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Masai Mara National Reserve (Kenya)
The Masai Mara -- A Guide to Kenya's Premier National Park
"Annual migration of millons of widlebeest in east africa, crossing the Marra River"
Annual migration of millons of widlebeest in east africa, crossing the Mara River
The Masai Mara National Reserve is Kenya's premier wildlife park. It was established in 1961 to protect wildlife from hunters. The Masai Mara is the reason many visitors come to Kenya and its beauty and abundant wildlife won't disappoint. This guide to the Masai Mara will tell you what animals you can expect to see, the topography of the area, where to stay, how to get there, and what there is to do beyond the game drives.
Where is the Masai Mara National Reserve?
The Masai Mara is in southwestern Kenya on the border of Tanzania. The reserve is situated in the Rift Valley with Tanzania's Serengeti Plains running along its southern end. The Mara River runs through the reserve (north to south) hosting plenty of hippos and crocodiles and making the annual migration of over a million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebras an extremely dangerous undertaking.
Most of the Masai Mara is made up of hilly grassland which is fed by plentiful rain, especially during the wet months between November and June. The areas bordering the Mara river are forested and are home to over several hundred bird species. This map will help orient you.
Masai Mara's Wildlife
The Masai Mara reserve is Kenya's most popular game park because it's relatively small (a little smaller than Rhode Island) yet it hosts an amazing concentration of wildlife. You are almost guaranteed to see the Big 5. Lions abound throughout the park as do leopards, cheetah, hyenas, giraffe, impala, wildebeest, topi, baboons, warthogs, buffalo, zebra, elephants, and of course hippos and crocodiles in the Mara River.
The best time to go is between July and October when the wildebeest and zebra are at their highest number and offer plenty of food for lions, cheetahs, and leopards. The best time to view animals is either at dawn or dusk. For more tips on spotting wildlife see my tips for a successful safari.
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