Masai Mara National Reserve is Kenya's premier wildlife park. The park was originally established in 1948 as a wildlife sanctuary, it covered only 520 sq km of the current area ,including the Mara Triangle .The area was later extended to the east in 1961 to cover 1,821 km and converted to a Game Reserve to protect wildlife from hunters.
The park is named after the Masai people and their description of the area when looked at from a far. MARA Means Maa (Masai language) for spotted which is a description for the circles of trees ,scrub ,savannah and cloud shadows that mark the area.The Masai Mara lies in the great rift valley, which is fault line which is about 3,500 miles(5600Km) long from Ethiopia's Red sea through Kenya ,Tanzania, Malawi and into Mozambique.
The valley is wide and it towering escarpment can be seen in a hazy distance. Most of the game viewing occurs on the valley floor. Most of the Masai Mara is made up of hilly grassland which is fed by plentiful rain, especially during the wet months between November and June. The areas bordering the Mara River are forested and are a home to hundreds of bird species. Masai Mara is also famous for its exceptional population of Big Cats and the annual migration of Zebra, Thomson's gazelle and wildebeest from the Serengeti every year from July to October.
The park lies about 270 Km from Nairobi and the journey to Masai Mara takes 4 to 5 hours by road. One can also catch a flight from Wilson Airport Nairobi which approximately takes 40-45 minutes. They have scheduled flights, twice daily and the flights lands in one of the three airstrips Keekorok,olkiombo and Musiara..
Masai Mara has the highest concentration of wildlife, including the big five which includes Elephants, Lions, and cheetah, Leopards, Rhinos and Buffalo. Other animals that an adventure lover can witness in this amazing park are zebras, Antelope, wildebeest, Oribis.Hyenas, Giraffes, Warthog, Gazelles, Hartebeests, Hippos ,Topi, Baboons and Crocodiles in the Mara river. The park has the largest concentration of African Lions, Including the Black Manned llions.For bird watching lover's birdlife is as plentiful as wildlife at the mara and it boasts over 400 different bird species which includes: secretary birds,crowned crane ,ostrich,long crested Eagles ,vultures,hornbills,marabou storks and Ostriches.
Must see and things to do while in mara:
Game drives are a great way to explore and experience this park.There is plenty of game throughout the year you are guaranteed to spot all the animals including the big cats.However the population of black black rhinos is severly threatened with only 37 black rhinos left in the Mara.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
For Adventure lovers who want to have unforgetable African safari can go an extra mile to have a sky-high view of wildlife from the hot air balloon ride and this is one of the way to explore and discover over the masai Mara park.The balloon safari ride takes place at dawn and it takes one and half hours.
Its has been named one of the seventh wonder of the world.The animals trek for four months that is from July to October.Though sometimes its hard to time the exact time for migration because it depends with the rain seasons.The months of July and August has been the best times to witness what is truly the worlds most spectacular event of the wildebeest migration and the dramatic events that occurs during this mass crossing at the mara river.Over 1.5 million wildebeest and Zebra cross from Serengeti Tanzania to Masai Mara kenya in search of green pastures.
Here you can visit the Masai village where you get a chance to interact with the masai people in their traditional setting and have a chance to experience their cultural believes and traditions.Meet their young Maasai warriors and perform their amazing traditional dances and purchase their traditional souvenirs.
Bird lovers can enjoy a colorful view of birds such as ostriches,secretary birds,orange buffs,red winged schalows turacos,Jackson's bustards and many others.