THE MASAI MARA
The Masai Mara Game Reserve
The Masai Mara is known as one of Africa’s greatest wildlife reserves, situated in southwest Kenya. It is named in honour of the Masai people (the ancestral inhabitants of the area) and their description of the area when looked at from afar: “Mara,” which is Maa (Masai language) for “spotted,” an apt description for the circles of trees, scrub, savanna, and cloud shadows that mark the area.
The Masai Mara National Reserve is famous for the abundance of big cats – lion, leopard and cheetah – the Great Wildebeest Migration and the Masai people. With an area of more than 1.500 km2, stretching over large open grasslands and acacia forests, the Masai Mara offers the opportunity to view some of the worlds most ancient and most threatened creatures. Over 95 species of mammals and 570 species of birds can be seen in this magnificent national reserve.
Geographically the Masai Mara Ecosystem is part of the great Lake Victoria It is bounded by the Serengeti Park to the south, the Siria escarpment to the west, and Masai pastoral ranches to the north, east and west. Rainfall in the ecosystem increases markedly along a southeast–northwest gradient, varies in space and time, and is markedly bimodal. The Sand, Talek River and Mara River are the major rivers draining the reserve. Shrubs and trees fringe most drainage lines and cover hillslopes and hilltops.