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Located in the Great Rift Valley in the southwest part of Kenya, Masai Mara National Reserve is the flagship wildlife park of Kenya. Known as the mother of all wildlife parks, Masai Mara is an ideal place for you to see the African big five, namely elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, and buffalo in all their glory! Being a mecca of wildlife, you will also get to spot other animals like wildebeest, gazelle, zebra, antelope, giraffe, ostrich, hyena, cheetah, and many more. Dominated by grassland savannah, the pockets of riparian forest, rocky hills, and acacia woodland intersperse the plains of the National Reserve. It is world-famous for the annual wildebeest migration in which 2.5 million wildebeest, gazelles, and zebras follow the rains searching for new grass. This Mecca of wildlife is also known for the ‘Big Cat Diaries,’ the popular series on BBC. With around 500+ bird species, the Masai Mara National Reserve is a great place to spot bird species like Kori Bustard, Rufous-bellied Heron, Sooty Chat, and many more. A Masai Mara tour will give you a chance to experience breathtaking safaris and incredible wildlife sightings!
Nearest airport: multiple local airstrips inside the park. JKIA is the nearest international airport .
How to reach: from Nairobi by road or flight
Famous for: Big 5, Other wildlife, Balloon safari, Great Migration, Maasai villages
Months open: All year
Best time to Visit: June to Oct; Dec to mid-Mar
WHAT TO SEE
African big 5
Great wildebeest migration
Over 450 bird species
History of Masai Mara:
Established in 1961, the Masai Mara National Park got its name in honor of the ancestral inhabitants, the Maasai People. Earlier, it was a wildlife sanctuary with a small area of 520 square kilometers of the Mara Triangle. It was extended towards the east in the same year, to cover approximately 1821 square kilometers, and therefore, it was converted into a game reserve under the Narok County Council. It acquired the status of the ‘Masai Mara National Reserve’ in 1974.
Habitat of Masai Mara National Reserve:
Considered as one of the best reserves for game-viewing, the Masai Mara National Reserve is known for the intersection of three rivers, namely the Mara, the Sand, and the Talek. The Mara River is very popular for the climactic view of thousands of zebras and wildebeests crossing the river as part of their annual migration. The riverbanks of the Masai Mara National Reserve are densely bordered with shrubs and trees, and therefore, the main habitat of the Masai Mara National Park is open grassland filled with acacia thickets.
The Incredible Birds and Wildlife of Masai Mara
The Masai Mara National Reserve is called a ‘Mecca of Wildlife’ due to a dense population of wildlife and birds present inside the reserve. The wildlife present inside the park include the African Big Five, Big Cats, Bat-eared Foxes, Spotted Hyenas, Gazelles, Waterbucks, Giraffes, Black-backed Jackals, and antelopes like Impala, Topi, Reedbuck, and Eland. Being a huge game reserve, you are guaranteed to see the sights of the famous big five, namely, Elephants, Lions, Leopards, Rhinos, and Buffaloes. The rivers inside the reserve house crocodiles and hippos. Having a variety of 500+ bird species, the Masai Mara National Reserve offers sightings of some of the most spectacular birds. The unique birds that you can spot include Kori Bustard, Rufous-bellied, Secretary Bird, Sooty Chat, Usambiro Barbet, and many more.
Activities in the Masai Mara National Reserve:
Masai Mara is not just limited to safaris, it offers a plethora of other activities like hot air ballooning, game drives, seeing the spectacular sunrise and sunsets, cultural tours, etc. that you can enjoy to the core. Hot air balloon safaris Kenya take you over the incredible Masai Mara National Reserve. You can experience the beauty of the reserve by getting a bird’s eye view of the whole reserve. You can experience the thrill of various other activities which include watching the spectacular sundowners, having breakfast by the hippo pool in the stunning nature, bush lunches, breakfasts, and dinners with the perfectly seated area, and various safaris like the walking and night safari. Your tour will also include a visit to the Masai Village for getting insights and experiencing the lives of the Masai Tribe, which is the best-known pastoralist tribe of Kenya.
Where to Stay:
OLGATUNI CAMP: The Olgatuni Camp provides luxurious camps with a rustic aura for the tourists. Being extremely comfortable, the 14 tented camps inside Olgatuni Camp are equipped with plush beds, fresh slippers and towers, shower cubicles, and availability of hot water.
ANGAMA MARA: The majestic Angama Mara is located amid the Great Rift Valley and provides luxurious tented suites for the guests. Every tent has a stunning view of the savannah grasslands and provides all the amenities with the most delicious food.GOVERNOR’S IL MORAN CAMP: The Governor’s Il Moran Camp has small and intimate tents flooded with luxury. Apart from the best location and luxurious accommodation, it also provides spa facilities for the guests to relax after a tiring day at the game drives.
SANCTUARY OLONANA: The Sanctuary Olonana features fourteen glass-sided suites for the guests to immerse in the beauty of Masai Mara. The bush dinners and spectacular sundowners make staying here a delightful experience for the guests.
MAHALI MZURI: The Mahali Mzuri is a twelve-tented luxury safari camp located in the Kenyan Bush for experiencing the beauty of the Masai Mara ecosystem. It features various activities for the guests to enjoy in this luxurious camp.