|The Maasai Mara is Kenya's finest wildlife
sanctuary. Everything about this reserve is outstanding. The wildlife is abundant and the
gentle rolling grassland ensures that animals are never out of sight. Birds too are
prolific, including migrant birds and 57 species of birds of prey.
The climate is gentle, rarely too hot and well
spread rainfall year round. When it rains, its is almost always in the late afternoon or
night. Between July and October, when the great wildebeest migration is in the Mara the
sensation is unparalleled.
The wildlife is far from being confined
within the Reserve boundaries and an even larger area, generally refered to as the
'dispersal area' extends north and east of the game Reserve. Maasai live within the
dispersal area with their stock but centuries of close association with the wildllife has
resulted in an almost symbiotic relationship where wildlife and people live in peace with
The first sight of this park is
breathtaking. Here the great herds of shuffling elephants browse among the rich
tree-studded grasslands with an occasional sighting of a solitary and ill-tempered rhino,
Thompson's and Grant's gazelle, topi and eland and many more species of plains' game offer
a rich choice of food for the dominant predators; lion, leopard and cheetah which hunt in
this pristine wilderness.
In the Mara River, hippo submerge at
the approach of a vehicle only to surface seconds later to snort and grumble their
displeasure. But this richness of fauna, this profusion of winged beauty and the untouched
fragility of the lanscape, are all subordinate to the Mara's formost attraction, the march
of the wildebeest.
After exhausting the grazing in Tanzania's
northern Serengeti National Park, a large number of wildebeest and zebra enter Masai Mara
around the end of June drawn by the sweet grass raised by the long rains of April and May.
It is estimated that more than half a million wildebeest enter the Mara and are joined by
another 100,000 from the Loita hills east of the Mara. Driving in the midst of these great
herds is an unimaginable experience.
Whilst the eyes feast on the spectacle,
the air carries the smells, the dust and the sounds of hundreds of thousands of animals.
There is nowhere else on earth to compare with this wildlife marvel. Once the Mara grass
has been devoured and when fresh rain in Tanzania has brought forth a new flush there, the
herds turn south, heading hundreds of kilometeres back to Serengeti and the Ngorongoro
plains. there the young are dropped in time to grow sufficiently strong to undertake the
long march north six months later.
Apart from the better known species,
there are also other rare ones that can be added to the visitor's checklist. These include
the roan antelope, the Bat-eared foxes and thousands of topi.
The combination of a gentle climate,
scenic splendour and untold numbers of wildlife makes the Masai Mara National Reserve
Kenya's most popular inland destination.
Mara National Reserve is presently one of Kenya's most popular safari destination. Most
tour operators based in Nairobi offer excursions to Masai Mara. Some combine Masai Mara
with visits to Ngorongoro crater and the Serengeti plains in neighbouring Tanzania.
are many lodging options in and around Masai Mara National Reserve. In the reserve itself,
options include: the Mara Sarova Camp with 150 beds; the Mara Sopa Lodge
with 144 beds; the Mara Serena Lodge with 152 beds; the Keekorok Lodge with
158 beds; Governor's Camp with 76 beds; Little Governor's Camp with 34 beds;
and the Mara Intrepids Club with 60 beds.
On the periphery of the Reserve,
lodging includes: the Fig Tree Camp with 140 beds; the Kichwa Tembo Camp
with 102 beds; Sekanani Camp with 30 beds; and Ol Kurruk Lodge with 38 beds.
Lodging located in the game dispersal
areas include: the Mara Safari Club with 80 beds; the Mpata Club with 20
cottages; the Mara River Camp with 52 beds; the Siana Springs Camp with 76
beds; Oseur Camp with 44 beds; and the Mara Paradise Lodge with 156 beds.