Maasai Mara National Reserve
The Maasai Mara national reserve is one of the most visited reserves in Kenya. The Reserve is situated in the Mara region. It is situated in the South western part of Kenya near the Tanzanian-Kenya border. The park was named after the Maasai people who inhabit the surrounding areas. The park forms one of the most diverse ecosystems that attract millions of tourist every year to Africa. The park is very close to Serengeti national park, the oldest and one of the visited parks in Tanzania; the Mara region is known for the great migration where millions of wildebeest, thousands of Thomson’s gazelles, Topis, elands and zebras are seen crossing from Serengeti National park to Maasai Mara in search of the green pastures. This wonderful wild event is known to occur around July to October. The park is accessible and it takes about 6 hours to drive from Nairobi to the Maasai Mara, a distance which is approximated to be around 280km. By air, there are about 3 airstrips that serve the reserve and it only takes 45-50 minutes to fly from Nairobi to Maasai Mara National reserve. These airstrips are Keekorok, Olkiombo, and Musiara. The park is open all year round however the best time to visit is during the month of July to August when the great migration takes place.
There are so many attractions that can allure you to the Maasai Mara national reserve:
The park is home to the big five-Elephants, lions, Leopards, Rhinos, and Buffaloes. There are other concentration of wildlife species like hartebeest, hyenas, antelopes, Maasai giraffes, warthogs,crocodiles, Oribi, hippopotamus, East African cheetah, and so many others. These species are been seen during the game drive. The most remarkable encounter is the great migration where millions of wildebeest and thousands of Thomson’s gazelles, Topis, zebras, and Elands cross to the reserve in search of water and pasture. Mara River and Talek River contribute a lot the water system within the park which is one of the reasons why the park is populated with wildlife.
Bird watching is common within the reserve,there are over 470 species of birds which have been recorded within the park and some of these species are migratory. However popular bird species that stay within the park for the most part of the year include lilac-breasted rollers-this is the national bird of Kenya, ostriches, secretary birds, vultures, crowned cranes, hornbills, Marabou storks and others.
Visiting the local communities
The Maasai people are one of the best known ethnic groups in Kenya. The Maasai are reside around the Mara region where the reserve is situated and taking a simple visit to their communities under the guidance of the Maasai warrior gives a better understanding of their cultural values.