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Masai Mara Game Reserve

Masai Mara Game Reserve  ( Migration in July - October )                                       
Covering an area of over 1,500 square km, the Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Kenya. The reserve is located in the Great Rift Valley in primarily open grassland. Wildlife tends to be most concentrated on the reserve’s western escarpment. The Masai Mara Game Reserve is one of the best known and most spectacular reserves in the whole of Africa. At certain times of the year, during the big migration, places can get a little bit overcrowded with tourist minibuses. Safari travellers, writers, photographer and documentary film makers, often conclude that the Masai Mara is one of their favourite places. Perhaps it is because of the 'big open skies', the open savannahs and the abundance of wildlife.


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Masai Mara Game Reserve                                     
Wildebeest, zebra and Thomson's gazelle migrate into and occupy the Mara reserve from the Serengeti plains to the south and Loita plains in the pastoral ranches to the north-east from July to October or later. Herds of all three species are also resident in the reserve. All members of the "Big Five" are found in the Masai Mara, although the population of black rhinoceros is severely threatened, with a population of only 37 recorded in 2000. Hippopotami are found in large groups in the Masai Mara and Talek rivers. Cheetah are also found, although their numbers are also threatened, chiefly due to tourist disruption of their daytime hunting. As mentioned above, the plains between the Mara River and the Esoit Oloololo Escarpment are probably the best area for game viewing, in particular regarding lion and cheetah.

As in the Serengeti, the wildebeest are the dominant inhabitants of the Masai Mara, and their numbers are estimated in the millions. Around July of each year these ungainly animals migrate in a vast ensemble north from the Serengeti plains in search of fresh pasture, and return to the south around October. The Great Migration is one of the most impressive natural events worldwide, involving an immensity of herbivores some 1,300,000 wildebeests, 360,000 Thomson's gazelles, and 191,000 zebras. These numerous migrants are followed along their annual, circular route by a block of hungry predators, most notably lions and hyena.

Numerous other antelopes can be found, including Thomson's and Grant's gazelles, impalas, topis and Coke's hartebeests. Large herds of zebra are found through the reserve. The plains are also home to the distinctive Masai giraffe as well as the common giraffe. The large Roan antelope and the nocturnal bat-eared fox, rarely present elsewhere in Kenya, can be seen within the reserve borders. The Masai Mara is a major research centre for the spotted hyena. Additionally, over 450 species of birdlife have been identified in the park, including vultures, marabou storks, secretary birds, hornbills, crowned cranes, ostriches, long-crested Eagles, and African pygmy-falcons.

The swampy land provides more access to water and less access to tourists. The eastern end is closest to Nairobi and hence easier to access by tourists. The Masai Mara is regarded as the jewel of Kenya’s wildlife viewing areas. The annual wildebeests migration alone involves over 1.5 million animals arriving in July and departing in November.

There have been some 95 species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles and over 400 birds species recorded on the reserve. Nowhere in Africa is wildlife more abundant, and it is for this reason a visitor hardly misses to see the big five (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and rhino). Other game include hippopotami, cheetah, Grant’s gazelle, impala, topi, Coke’s hartebeest, giraffe, Roan antelope and the nocturnal bat-eared fox. However wildebeest are by far the dominant inhabitants of the Masai Mara.

Migration
Their numbers are estimated in the millions. The Great Migration starts in July each year when well over one million wildebeest along with large numbers of Thompson’s Gazelle, zebra and other herbivores migrate from the Serengeti plains in Tanzania to fresh pastures in the north and then back south again in October.

Masai Mara Attractions
Wildlife 95 species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles and over 400 birds species have been recorded including annual wildebeests migration involving over 1.5 million animals.

Getting to Masai Mara
Main roads are all weather. Game viewing trucks can only be used by four wheel drives during the rainy season. The main road from Mai mahiu to Narok is currently under construction.
Three airstrips serve the Mara:- Keekorok, Olkiombo, and Musiara all of them murramed.