The Magnificent Maasai Mara of Kenya

The very name Maasai Mara conjures up images of a great plain that is filled with great masses of migrating beasts, and of the predators who hunt them, and the scavengers that feed on the scraps.

The Maasai Mara does indeed have a reputation for being Africa’s greatest wildlife reserve, and it is truly mighty, the continent of Africa itself is so wonderfully diverse that to label anything there as the greatest may be doing the continent a complete disservice.

Even so, the Maasai Mara National Reserve is truly outstanding because of the both variety of wildlife and sheer numbers of creatures that can be seen there, including 95 species of animals and 570 different types of birds.

Located in south west Kenya, about 270 kilometres from its capital Nairobi, the reserve takes its name from the Maasai people, the traditional inhabitants of the region.

The reserve becomes most crowded in June each year as an estimated half a million wildebeest complete their migration from the Serengeti in Tanzania, and are joined by another 100,000 who have moved to the reserve from the Loita Hills in the east.

The wildebeest are joined by great herds of zebra and Thomsons Gazelle, so that about two million beasts graze there each season. Given the nature of the landscape, which consists of low, rolling landscape, the viewing potential is brilliant, and visitors flock to the reserve from around the world to witness such a phenomenal natural event.

Importantly, all members of Africa’s Big Five: lion, leopard, African elephant, African buffalo and Black rhinoceros are found on the reserve as well as cheetahs, hyenas and jackals with hippopotami and Nile crocodiles lurking in the rivers and waterways.

Visitors are welcome to the Maasai Mara, particularly as park fees raise a good deal of foreign currency for the Kenyan government, and visitors are generally well catered for.

There are many camps and lodges situated within the reserve, with the level of comfort and facilities determined by cost. At many of these camps glamping, which is luxurious camping, is practised. Even though you may be sleeping in a tent, food, furnishings and service is of the highest standard.

Participation in cultural activities with the Maasai people is also an option. Another excellent experience is to take an early morning hot air balloon flight to watch the sun as it rises over the breathtaking Maasai Mara landscape, and as you float over the reserve you can better appreciate from watching the myriad of creatures below just how abundant and wonderful this place really is.

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