See general information on this region....
| The Maasai Mara Game Reserve is widely considered to be Africa’s greatest wildlife reserve. The Mara comprises 200 sq miles of open plains, woodlands and riverine forest. The Mara is part of a massive ecosystem, contiguous with the plains of the Serengeti, which stretches across the border into Tanzania.|
The prime interest for most visitors to this area, obviously, is to see wildlife. The sheer volume and variety of the Mara will certainly not disappoint.
If visiting the Mara from July through October, visitors should take the opportunity to witness one of the world’s greatest natural spectacles, the Great Wildebeest Migration from the Serengeti. Each year the promise of rain and fresh life giving grass in the north brings more than 1.3 million Wildebeest together into a single massive herd. On the southern plains of the Mara the herds make a spectacular entrance in a massive, surging column of life that makes a breathtaking spectacle.
One of the best vantage points is on the banks of the Mara River, to see the herds making their mass crossings through the wild, crocodile infested waters.
The herds of the Mara attract plenty of predators. This is the best place in all of Kenya to see Lions. Whether on the hunt or at rest in family groups, Lions are a very common sight throughout the reserve.
Cheetah are also often seen here, as are Hyena and smaller predators such as Jackals.
A safari through the Mara lets the visitor experience several different habitats in a single day. On the wide open grasslands you can travel through huge herds of Zebra, Giraffe, Gazelle, and Topi. The attendant predators are a continual presence among the herds. Around the waters of the Musiara Swamp elephants can be found seeking refuge from the heat. Travelling along the banks of the Mara and Talek there are excellent river views of Hippos and Crocodiles, while the riverine forests abound with Birdlife and Monkeys.
The best time to see game in the Mara is early morning and late afternoon. In the midday heat, most animals generally retreat to the cool of thick undergrowth and become invisible. Morning and afternoon game drives also allow you to witness the unforgettable African dawn and sunsets.
The most common means of Game viewing here is in customized vehicles. These vehicles usually have open roofs or sides and are ideal for photography. There are a series of maintained roads throughout the reserve. Some safari companies offer all day game drives, stopping for a riverside picnic in the midday heat.
Other lodges and camps arrange escorted walks through the bush. This is an ideal way to explore this wilderness, and experience the wildlife at ground level. Sometimes specialized hides and viewing platforms are established in the grounds of lodges or camps.
For a truly unique perspective on this spectacular wilderness, dawn Balloon safaris, carried out daily from several lodges, can be booked through most Safari companies. This incredible once in a lifetime experience offers the visitor a fantastic view of the great plains of the Mara, and the chance to drift unobtrusively over the great herds below.
While the massive herds and predators are the Mara’s great attraction, there is also a wealth of birdlife, reptiles, primates and small mammals to be seen. Taking your time to experience the Mara as a whole will give you a much better appreciation of the diversity and intricacies of this fascinating eco-system.
By the end of 2006, there have been confirmed sightings of African Wild Dogs (Lyacon Pictus- sometime known as the Cape Hunting Dog) in the Northern Mara. One of the most endangered African predators, the wild dog has been believed by many to have vanished from this area. The recent sightings are a hopeful sign for the return of this rare and beautiful predator to the plains.
If you have a particular wildlife or birding interest, look for a Safari operator who can offer you specialized guiding and services to suit your needs.