The Masai Mara is one of the best known and most popular Game reserves in the whole of Africa. At times and in certain places the Mara can get a little overrun with pop-up tourist minibuses, but there is something so special about it that it tempts seasoned African safari travellers, documentary filmmakers and researchers back time and time again. Most of "Out of Africa" was filmed here, so you probably already know what it looks like. When Karen Blixen crossed the Mara in an ox-wagon, she said of the experience, "The air of the African Highlands went into my head like wine. I was all the time slightly drunk with it and the joy of these months was indescribable". The park to get drunk in is 275km west of Nairobi and covers 1 510 sq kms of rolling plains, rocky outcrops and deep green winding rivers full of hippos and crocs. Although it’s not the best bird watching destination, its animal diversity is one of the greatest in Africa and all of the Big Five are easily found.
The Masai Mara reserve is the northern extension of the Serengeti National Park of Tanzania. There are no fences, and animals take no notice of the borders: not only those which split Kenya from Tanzania but the limits of the protected area as well. The Mara River serves as the natural border and is the backbone of the Masai Mara. It is crossed every year by large migratory herds of wildebeest and their zebra friends that march across the two parks on a continuous circular migration. From June to October one million wildebeest and 200 000 zebra move from the plains of the Serengeti across the croc-filled Mara River to new pastures in the Masai Mara. The predators and scavengers - lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena and vultures - follow in their wake, relying on the huge herd for food. The Masai Mara has the largest population of well-fed lion in Kenya, and some of the biggest crocs in the Mara River - thanks to the constant supply of ready-made meals. The best way to see the migration is from a hot-air balloon and the movement of these vast herds of awkwardly shaped wildebeest is a spectacular sight. (It is sometimes said that when God made all the animals he used the bits left over to make the wildebeest!)
The Masai Mara was declared a reserve in 1961 to protect those animals the great white hunters failed to destroy. The territory was originally Masai grazing ground and the local Masai chiefs were made managers of the park. The animals move outside the park into huge areas known as 'dispersal areas'. There can be as much wildlife roaming outside the park as inside. Since many Masai villages are located in the 'dispersal areas', over the years they have developed a synergistic relationship with the wildlife. Today the reserve is still owned and administered by the local Masai district councils and all camps within the reserve are run by the Masai.
Tours that include the Masai Mara.Click here>>