara,” which is Maasai language for spotted, an apt description for the circles of trees, scrub, savanna, and cloud shadows that mark the area. The Sand, Talek River and Mara River are the major rivers draining the reserve. Shrubs and trees fringe most drainage lines and cover hillslopes and hilltops.

Wildebeest Migration: If you really want to see the wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara is from July to October. This is a truly amazing event to witness and is often the highlight of any Kenya Safari ever. Although it is not guaranteed that the wildebeest get to Maasai Mara, it has yet to let us down. Also, December to February are great times as it is dryer and good for the Big Cats.

Place to stay: There is a wide selection of places to stay in and around the Maasai Mara and the conservancies surrounding it . The conservancies surrounding the Maasai Mara have restricted number of vehicles allowing a more private game viewing of wildlife.

History: When it was originally established in 1961 as a wildlife sanctuary the Mara covered only 520 square kilometres of the current area, including the Mara Triangle. The area was extended to the east in 1961 to cover 1,821 km2 and converted to a game reserve. The Narok County Council (NCC) took over management of the reserve at this time. Part of the reserve was given National Reserve status in 1974, and the remaining area of 159 km2  was returned to local communities. An additional 162 km2  were removed from the reserve in 1976, and the park was reduced to 1,510 km2  in 1984.

In 1994, the TransMara County Council (TMCC) was formed in the western part of the reserve, and control was divided between the new council and the existing Narok County Council. In May 2001, the not-for-profit Mara Conservancy took over management of the Mara Triangle.