Masai Mara National Reserve – Facts and Travel Guide
Masai Mara National Reserve derives its name from the indigenous people of Kenya – the Masai tribe – and the Mara River that cuts through the park.
The Mara is also home to the richest concentration of wildlife, including the “Big Five” (elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, and buffalo), zebras, antelope, gnus, Oribis, hyenas, giraffes, warthogs, gazelles, hartebeests, hippos, crocodiles and others. The park has the largest concentration of African lions, including the black-maned lion.
In the East African Country of Kenya roams one of the Seven Wonders of Modern World. The wildebeest’s migrations in the Masai Mara National Reserve and by extension Serengeti National Parks have astounded the world. They have always migrated, but nobody thought they did so in such large numbers.
The Masai Mara provides the best view of the famous wildebeest migration as the animals cross the Mara River between July and August.
Below is an overview of the park.
The Masai Mara National Reserve occupies an area of 1510 square kilometers and it is managed by the local authorities of Narok County in south-western Kenya.
Masai Mara National Park sits on the ancestral land of Masai People of Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania. They have protected the wildlife for hundreds of years.
The Masai People are nomadic pastoralists and thus the wildebeests, just like their cattle, are regarded as the wealth of the Masai. They therefore ensure peaceful co-existence with the wild animals.
The Masai Mara National Park is considered the greatest wildlife park in Africa. It has over 200 square miles of open grassland where the wild animals such as Wildebeests, Zebras, Gazelles, Antelopes, Ostriches, Rhinos, Buffaloes, Elephants, Giraffes, Lions, Cheetahs, Leopards, and Hyenas etc. roam free in their natural habitat.
The Flora in the Masai Mara is by and large an extension of the Savannah Grassland on the plateau of the Eastern Africa Great Rift Valley that stretches all the way from Ethiopia to Zambia.
About 1.5 million wildebeests cross the Great Mara River in Masai Mara to look for pastures in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.
Unlike what most people believe, Wildebeests are not the only animals that migrate. Zebras and antelopes too migrate. About 350,000 Zebras and 200,000 antelopes will find their way across the Mara River to Tanzania.
The Masai Mara Migration is the world’s largest Terrestrial Migration by mammals.
The best time to view this spectacle is July to October. The animals will cross over again from Serengeti to Masai Mara after the pastures are regenerated.
Apparently, the African carnivores that include lions, snakes, crocodiles, hyenas, leopards and cheetahs waylay the hapless herbivores as they cross. When carnivores are feasting, the herbivores will be doing their best to reach the other end for better pastures.
You can see this spectacle on a hot air balloon or on tour buses. If you have never been to Kenya, then you have missed out on one of the greatest terrestrial spectacles on the globe.
Masai Mara National Reserve – weather and climate
The vast Masai Mara reserve is located at an altitude of between 4,875 and 7,052 feet above sea level, giving it a damp climate and more moderate temperature than most of Kenya. Daytime temperatures run at 85°F (30°C) ) maximum and night temperatures can drop to around 60°F (15°C). Most rain falls between March and May and during the short rainy season in November and December. The park may be difficult to navigate at these times.
Between July and October the weather is dry, the vegetation is lush and the daytime temperatures are pleasant, making it the best time to see the park’s wildlife. The Masai Mara experiences the highest tourist numbers during this period. Hot temperatures peak between December and January while June and July are the coolest months at the park.
Best time to visit Masai Mara
The months of December – March and July – October have very pleasant weather and are by far the best months to visit the Masai Mara National Reserve. April through June are also good months but might be rainy or cool.