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Maasai Mara Game Reserve

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Wildebeest with Cub - Maasai MaraWhen it comes to game-viewing, there is nowhere in Africa richer in wildlife or more eventful in encounters than the Mara.A pristine wilderness of haunting beauty,it promises its visitors a profusion of wildlife, prolific bird life and the unprecedented opportunity of catching up with all the members of

the 'Big Five' in one morning.

As to scenery, the 1,800 sq kilometres of this veteran reserve offer the classic mix of African imagery; miles of lion-gold grasslands, shoals of lilac-misted hills, a meandering river, acres of thorn-bush and mile upon mile of undulating wilderness.

The wonders of the Migration of The Wildbeest

Wildebeests Running in Maasai MaraKnown as the 'greatest show on earth' the annual migration of up to one and a half million animals between the dry plains of Tanzania and the lush grasslands of Kenya (and back again) has featured as an annual event on Earth's calendar for the past two million years. And it's still as extraordinary, enlightening and exciting an event as ever.

Taking place around the months of August and September the migration is a spectacle, both comic and tragic, that features the epic journey of vast herds of wildebeest between the grasslands of Kenya and Tanzania - flanked by a carnival of other herbivores and stalked by a ruthless pack of predators.

As a vivid portrayal of the violence of the concept, 'survival of the fittest', this is a spectacle, not always for the faint-hearted, that goes beyond memorable and into momentous.

The Maasai Mara Landscape

Maasai Mara Landscape The Mara is a beautiful but sensitive environment that can survive only if properly respected. Well-watered by the Mara River, enjoying abundant vegetation, wildlife and rainfall, its ecology would appear, at first sight, to be relatively resilient. It also appears to have withstood the erosive effects of huge numbers of visiting tourists extraordinarily well.

There are signs, however, that the delicate balance between tourist numbers and wildlife populations cannot be properly maintained for much longer as evidenced by the reduction in the protective vegetation cover and the emergence of a series of dust bowls.

Meanwhile, the Reserve is host to 95 species of mammals, amphibians and other reptiles and 485 species of birds. During the dry season (July to October) it also hosts a major concentration of migratory herbivores including about 250,000 zebra and 1.3 million wildebeest. Amongst the list of easy-to-view species are: gazelle, elephant, topi, buffalo, lion (Kenya's largest population), black rhino, hippo, hyena, giraffe, leopard and mongoose.

The Maasai People

Maasai PeopleAs its name would suggest the Maasai Mara is the home of the tabled Maasai peoples. Often strikingly tall and slender, swathed in brilliant red cloth 'Shukas', hung about with beads and metal jewellery, the young men (Moran) favour long, plaited, ochre-daubed hairstyles and have a formidable reputation for glamour, prowess and ferocity.

Traditionally the Maasai live off the milk and blood of their beloved cattle and believe that a!! the world's cattle are theirs by God-given right. Their nomadic and pastoral lifestyle, though historically based on the pursuit of the migratory wildlife, is slowly changing thanks to a combination of education, Maasai MPs, votes, favourable new laws, projects, jobs and cash.

Climate: The coast is always hot with an average daytime temperature of 27-31 degrees centigrade whilst the average daytime temperature in Nairobi is 21-26 degrees centigrade. Temperatures elsewhere depend on altitude. July to August marks the Kenyan winter. Broadly speaking, January-February is dry. March-May is wet, June-September is dry. October-December is wet. South Western Kenya is the heartland of the Maasai.

Baby Hippo & Mother - Maasai MaraThe Maasai are a strongly independent people who still value tradition and ritual as an integral part of their everyday lives. They regard themselves not just as residents of this area but that they are as much a part of the life of the land as the land is part of their lives.

Traditionally, the Maasai rarely hunt and living alongside wildlife in harmony is an important part of their beliefs. Lions and Wildebeest play as important a role in their cultural beliefs as their own herds of cattle. This unique co-existence of man and wildlife makes this Maasai land one of the world's most unique wilderness regions.

At the heart of these lands is the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, widely considered to be Africa's greatest wildlife reserve. The Mara comprises 200 sq miles of open plains, woodlands and riverine forest. Contiguous with the plains of the Serengeti, the Mara is home to a breathtaking array of life. The vast grassland plains are scattered with herds of Zebra, Giraffe, Gazelle, and Topi. The Acacia forests abound with Birdlife and Monkeys. Elephants and Buffalo wallow in the wide Musiara Swamp. The Mara and Talek rivers are brimming with Hippos and Crocodiles.

Lion Family - Maasai MaraEach year the Mara plays host to the world's greatest natural spectacle, the Great Wildebeest Migration from the Serengeti. From July to October, 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. They pour across the border into the Mara, making a spectacular entrance in a surging column of life that stretches from horizon to horizon.

At the Mara River they mass together on the banks before finally plunging forward through the raging waters, creating a frenzy as they fight against swift currents and waiting crocodiles.

The wildebeest bring new life to the Mara, not just through their cycle of regeneration of the grasslands, but for the predators who follow the herds. The Mara has been called the Kingdom of Lions and these regal and powerful hunters dominate these grasslands. Cheetahs are also a common sight In the Mara, as are Hyena and smaller predators such as Jackals.

Elephant Family - Maasai MaraThe Mara is an awesome natural wonder, a place where Maasai warriors share the plains with hunting lions, a place of mighty herds and timeless cycles of life, death and regeneration.

The Mara is probably the best serviced of all Kenyan Parks and Reserves with a wide range of accommodation for any budget. The Reserve is a popular attraction with Safari operators.

The reserve is ideal for game drives, and some lodges and camps offer walks and balloon safaris.

Wildlife moves freely in and out of the reserve and through neighbouring Maasai lands. Outside the boundaries of the reserve there are many other small camps and lodges, some of which offer walking, horse riding and other safari options. The Loita Hills and the Nguruman Escarpment, both considered sacred to the Maasai, offer high forest trekking opportunities for the adventurous traveler.

Maasai Mara Accommodation

Fig Tree Camp | Main Governor's Camp | Little Governor's II | Governors Il Moran Camp | Keekorok Lodge | Kichwa Tembo | Mara Camp | Mara Intrepids Club | Mara Serena | Mara Simba Lodge | Mara Sopa | Sarova Mara | Voyager Safari Lodge | Livingstone Camp | Barteleur Luxury Camp | Mara Safari Club | Rekero Luxury Camp | Mara Bush Tops Camp | Mara Exporer Camp | Richards Camp | Karen Blixen Camp | Kicheche Camp | Ol Seki Mara Camp | Porini Lion Camp | Olonana Camp | Offbeat Mara Camp | Saruni Camp | Naibor Camp | Cottars 1920s |

 

Feedback From Clients

Michael Palmer


Hi Davies, I didn't think it was possible, but the second time was even more fun!! We were treated like royalty at (Governors) Il Moran. There was a wonderful farewell celebration on our last night - with a beautiful cake and entertainment. I made new friends at Il Moran (my family continues to grow) and I will certainly miss them all. I think we have created new fans and the rest of the group will surely return. Thanks for your help. Look forward to planning the next trip to Il Moran!

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