Masai | Maasai Mara | National Park
Maasai Mara National Reserve PDF Print E-mail

 

It is viewed as Kenya’s most spectacular wildlife reserve. With a vast wilderness stretching out to over 1500 square kilometers, the park is home to an abundant array of wildlife.

 

The rain that falls on this great park is pretty much spread out through the year, ensuring the sustenance of the large number of game that frequent the park.

The Mara reserve offers the rarest of moments to see the cycle of life come full circle: The lush green vegetation nourishes the park’s numerous herbivores such as the gazelles, zebras, antelopes and giraffes; the herbivores on the other hand become a source of life for the many predators that roam the park. This includes the big cats such as lion, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas and many more. On a lucky day, you can get a chance to catch live action as a coalition of cheetahs take down gazelles, or see a pride of lion hungrily feasting on their latest catch.

It takes roughly 4 hours to cover the 270 kilometers from the capital city, Nairobi, to the Mara reserve by road, and less than half an hour by flight.

The area around the park is home to one of Africa’s well known communities; the Maasai (hence the park’s name).The community famous for its colorful fashion, culture and age old tradition, is an additional beauty to the park. These beautiful people with their love for nature, have found a way over the years of co-existing with the wildlife in the park. Visitors therefore not only get to view the spectacular wildlife, but also get a taste of the culture and traditions of Kenya’s most popular community.

Another great spectacle found in the park is the 7th wonder of the world; the great WILDEBEEST MIGRATION. Every year, between the months of June and July, the wildebeest begin their long trek from the Serengeti in Tanzania. More than half a million of these wildebeest make their way into the Maasai Mara, where fresh grass blooms. An important fact to note is that wildebeest are the only animals capable of controlling their births simultaneously to within a period of 2-3 weeks. Their migration therefore ensures that their young ones have enough food and water for survival.

The spectacular part of this great journey is always centered on the Mara River
.This is where the wildebeest, and occasional zebras, huddle in their thousands on one side of the river; their sounds filling the African air. Inside the river, large crocodiles lay in wait. For a moment, the wildebeest seem to hesitate, each anxious to cross, but for some reason, none making a move. Then suddenly, one brave wildebeest steps forth and takes the first plunge into the muddy waters of the Mara River. This sets off a stampede, with each animal for itself, swimming and fighting to get to the other side. The crocodiles rush in for the kill, not wanting to waste this golden opportunity;sought of like the proverbial ‘manna from heaven’.

Many wildebeest lose their lives by drowning and others from the teeth of the hungry crocodiles. And still, some unlucky few that manage to cross the Mara River end up being a meal to the big cats and hyenas that lay ambush on the other side. For the other thousands that escape this ordeal, it’s a time to feast and enjoy their stay at the Maasai Mara reserve, for once the grass is depleted, they will have to make their way back to the Serengeti.
Lucky visitors to the park can catch a glimpse of this great wonder in the comfort of their tour vans parked beside the Mara River.

Another great way to experience the beauty of the Maasai Mara is on a hot air balloon. This takes place in the morning and is a great and faster way to view the park, right to the outer most regions. The great view from the top together with the majestic African sun rising up in the horizon combine to make this an unforgettable journey.

 

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(c) www.maasai.co.ke
 

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University of Nairobi