The Maasai Mara – the name alone evokes images of sunsets over vast areas of acacia-dotted open grassland. It’s the world’s most famous safari destination and with good reason.
Covering just over 1500 square kilometres in south-western Kenya, the Maasai Mara National Reserve teems with wildlife and offers visitors perhaps the best opportunity in Africa to sight all members of the Big Five – lions, leopards, elephants, rhino and buffalo.
The seemingly limitless plains are also home to populations of cheetahs, jackals, giraffe, various antelope species, and hyenas to name but a few. Birdlife also flourishes and there are over 400 species – resident and migratory – in the Mara including vultures, ostriches, herons and various types of raptor.
Wildlife is rich in the Mara at any time, but each year between July and October the reserve plays host to the biggest movement of land mammals on Earth – the Great Migration. Moving in a huge clockwise circle with the seasonal rains, over one million wildebeest migrate north from Tanzania’s Serengeti into the Mara. They are accompanied by several hundred thousand zebras, gazelles, elands and topi. Awaiting them of course are thousands of large predators, including crocodiles in the Mara river. Epic in both scale and drama, it’s been called the greatest spectacle in nature and is an absolute must-see for any safari visitor.
Most game viewing in the Mara is by 4WD vehicle, but an increasingly popular option is a hot air balloon safari, allowing visitors the ultimate photo opportunity high above the savannah. Visits to Maasai communities offer a chance to understand and learn about the culture and heritage of this distinctive semi-nomadic people.
The reserve includes a number of luxury camps and lodges and visitors can expect to enjoy excellent service, cuisine and comfort in this most iconic of African safari destinations.
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