It is the beautiful savannas and vast species of animals in the animal reserve that makes the Maasai Mara stand out. Its distinct features that encompass the rolling grassland and the beautifully scattered shrubs and isolated trees make it attractive all the more.
The Mara is famous because of its remarkable vast nature of wildlife. The fine reserve is home to buffalos, cheetahs, lions, elephants, leopards and the rare black rhinos. And of course The Mara Triangle is also home to more than 470 bird species, including almost 60 raptors such as vultures and martial eagles.
Maasai Mara National Reserve also known as Maasai Mara is a large game reserve in Narok County, Kenya. It is named in honour of the Maasai people (the ancestral inhabitants of the area) and their description of the area when looked at from afar: ‘Mara’ which is Maa (Maasai language) for ‘spotted.’
A year-round affair
Safari travelers to the Mara are guaranteed to witness astonishing wildlife sightings all year round.
The rainy season is the best time to come for those who prefer the seclusion and lush green of this season. However some camps close during the rainy seasons; the ‘short rains’ happen in November, while the ‘long rains’ fall in April and May.
March and October tend to be the hottest times of the year, but the Mara is rarely oppressively hot, and some of the higher-altitude lodges can get cold at night.
What you need for the trip
Pack comfortable safari clothes and avoid white outfits because of the dust from the savannah. Gym shoes or sneakers can be handy. Pack a sun hat and sunglasses that will help protect from the strong sun.
The Mara is chilly in the night; it is hence advisable to pack some jackets and sweaters to cater for the cold mornings as well.
And of course carry a camera, what’s a trip without it to capture the memories?
Things to do
Watch the sun rise
This is an unforgettable experience where one gets to watch the savanna gently come to life. One can also decide to watch the sun set and recreate own scenes from the epic ‘Out of Africa’ and ‘Big Cat Diary’ movies.
This is a unique way of exploring the huge landscape and an absolute way of experiencing the Mara. The fresh air of the wilderness makes the experience even more pleasing.
The hot air balloon
Waking up before dawn and spanning up in a hot air balloon is a sure way of enjoying the Mara plains. The balloon soars gently as one enjoys the magnificent bird’s eye view of the wilderness.
Taking nature walks
Taking a nice long walk in the mighty Mara can be breath-taking, with a chance to get upclose with the beautiful animals like the giraffes and zebras, a walk in the Mara reserve can surely create beautiful memories.
The Maasai are an indigenous ethnic group in Africa of semi-nomadic people settled in Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are among the foremost African ethnic groups and are known internationally because of their links to the national parks and reserves.
The Maasai originated north of Lake Turkana (north-west Kenya) in the lower Nile Valley. They began migrating south in the 15th century and arrived in the long trunk of land stretching across central Tanzania and Northern Kenya during the 17th and 18 century.
The Mara was originally established in 1961 as a wildlife sanctuary and it covered only 520 square kilometres (200 sq mi) of the current area, including the Mara Triangle. The area was extended to the east in 1961 to cover 1,821 km2 (703 sq mi) and converted to a game reserve.
The Narok County Council took over management of the reserve at this time. Part of the reserve was given to the National Reserve status in 1974, and the remaining area of 159 km2 (61 sq mi) was returned to local communities. An additional 162 km2 (63 sq mi) were removed from the reserve in 1976, and the park was reduced to 1,510 km2 (580 sq mi) in 1984.
In 1994, the TransMara County Council 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