No visit to an African country is complete without visiting a wildlife park. In Kenya, the Masai Mara National Reserve is the premier wildlife park. Established in 1961 by the country to protect the wildlife from hunters, animals are abound in this natural park.
The park is located in southwestern Kenya on the border of Tanzania. The Mara River flows through the reserve north to south and plays host to hippos and crocodiles who make their annual migration with over a million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebras. During the wet months (November to June), Masai Mara’s plush grassland is revitalized. The border of the Mara River is heavily forested and is home to several species of birds.
Considering it is Kenya’s most popular game park, it is relatively small. However, the park hosts an amazing concentration of wildlife including lions, cheetahs, hyenas, giraffes, impalas, wildebeests, topis, baboons, warthogs, buffaloes, zebras and many more.
The reserve has no fencing, allowing for the animals to roam free as if in the complete wild. The Masai tribe in 2005 vacated the land adjacent to the reserve after conservationist Jake Grieves-Cook offered to lease it from them. It is now dense grassland overflowing with wildlife.
Things To Do In And Around The Masai Mara Reserve
- Game Drives: It is highly recommended you take an askari or guard with you.
- Walking Safaris: The best ones are found outside the reserve boundaries.
- Cultural Tours with the Maasai: Visit a Maasai village and learn about their culture and lifestyle.
- Hot Air Ballooning: A popular pastime, while expensive it is a unique experience.
Getting to Masai Mara
The Masai Mara Reserve is 168 miles from Kenya’s capital Nairobi. The trip will take at least 6 hours by car and should not be attempted unless you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle. It is also best to avoid travel during the rainy season as sections of the roads become completely impassable. Many people choose to fly to Masai Mara, however this option can be quite expensive and you may miss out on some of the adventures of traveling to this very remote sections of Africa.