Maasai Mara National Reserve

Together with the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania Maasai Mara forms Africa’s most diverse, incredible and most spectacular eco-systems and possibly the world’s top safari big game viewing destination.

Maasai Mara National Reserve stretches 1,510 sq km (580 sq miles) and raises 1,500-2,170 meters above sea level. Add the conservancies and the area is at least twice the size. It hosts over 95 species of mammals and over 570 recorded species of birds.

Background Information

Masai Mara National Park is located in Kenya along the border of Tanzania and is named in honor of the Masai people group.

It represents the northernmost portion of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem.  The Sand River, Talek River, and the Mara River are the primary rivers draining waters of the reserve.  The park is divided into two main areas the inner portion which features pristine wilderness and the outer portion which allows for cattle of the Masai people to graze.

The Masai Mara is renowned for its abundance and variety of larger plains species as well as the variety of predator species.  It is considered the only place left in Kenya which resembles the wildlife population today from what it once was.  Although there is an abundance, the wildlife is declining and thankfully the preserve is there to protect it.  It is one of Africa’s most coveted wildlife viewing destinations.

Popular wildlife that might be seen in the Masai Mara include hippo, giraffe, waterbuck, reedbuck, roan antelope, warthog, eland, topi, gazelle, zebra, baboon, crocodile, various species of monkeys, and black rhino.  Except for the mountain gorilla, all of Africa’s Big 7 can be part of your wildlife sightings.  The Mara is home to the largest collection of lions in Kenya.

Predator species are almost always atop traveler’s wildlife viewing wishlist.  The good news is the Mara has them.  Lion, leopard, cheetah, jackal, hyena, and various species of mongoose are all found throughout the park.

The Masai Mara is a portion of the larger Mara Ecosystem which combines the Koiyaki, Lemek, Ol Chorro Oirowua, Olkinyei, Siana, Maji Moto, Naikara, Ol Derkesi, Kerinkani, Oloirien, and Kimintet protective ranches.  All of these efforts work together recognizing the significance of protecting the wilderness and wildlife that live in the region.

Although the plains and wooded areas are beautiful, the wildlife is the reason travelers visit Masai Mara.  Most people target the months between July and October with hopes of experiencing the wildebeest migration through the park.

There are plenty of opportunities for historical and cultural experiences as well.  You can visit Masai villages and cultural centers which will all expose you to the culture of the Masai people.  You might become better at jumping if you pay close attention.