What is the Masai Mara

One of Kenya’s national parks and game reserves, the Masai Mara National Reserve has managed to cut itself a niche in the international scene as being among the Wonders of the Modern World. The Masai Mara National Reserve is located on the southern Masai plains, which is home to the Masai people of Kenya, bordering the southern country of Tanzania.

Started as a one of the government’s efforts to conserve wildlife, the Masai Mara has over the years witnessed an upsurge in the number of tourists both domestic and international who visit to enjoy the realities of nature and catching a glimpse of the Kenya’s Big Five: the lion, the leopard, the buffalo, the elephant and the rhino.

With fresh water rivers flowing through the park, the greatest being the Mara River, the park has an assortment of bird and animal species with a consistent growth of Savannah vegetation consisting of tall grass, scattered thickets and the thorny acacia trees.

At the Masai Mara National Reserve, one can behold the largest population of carnivores in the country including the dauntless lion, the supersonic cheetah, the conniving leopard, and both breeds of the malevolent hyena. Smaller carnivores such as the jackal, the wild dog, can be seen rummaging through the thickets in search of a kill. Large herds of different herbivore species are a common scenario in the vast flat terrains on which the Masai Mara sits on. These herbivores include the unperturbed buffaloes, the mighty elephants, the swift and elegant antelopes, the multicoloured zebra and the unsightly wildebeest among others.

The Masai Mara National Reserve came into the limelight due to the enthralling wildebeest migration that occurs annually starting July. This has become a sight to behold and during this period, the number of awe-stricken visitors almost equals the number of animals which is usually about a million and over. The exceptional migration which is triggered by natural instincts occurs as the herbivores move further south into the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania in search of better pastures.

Crossing the Mara River is the appalling part of this great exodus. At this point, the herbivores have to dexterously swim across the raging waters of the river which at the time is usually at the verge of busting its banks, without encountering the shrewd crocodiles that float in delirious anticipation of a meal. This is whole natural orchestration is what drives visitors to the park berserk given that they do not get to have such moments on a daily basis. It also greatly appeals to nature lovers who get a perfect opportunity to document and take millions of photographs and video recordings.

Besides the tremendous wildebeest migration, one can not miss to associate the Masai Mara National Reserve with the all time favourite wild life television documentary on carnivores; the Big Cat Diary. The documentary which is shot in the heart of the Masai Mara National Reserve greatly draws its inspiration from the day to day activities of the different carnivore species that speckle the Masai Mara’s flat terrain.

The Masai Mara National Reserve has also been adorned with accommodation facilities such as lodges and tented camps that are up to the finest taste of style and quality. Sites for those who love setting up campsites are also available.

It is with unquestionably accurate to say that the Masai Mara National Reserve is an arena for nature’s drama and art all together.

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By: Amar Shah

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