Kenya

Masai Mara Game Reserve

The Masai Mara is for many people one of Kenya's finest experiences. Recently been made the "7th Wonder of the World". The first sight of this natural wonderland is breathtaking. Huge herds of elephants gather here, as well as the famous wildebeest with on occasional glimpse of a solitary rhinoceros. Thomson and Grant gazelles, topi, eland and many other plains animals give a variety of choice for the dominant predators. Lion, leopard as cheetah hunt in this unique wilderness. In the Mara River hippopotamuses will rise at the sound of a car for a short time and sputter from displeasure before continuing the bathing and basking in the sun. At first glance sleepy crocodiles lie sunbathing on the banks, with an open mouth, waiting for a careless delicacy to stop by before striking with lightning speed. These beauties of nature can be found year round in the 1510 square kilometre large Masai Mara Reserve.

 

The Masai Mara is exceptionally rich in African wildlife and zoological paradise, both the quantity and variety. The open plains, savannas and forests are the basis for a wide range of life, particularly mammals, from antelopes to big cats, elephants to hippos. Furthermore, a number of endangered species like the black rhino, the African hunting dog, cheetah are also present. The Masai Mara National Reserve, with its collection of grass eaters and predators, is one of the few places on earth where the "Big Five" can be found and seen. The phrase "Big Five " was originally coined by people who saw hunting as a game and refers to the most wanted and dangerous animals to kill. The members chose these animals because of the difficulty of the hunt, and not because of their size. Fortunately, the hunt banned in the reserve, however, the term "Big Five " still apply to the same five animals, lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard. The hunt is still applicable here, but fortunately it is a photographic value.


MIRACLE TIP: A very special experience is being accompanied by a Maasai warrior while hiking. These walks are organised by us only in secure locations, and are suitable for all ages. It is a very nice experience for children as they learn a lot about the bush on these hikes.


Background information / History

The Masai Mara is a game reserve and not a national park; it is therefore not managed by Kenya Wildlife Service, but by the local authorities, namely the respective council. The problem seems to start with the administrative division, defined by the Mara River. The eastern sector belongs to the Narok district, and the western side is the Transmara District. This detail is just something to keep in mind. The fees paid at the entrance (which are always included in our itineraries) are valid for the specific district, and not for other districts. The areas are so large that it normally does not apply, but if you would like to visit another district in the Masai Mara then another entrance fee has to be paid.

The Maasai Tribe

The pastoral nomadic tribe, previously feared because of their attitude warriors, have lived in the Masai Mara and its surrounding area for a very long time. When chef Lenana signed an agreement in 1911 with the colonial government, he accepted the sale of the Maasai area and many Maasai moved further south, because of the urban development of Nairobi. In the 19th century an ancient prophecy of the Maasai came true and many were killed by an epidemic brought to them by the white colonials. Their numbers were drastically reduced and the area of the Mara was abandoned. When the reserve was inaugurated in 1961, this was done for the protection of animals in this deserted and wild country. The game was almost extinct by hunting and killing by the white conquerors. The protection of this area was one of the factors that contributed to the return of the Maasai, back to their territory. The Maasai now live together with wild animals, tourists and their livestock in an area that the whole world is watching. All in all, the situation in the Masai Mara remains fragile and the future will tell whether the Mara in its current splendour will remain. Outside the districts, there are also several private parks that eventually form part of the Mara.

Recommended accommodation in and around Masai Mara:

Middle class (brons)
Sarova Mara Game Camp, Camp Fig Tree, and Masai Mara Sopa Lodge

Luxury middle class (silver)
Karen Blixen Camp, Porini Camps, Governors´ Camps (Main Governors’ Camp, Little Governors’ Camp, Il Moran Camp and the Private Camp) and Tipilikwani Camp

Top-end (gold)
Sanctuary Olonana, Elephant Pepper Camp and Ol Seki Mara Camp

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