Masai Mara Game Reserve (Masai masai mara national reserve)is known as the jewel of Kenya’s wildlife viewing area and it has marked its way to the list of the most visited destinations in Kenya due to is bio diversity exhibited in almost all parts of the reserve. Masai mara reserve is located in the great rift valley of Africa which is majorly an open grassland with a unique concentration of wildlife. The biggest wildlife concentration is found in the western escarpment of the masai mara reserve.
The magnificent Masai Mara National Reserve covers about 1,510 sq.km of some part in south-western Kenya. It is found in the extreme northern section of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem; mara – Serengeti ecosystem covers an area of about 25,000sq.km of some part of north Tanzania and southern Kenya. Masai mara is bordered by the famous Serengeti Park in the south, the Siri escarpment in the west, and the spectacular Maasai pastoral ranches which border masai mara in the north east and the west.
Brief history about masai mara game reserve
Masai mara game reserve was established in 1961 as a wildlife sanctuary and it only covered 520 sq.km, also the mara triangle was included there in. over a period of time, masai mara was extended to the east and in then sat on a land of 1821sq.km large in 1994; this is the time when masai mara was converted into a game reserve.
During this period, masai mara was put under the watchcare and control of narok county council. However, the expansion of masai mara national park consumed the farming land for the local people. So, in 1994, part of masai mara game reserve was given back to the local community, about 159 sq.km.
During the same year, also a new county was formed called, Trans mara county council in the west, so, the management of masai mara was divided between narok and trans mara county council. Despite, the management of masai mara reserve still went through several transitions and in 2001, it was given to the non-profit organization called the mara conservancy; it also took over the mara triangle.
But despite, masai mara reserve has managed to survive over a long period of time and replenished itself over and over again, allowing the conservation programs move on to this present date.
Climate of masai mara
Masai mara receives rainfall annually, about 83 mm in a month and it increases markedly along a southeast–northwest side of the reserve. The rainy season in mara game reserve is experienced from November through May with the peak season having the highest rainfall records and also expected more frequent than in the low season. Masai mara experiences the dry season in june to early November characterized with bright and sunny mornings, the clouds however build up in the afternoon and in the evening. Masai mara game reserve experience high temperatures up to 30 degrees Celsius and the lowest temperatures around 20 degrees Celsius annually.
Besides the rainfall, masai mara is drained by Talek River and Mara River, as its major drainage channels. A lot of lush vegetation is found near the water sources, the hill slopes and foothills as well as valleys. A lot of wildlife is easily found near the water sources in the dry season, this makes game viewing easier because you can spot quite a number of animals in on spot. To note, the wet season presents masai mara with verdant vegetation and blossoming flowers on the undulating hills. However, despite the beauty of the wet season in masai mara national park, the visitor activities like game drives and ballooning are best done in the dry season; it is also the peak season of tourists in kenya and other parts of east Africa.
Spatial distribution of masai mara game reserve
Masai mara game reserve is mainly dominated by savannah grasslands. However, the savannah grassland is mixed with acacia trees in the south east of mara game reserve. The western border of masai mara is where you find the spectacular Esoit (Siria) Escarpment of the great east African rift valley; it stretches from Ethiopia’s Red Sea through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and into Mozambique. There is a lot of wildlife here because of the presence of water bodies, game drives here are always worthy it. The extreme eastern border of masai mara game reserve, is 224 kilometers away from Nairobi; this is the most visited area of masai mara since it is nearest of Nairobi city.
Wildlife of masai mara
Masai mara is a real deal for you to see almost all of the African game in just a glimpse, this is because masai mara is one of the bio diverse areas in east Africa and, perhaps, Africa as a whole. The mara is significant for its wide range of unique selection of wildlife with over 90 species of mammals, amphibians, reptiles and over 400 bird species are recorded. In masai mara you are able to experience full excitement of the big five experience.
Masai mara game reserve, just like serengeti national park, experiences the annual migration of the wildebeests. It attracts a lot of visitors to the game reserve. In masai mara game reserve, you have 100% chances to see cheetahs, hyena, bat- eared foxes, black backed and side- striped jackals, serval cats, hippos, crocodiles, warthogs, topis, ellands, thomson’s gazelles, giant gazelles, impala, waterbucks, oribis, reed-bucks, and zebras. These can easily be found in the savannah plains of masai mara, and you have a full opportunity to see all these during the game reserve in masai mara.
Masai mara national park is a real deal for you to see the big five of Africa at a glance; masai mara national park has quite a number of buffalo herds, elephants also stay in the thickets of the game reserve. The game reserve also has a reasonable population of the critically endangered species of rhinos; they are nearing their extinction edge due to poaching for ivory.
Masai mara game reserve is a real opportunity for you and your friends to see the African lions; they are mainly seen in the savannah plains, and leopards can be seen in the thickets during the game drive in masai mara game reserve. In the forested area of masai mara game reserve, you can fine quite a number of primates like the olive baboons and a monkeys.
Access to masi mara game reserve
Masai mara game reserve is 270 km from Nairobi, and it is 4-5 hours or 40-45 minutes when using a flight; kenya airways is a charter which operates domestic flights to game parks in kenya. Masai mara game reserve is accessible by the all-weather air strips one in mara serena and another in kichwa tembo. Also the main road in the mara triangle, it passes through narok and sekenani gate. Other roads include lamek and aitong, however it is somehow dumpy, however, passable.