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Masai Mara National Reserve


Located in the southwest of Kenya, the Masai Mara National Reserve (Maasai Mara) is regarded as the favourite and most popular reserve for going on safari in Kenya, with over 140,000 visitors per year.

The reserve lies approx 270km west of Nairobi and covers an area of approximately 1,510 sq km, bordering with the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The landscape is mostly open Savannah grasslands and acacia scrubland.

The wildbeest migration starts any time from late July when the wildebeest follow the rains and head towards the wide open grasslands of what has become known as "the Mara" for grazing. They are accompanied by Zebra and Thomson's gazelle. The migration may be late but the wildebeest will always make the trip, driven by dry conditions in the Serengeti and led by the lightning and thunder to the north. Come November they start the homeward leg, bound again for the Serengeti.

The Masai Mara is renowned for it's large population of lion but other animals such as hippo, crocodile and vultures are in abundance during the Great Migration as they prey on the weak and young migrating animals. Other game to be found in the Masai Mara at any time of the year include elephants, cheetahs, baboons, gazelles, giraffes, jackals, leopards, hyenas, water buffalo, ostriches, and a large variety of antelope and birdlife. The Masai Mara also has over 450 species of birdlife of which more than 50 species are Raptors

The western side in the Great African Rift Valley is where the wildlife is more concentrated, due to water being plentiful and the region being less visited by tourists. The Eastern side is much closer to Nairobi and therefore more popular with tourists on Masai Mara safari.

The road conditions to and in the Masai Mara are generally poor. It can take 6+ hours to reach the park, longer during the raining season. Many visitors who are limited on time choose to fly-in. There is a network of roads throughout the park and side tracks crossing from one to another. During the raining season many of the side roads will be impassable.

A very popular activity in the Masai Mara is a Balloon Safari a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The open savannah plains give a great opportunity to see so many of the animals from the air in peace and serenty and the panoramic scenery is absolutely breathtaking.

The whole Reserve offers very good wildlife viewing at all times of the year but the best time to visit the Masai Mara is July to October, when the annual migration of wildebeests, zebras and gazelles roams these grounds, but wildlife viewing is excellent year round.

There are a number of lodges and tented camps for visitors located inside the Reserve and in the Conservation area around the reserve.

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