Masai Mara National Park


Masai Mara National Reserve -  The home of Wildebeests 

Masai Mara national reserve is famously known for its diverse wildlife such as the big cats, big five animals and many others. the reserve is a savannah in the wilderness of southwestern Kenya at the border of Tanzania hence neighboring Serengeti national park. This means that the wildebeests normally roam around the reserve as they cross from Serengeti National park of Tanzania hence giving impressive and eye-catching moments.

The reserve gets its name to honor the Masai people who are the ancestral inhabitants of the region and the word Mara means ‘’spotted’’ and this means that on reaching the reserve, you will spot the Masai people. These people are related to Karamojong of Uganda in times of culture, for example, both are cattle keepers, they use Shuka as their cloth, they feed on animal blood and ‘Ugali’ which posho and much more.

History of Masai Mara National Reserve 

In 1961, Masai Mara national reserve was established as a wildlife sanctuary and by then it was covering an area of 520 square kilometers. In 1974, the reserve gained national reserve status and now the reserve covers an area of 1520 square kilometers which was extended in 1984. Due to its diverse wildlife, the reserve has attracted a good number of tourists who come to spot the lions, cheetahs, elephants, buffalos among others and the great migration of wildebeest which is among others, even natural wonders of Africa as well as one of the 10 wonders in the world.

The reserve is now managed by the Narok county government but the reserve is still facing different challenges like human encroachment which leads to the death of animals like giraffes, hartebeests, impalas, common warthogs among others. there is poaching for meat and others uses like the sale of the ivories. Efforts are being put in place like the formation of organizations such as the Mara Elephant project that is aimed at protecting elephants.

Activities to do in Masai Mara National Reserve

There is a lot take engage as you plan to visit Masai Mara National Reserve and these are among others;

Morning afternoon and night game drive

These game drives each last for 2 hours but there is another one that is highly thought which is a full day game drive accompanied with picnic lunch or bush lunch. The game drives are conducted in an open room 4X4 vehicle and this vehicle enables to pass through the muddy roads in the reserve. This grants visitors to spot animals like lions, buffalos, elephants, wildebeests, giraffes, zebras, warthogs among others with other different bird species like the giant ostriches.

Bird watching

The reserve has over 450 bird species and among others include hornbills, pelicans, ostriches, herons, geese, storks, vultures among others. This has favored bird watching in the area and visitors watch birds in the morning and in the afternoon. The park has small and big birds such as the giant ostriches which have been one of the most attractive birds in the reserve.

Walking safaris

Take a short safari for about 2 to 3 hours while on foot in the wilderness of Masai Mara National Park. This enables the tourist to get closer to the wildlife in form of bird species, animals plant species among others. because it’s a wild foot tour or walking safari, the park guide who is fully armed will be available to offer tourist protection in case of a wild animal attack. They normally take place in the conservancies adjacent to the main reserve.

Horseback riding

This experience is carried out outside the reserve but in the conservancies and for the tourists interested to take part in this experience enter to the Mara while on the back of the horses and animals that are usually spotted include giraffes, leopards, lions, elephants, hartebeests, wildebeests among others.

The activity is normally carried out with a help of the park ranger guide and the local mas guide who will be having great knowledge about the attractions spotted.

Sundowners and bush breakfast

For the honeymooners, this is the way to go or in case you want to propose to your loved ones. A bush breakfast is the best as you enjoy the sunrise while watching endless plains served with a waiter dressed in a traditional dress code. This is commonly arranged by your lodge and also the sundowner moments where the hotel organized a mobile dinner in the wilderness of Masai Mara national reserve.

Hot air ballooning

This is another memorable way of viewing wildlife with an aerial view while you are in the basket of a hot air balloon. This will grant a breath-taking moment, especially during the great wildebeest migration. The experience starts early in the morning and lasts for only 2 hours but on landing, you will be offered a glass of wine and those who don’t take alcoholic drinks, will be offered a glass of juice.

Masai cultural tours

As earlier mentioned the land for the reserve was first inhabited by Masai people, they are now staying in the neighboring community at the edge of the reserve. This means that visitors can take part to tour around the community, learn as you get entertained about the local culture through the traditional dances and music, marriage ceremony practices, traditional food cooking and tasting experience.

While in the community, witness the way of dressing, the homestead which is called the Manyattas. These are homes surrounded by acacia thorns used as a fence to protect them from enemies and wild animal attacks. The overall experience takes about 2 to 3 hours but of great memories.

As you plan to visit Masai Mara National Reserve, the shortest time it should take is 3 days safari because the second day will be for a full-day game exploration. This means that to explore the Masai Mara in full, you need at least 12 hours while on the game drive, to enable you reach all the corners of the reserve hence discovering important wildlife including the Big five and elusive cats.

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