Maasai Mara National Reserve Guide

As an expert local Maasai Mara travel guide, I highly recommend anyone looking for an unforgettable safari experience visit the Maasai Mara. As a Maasai myself, I will occasionally refer to the Maasai Mara Reserve as the ‘Maasai land’ or ‘our land’. It is worth highlighting that the Maasai or the Maa community had pioneered a community-driven conservation approach to wildlife and tourism, going beyond the Kenyan government’s administrative framework.

What is the Maasai mara national reserve?

Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR) is an expansive tract of land reserved or set aside for wildlife in line with the CBD convention that Kenya ratified in 1992 after it was passed in the Rio CoP 7 Convention. As a game reserve, the land itself is not fenced as national parks are but is protected in that wildlife in the expansive 1500 sq km land is given precedence over any human activities.

The MMNR is part of the larger Mara ecosystem that is composed of the reserve and the adjacent conservancies, group ranches, and other community lands. It is also part of the greater Serengeti-Mara ecosystem which includes parts of Tanzania.

Mara Map:

Below is a map by Mara North Conservancy with all the regions that make up the Greater Maasai Mara Ecosystem.

This is a map of Maasai Mara National Reserve showing the neighbouring conservancies such as Siana, Olkinyei, Lemek, Mara North and others.
A map of Maasai Mara National Reserve. Credit: Maranorth.org.

Basecamp Foundation developed another map of Maasai Mara Reserve showing all jurisdictions or boundaries of different conservancies;

Image credit: Basecamp Foundation

How Mara conservation has thrived:

In 1992, Kenya endorsed the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) – initially proposed by the World Commission on Environment and Development. At CoP 7 in Rio de Janeiro, representatives from all nations agreed to create eco-friendly protected areas that could defend biodiversity against degradation. The CBD is essential for conserving species diversity due to its proactive approach as a result of worldwide environmental awareness post-Earth Summit.

According to a 2019 Study, an estimated 14% of the global land territory is now under protected area status. Kenya has 8% of its land devoted to wildlife protection and 0.5% to marine protected areas – which is more than countries such as South Africa (6.1%), Mauritius (3.3%), Egypt (5.6%), and India (5.3%). However, it falls short when compared with other East African nations like Tanzania (42.4%), Uganda (32.6%) and the rest of the developing countries like Zambia (40%), Botswana (30.9%) and Malaysia (30.7%

Kenya’s protected areas are predominately located in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) were pastoralism and farming activities reign, yet productivity is often reduced due to the unpredictable weather conditions. To improve well-being amongst the local populations while simultaneously motivating them to preserve biodiversity, equitably sharing benefits from conservation initiatives are seen as a viable solution.

Read about the Mara Conservatives here.

Interested to know the difference between a National Reserve and a Conservancy? Read this guide.

Where is Masai mara national reserve located?

Let me first tell you where Mara is located with respect to Nairobi and the overall map of Kenya.

Mara is located in the southwest of Nairobi, and to get there one needs to drive from Nairobi for approximately 6 hours or fly for an hour. The Maasai Mara is one of the largest game reserves in Kenya, located on the northern edge of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. It extends to most parts of Narok County towards the Bomet and Nyamira Counties’ borders to the northwest. It also extends southwards to the Tanzanian border.

The distance from Nairobi to Mara is roughly 250 miles (400 km) and there is one main road to get you there via Nairobi-Bomet Road but you take the right at the main junction in Narok and head Eastwards towards Sekenani Gate.

The Maasai Mara National Reserve is located in Narok County, Kenya and covers an area of about 1,510 km2 (579 sq mi). It is bordered by the Serengeti National Park to the south and the Loita Hills to the east. The Mara River winds its way through this vast savanna grassland, providing water and life for the wildlife that call it home. The terrain is mostly flat, with some hills and outcrops scattered throughout the landscape. This allows for excellent views of the surrounding area, which often includes herds of wildebeest, zebra, gazelles, buffaloes, elephants, hippos and other large mammals.

Spanning across East-West longitudes of 34°45’ and 35°25’, as well as North-South latitudes of 1°13’ and 1°45 South (as demonstrated in Figure 1), Maasai Mara National Reserve was inaugurated in 1948. It is part of the larger Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem that encompasses 25,000 km2 including renowned sites such as Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area located within Tanzania’s borders.

Covering barely 10 percent of the colossal, interconnected Mara ecosystem that spans both Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve and Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, the area referred to simply as ‘the Mara’ is a remarkable destination.

To give you a perspective of where Mara is in respect to Nairobi and other locations in Kenya, the reserve is located approximately 270 km (170 mi) southwest of the capital city, Nairobi. It takes about five hours to drive there from Nairobi, but an alternative option is to take a direct flight to one of the Maasai Mara airstrips.

The location of this reserve in ASAL area receiving no more than 1.5 inches of rainfall per month has been a major contributing factor to the success of Mara conservation. The area is relatively inaccessible and hence hard to poach or encroach upon. Furthermore, its location in the Mara River basin has been beneficial as it provides water for wildlife and attracts large numbers of animals, making it an excellent destination for safaris. This coupled with the wide-open savanna grassland allows for a great wildlife viewing experience.

How the community coexists with animals:

The Maasai are a semi-nomadic pastoralist community that has coexisted with the wildlife in the Mara for centuries. Over the years, they have developed sophisticated strategies to accommodate their own needs while preserving the environment and allowing animals to thrive.

One way they do this is by practicing traditional livestock grazing techniques such as rotational grazing. This type of grazing allows cows to access fresh vegetation while not overgrazing a particular area, which helps maintain the grassland’s health. The Maasai have also developed ways to protect their livestock from predators such as lions, by building bomas (enclosures) out of thick thorns and keeping watch over their herds.

Over the past few years, there have been cases of animals attacking livestock, leading to conflicts between the Maasai and the wildlife. To help manage these conflicts, conservation organizations are working with local communities to develop strategies such as livestock insurance schemes and alternative livelihoods. These initiatives allow communities to benefit from tourism while protecting their environment.

As the land conflict between the Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association (MMWCA) and a few livestock farmers intensifies, occurrences like these are beginning to happen more often. Over the past year, this dispute has only escalated as both sides attempt to claim their rights over this land. Read this 2019 by Aljazeera highlighting the issue.

You can also check out this feature by the Guardian explaining the difficult situation the Maasais are in when it comes to balancing conservation and development.

The Maasai also practice sustainable hunting, which includes taking only what they need and making sure to leave some of the prey for future generations. This helps maintain a healthy population of certain animals in the Mara while allowing them to feed their families with the meat they hunt.

Overall, the Maasai have done an admirable job of coexisting with their local wildlife and ensuring that the animals in this area are protected and thrive.

15 Fun Facts about the Masai Mara:

1. The Maasai Mara is home to the Big 5: lions, rhinos, elephants, buffaloes and leopards

2. It also houses a variety of other animals including wild dogs, cheetahs and antelopes

3. There are over 4 million animal migrations between the Serengeti and the Maasai Mara each year

4. The annual wildebeest migration between the Serengeti and the Maasai Mara is one of the seven natural wonders of Africa

5. There are over 400 different species of birds in the Maasai mara

6. The Maasai Mara game reserve has been in existence since the late 1800s

7. The Maasai people have resided in the region for centuries

8. It is one of the most visited parks in Africa with over 50,000 tourist visitors each year

9.The famous movie “Out of Africa” was filmed partially in this area

10. The Mara River and its tributary are home to large populations of hippopotami and crocodiles

11. The Mara Triangle is a section of the reserve where some of the most intense wild animal activity occurs

12. It is estimated that over 5 million different animals inhabit the Maasai Mara National Reserve

13. The Maasai Mara has been described as an “Eden” due to its beautiful landscapes and abundance of wildlife

14. The Maasai Mara National Reserve was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011

15. It is home to the Big Cats Research Project, which is dedicated to studying lion ecology and behavior

Why visit the Mara – 10 Key reasons:

The Great Migration:

Every year, millions of wildebeest and zebra make their way from the Serengeti plains in Tanzania to Mara’s lush grasslands. Watching this annual phenomenon is a must for any wildlife enthusiast. Visiting the Mara River and witnessing first-hand the wildebeest crossing in a single line will be an unforgettable experience. Because of this Wonderous phenomenon, UNESCO has recognized Maasai Mara as a World Heritage Site.

If you want to visit the Mara and catch the migration wonders, the best time to visit is between July and October. At this time, the wildebeest try to get to Kenya as the lower grasslands in the Serengeti start to dry up.

Big Cats:

The Mara is considered perhaps the only reserve/park in Kenya where you have a good chance of spotting all three big cats within a span of hours. Lions, cheetahs and leopards can all be seen in the Mara, though you may have to spend some time in search of these elusive predators. The best time to see them is in the early morning or late afternoon when they are most active.

These cats like to sleep a lot and can often be found lounging in the grass or on a tree branch. But don’t get too close – these cats are still wild animals and can become dangerous if they feel threatened.

As you journey through the Mara trails, it can be tempting to get close to one of its majestic big cats perched in a tree. However, keep this warning in mind: going offroad will cost you 10,000 Kenya Shillings (roughly $90) as an unavoidable fine!

In my article explaining big cat safari packages available, I highlighted the best locations to spot these big cats within the Reserve and in the neighboring conservancies. Lions, for example, are known to be more concentrated in the Mara North region of the Mara Triangle Conservancies. On the other hand, cheetahs and leopards are more likely to be found in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy which is situated east of the Mara Triangle.

The big cats can be sighted throughout the year but the best time is during the dry season because predators are more visible as wildlife congregates around waterholes and rivers.

As someone who was naive to assume lions were a part of the canine family, I am always enthralled and exhilarated every time I observe lion pride. Through understanding conservation efforts for these magnificent creatures, it has become apparent how human-animal conflicts have been able to steadily restore their population numbers.

I could not ascertain from internet sources what the exact number of lions in the Reserve and the neighboring conservancies are. Some sources such as Masaimara.com claim that their number is in the 850 to 900 range while others such as Governors’ Camp estimate it at 600 and The Lion Recovery Fund estimates the number to be much lower at around 500. Another 2016 Study estimated it at 420. According to Governors’ camp blog, Mara is home to 600 out of the 3,600 –lions in the Greater Maasai Mara Ecosystem (GMME). This translates to about 17% of the total lion population in the GMME. Whatever the number, Mara Reserve is considered to have the highest concentration of lions, followed by Laikipia.

This 2016 article explains why it is difficult to estimate lion population and how scientists are getting around the issue.

Although this population of lions is thought to be relatively stable, the numbers have dropped significantly over time. Ogutu & Dublin (1999) estimated that there were 447 lions above 1 year old in the reserve from 1990-1992, but a report by Stephanie Dloniak found only 269 such animals in 2005.

Considering a global lion population of 23,000 to 39000, even the 500 figure represents a significant concentration of lions – in percentage terms, it is a whopping 2 to 3 percent of the global population as per this blog called living with the lions.

This blog estimates that there is only 18 pride of lions in the entire reserve and surrounding conservancies. Lions generally reside in groups of 15 to 20, including three males, various adult females (with one dominant), and juveniles and cubs. Typically the male’s territory extends from 20-400 square kilometers with multiple prides of female lions residing within its boundaries. Using this logic, the 18 pride translates to about 360-720 lions.

Below is an image of a single pride of lions consisting of 11 lions of varying ages.

In 2021, the National Wildlife Census revealed that only 1,160 cheetahs remain in Kenya. Unfortunately, these majestic cats have vanished from 20 countries and exist now in just 17% of their original habitats.

In 2016, a Report exposed the catastrophic decrease of global cheetah population by over 90% in the last century. Thus, to help protect them from extinction, The Mara Cheetah Project was set up by Kenya Wildlife Trust in June of that year. Read the entire story here.

There are some safari packages tailored to big cats. Read more here.

Birdlife:

The Maasai Mara National Reserve is a paradise for birdwatchers. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded in the area including vultures, eagles, geese, and flamingos.

If you’re looking to explore Mara’s birds in depth, try to plan your trip during the dry season (July to October). This is when bird populations reach their peak due to the abundance of food and water sources in the reserve.

During October to March period, birds from Europe migrate to Mara in search of the sun. Species such as Grey-headed Kingfisher, Marsh Sandpiper, and African Spoonbill can be seen around this time.

The wet season (April to June) is also great for bird watching as the rains draw many species from the south to nest in the reserve. Crested Larks, Emerald-spotted Wood Doves, and Brown Parrots are some of the common birds you can see during this time.

The Mara is also a great place to observe raptor species like the Black Kite, Bat Hawk, and Verreaux’s Eagle. The Paradise Flycatcher is another interesting bird that frequents the area.

Read more about Birdwatching safari packages here.

Mara’s Rivers and Lakes:

The Mara is home to meandering rivers that connect its vast savannah with scenic lakes dotted around the reserve. The Mara River, which flows through Kenya and Tanzania, is one of the most famous landmarks in the region. It’s known for its strong currents and high banks which make it perfect for viewing wildlife.

The Mara River is home to a large number of hippos and crocodiles as well as other aquatic animals including fish, frogs, water snakes and otters. This river also attracts birds like the African Openbill Stork, Marabou Stork, and Goliath Heron.

Mara boasts several lakes, such as the Talek River, Ol-Kinyei, and Nakuru Lakes. These offer a great opportunity for bird watching and wildlife spotting.

Other Wildlife:

The Mara is home to many other species of African wildlife, including elephants, buffalo, giraffes, hippos, zebras, wildebeests, gazelles, and antelopes. The Big Five (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalo) can also be seen in the Mara but require a bit of luck!

Boasting close to 90 varieties of Mammals and an abundance of avian species, Masai Mara’s vibrant ecosystem stands out as a premier destination for tourists to witness the wonders of Africa on safari. From around the globe, travelers come to be immersed in this diverse natural environment filled with unparalleled wildlife. Check out this website with the entire mammal list you can expect in the Mara.

You’ll also find many smaller animals like hyenas, jackals, mongooses and various species of monkeys. The endangered Rothschild’s giraffe is one of the rarer creatures that call the Mara home.

As estimated by UNESCO, the Greater Mara ecosystem is home to a variety of wildlife. The main herds are composed of 2 million wildebeests, 900,000 Thomson’s gazelles and 300,000 zebras; but this unique habitat also supports 7,000 elands, 27k topis}, 18k hartebeests alongside 70 thousand buffalos} 4k giraffes) 15K warthogs), 3K waterbucks) 2.7 elephants}, 500 hippos], 200 black rhinos], 10 antelope species] & 10 primates!

In addition to animals, you can also find a variety of trees, bushes, and grasses throughout the reserve. Acacias are common in the area and provide much-needed food and shelter to the animals.

Hot Air Balloon:

Whilst on safari, you can take in the breathtaking views of the Mara from a hot air balloon. Most tour operators and lodges in the Mara work with external third-party service providers and they link to them on their website. A few, however, such as Governor’s camp operate their own flights.

You get picked up in your lodge and to the location where you’ll serenade by the sunrise.

Hot air balloon safaris offer a unique perspective of the Mara, allowing you to see animals from high up in the sky and take in views of the vast landscape below.

The balloons are not actually small. They accommodate 2 to 16 people are are huge comfy baskets that can be of different sizes.

You can expect to pay anywhere from $450 to over $1000 for a single hot air balloon ride depending on the season and the type of operator you book with. A few companies such as Governors’ Camp offer packages from $1000 regardless of the season. You can, however, find some providers willing to take as low as $450. It is important to note that if you plan on visiting during peak season from July to October during the great migration you should expect to pay at least $700 per single ride. The 2023/24 rates for shoortravel.com are $455 to $515 as shown in the snapshot below;

Below are what’s usually included in the hot air balloon packages;

  • Embark on a thrilling, hour-long hot air balloon flight!
  • Safari vehicle transport from your safari camp or lodge
  • Champagne-style bush breakfast
  • Following breakfast, transport back to your camping spot for the remainder of the day.
  • Conservancy or national reserve landing fees

If you are visiting Mara during low tourism season, be on the lookout for deals. At times, you may find brokers trying to sell discounted packages at the gates to the Mara – specifically in Sekenani gate.

If you were visiting the Mara in December 2022, masaimaraballoonsafaris.com would charge you $410 per adult as shown in the snapshot below;

You can check balloon tickets today here.

It is interesting how the Mara balloon packages are almost 10 times more expensive than what you’ll get in other parks – specifically in Amboseli. I was surprised to find packages from as low as $50 at Amboseli.

It is worth noting that the prices for hot air balloons in the Mara and in Serengeti are almost similar. For an unforgettable experience in the Serengeti, you won’t find a better balloon flight than for only US$599 per person! This fee includes all of the essentials: pick up from your lodge/camp to the launch site, a sensational 50-70 minute hot air balloon ride with breathtaking views, and finally – a champagne breakfast once landed. Not to mention that this price also covers Tanapa’s Ballooning Fee of US$40 as well. Book today and make memories that will last forever! Read more on the official Serengeti website here.

What’s more, if you’re lucky enough, you might even spot some predators like lions or cheetahs. The flight usually takes place early in the morning when the air is much cooler and you can see animals in their natural habitats. You can also take photos of the Mara from above for unforgettable memories!

When you’re done, savor a glass of champagne and breakfast before you’re dropped off back at your lodge.

Some of my top recommendations for hot air balloon safaris include Hot Air Safaris (Google Map location) recommended by Lonely Planet and Governors’ Camp. If you are visiting Mara on a self-drive vehicle, the Hot Air Safaris which operates out of the main Sekenani Gate is your best option. I recommend it as a budget option compared that you can get within the reserve compared to expensive alternatives available in the Mara Triangle being offered by lodges such as Governors’ camp and Semadep(map).

Here is a link to a post with more detailed info on hot air balloon safari rides in the Mara.

When to visit the Mara:

The Mara can be visited year-round but the best time to visit is during the dry season (July to October). This is when animals gather around rivers and lakes in search of water. It’s also when animal migrations peak as herds of wildebeests, zebras, and antelopes traverse through the area.

The best times for bird-watching in the Mara are from December to April and June to October. During these times, birds migrate from other parts of Africa, making it a great opportunity for spotting some rare species.

If possible, try to avoid visiting the Mara during the long rains (March-June) as this is not a good time for game viewing. The grasses are tall and make it difficult to spot animals. Roads can also be slippery and muddy, which makes them inaccessible at times.

Where to stay:

During peak season from July to September, Mara’s ecosystem can have up to 8,000 tourists on a single day. Due to the small quantity of lodges/camps with 682 beds in total among all conservancies, it is rare for visitors to experience other travelers during game drives as per this 2014 report.

Luxury Accommodation options in the Mara:

Below are even more expensive – Natural Tours and Safaris refers to the lodges in the list below as offering superior comfort- above luxury;

Mid-range/comfort accommodations in the Mara:

Economy Accommodations Options in the Mara:

Can I camp in the Mara?

For as low as $20 for residents and as high as $40 for non-residents, you can pick any of the three conservancies’ campsites or MMNR-managed campsites.

Camping is a much cheaper accommodation option, almost 10 times or even more, and can save you more than 70% of the traditional accommodation.

Before visiting the Masai Mara reserve, tourists must make a reservation and pay a booking fee for private campsites. Conversely, public camping locations do not require previous reservations or payment.

We have a more detailed guide with details on campgrounds and general info on camping in the Mara.

Maasai mara national reserve entrance fee

The MMNR has established different rates for entrance fees based on visitors’ residency. Non-residents pay an exorbitant price of $70 or $80, nearly seven to eight times more than what their resident counterparts are charged (Kes 1000/$8.12).

East African adults fare a little better at Kes 1200 ($9.75), but still significantly higher than the amount paid by locals. From my research, it appears that Mara’s 2021 rates are consistently higher than Serengeti’s park fees which range from $45 in the low season to $50 during the high season. Here is a chart by the Tanzanian agency with historical fees you can review.

In 2022, Serengeti’s rates were only about $10 lower than Mara’s park entry fees as per this Tanzania National Parks 2022 Fee Guide (PDF) as shown in the snapshot below;

The fee structure of Mara’s overnight stay varies depending on which lodge or camp you choose. If your accommodation is situated within the main National Reserve, you can anticipate a USD 70 charge per adult and a reduced rate of USD 40 for children under 12 years old per 24-hour period.

MMNR Entry Fees for 2022/23:

CATEGORYNON-RESIDENTSINSIDE PARK*OUTSIDE PARKEAST AFRICAN RESIDENT**KENYAN CITIZEN
AdultUS$ 70US$ 80Ksh 1,200Ksh 1,000
Child***US$ 40US$ 45Ksh 500Ksh 300
Student****US$ 40Ksh 500Ksh 300

Camping Fees for MMNR:

CATEGORYNon-ResidentsPublic CampsitePrivate Campsite*East African ResidentsPublic CampsitePrivate Campsite*East African CitizensPublic CampsitePrivate Campsite*
AdultUS$ 30US$ 40KES 1,000KES 1,500KES 1,000KES 1,000
ChildrenUS$ 20US$ 20KES 200KES 500KES 200KES 200
Student**US$ 20US$ 20KES 200KES 500KES 200KES 200

Vehicle Entry Fees for MMNR:

SAFARI VEHICLE
Less Than 6 SeatsKsh 400
6 – 12 SeatsKsh 1,000
13 – 24 SeatsKsh 3,000
24 – 44 SeatsKsh 4,000
45 Seats And AboveKsh 5,000
TRUCKS
1 – 3 TonsKsh 700
4 – 7 TonsKsh 2,500
8 Tons And AboveKsh 3,500

MMNR Ranger Fees:

ACTIVITYRANGER FEES
Game Drive (+6hrs)Ksh 3,000
Game Drive (-6hrs)Ksh 1,500
Full Night Camp SecurityKsh 4,000

Other MMNR Fees:

CATEGORYADULTCHILD
Hot Air Balloon Landing Fee (Per Person Per Landing) Note – This Is Usually Included In The Balloon Flight PricesUS$ 50US$ 20
Horse Riding Fee (Per Horse Per Day)Ksh 1,500
Annual Research Permits (Non-Resident)US$ 400

Going outside the main reserve for your accommodation will result in a higher entry fee of USD 80 per adult and USD 45 per child, valid for 24 hours. This applies to both the Narok side as well as Mara Conservancy located at the western corridor of Maasai Mara. What’s more is that persons below 18 years old are also eligible to pay with the child rate!

Mara Conservancy (Mara Triangle) Entry Fee:

If you are using Purungat Bridge Gate, Oloololo Gate Or Serena Airstrip your entry fee to the Conservancies in the Mara Triangle will be as shown in the table below;

CATEGORYNON-RESIDENTSINSIDE PARK*OUTSIDE PARKEAST AFRICAN RESIDENT**KENYAN CITIZEN
AdultUS$ 70US$ 80Ksh 1.200Ksh 1,000
Child***US$ 40US$ 45Ksh 500Ksh 300
Student****US$ 40Ksh 500Ksh 300

Mara Conservancy Camping Fees:

CATEGORYNon-ResidentPublic CampsitePrivate Campsite*East African ResidentsPublic CampsitePrivate Campsite*East African CitizensPublic CampsitePrivate Campsite*
AdultUS$ 30US$ 40KES 1,000KES 1,500KES 1,000KES 1,000
ChildrenUS$ 20US$ 20KES 200KES 500KES 200KES 200
Student**US$ 20US$ 20KES 200KES 500KES 200KES 200

Conservancy Vehicle Entry Fees:

SAFARI VEHICLE
Less Than 6 SeatsKsh 400
6 – 12 SeatsKsh 1,000
13 – 24 SeatsKsh 3,000
24 – 44 SeatsKsh 4,000
45 Seats And AboveKsh 5,000
TRUCKS
1 – 3 TonsKsh 700
4 – 7 TonsKsh 2,500
8 Tons And AboveKsh 3,500

Conservancy Ranger Fees:

ACTIVITYRANGER FEES
Game Drive (+6hrs)Ksh 3,000
Game Drive (-6hrs)Ksh 1,500
Full Night Camp SecurityKsh 4,000

For Kambu Campers on camping safaris, this means that you’ll have to pay just $10 additional since you’ll be staying at campsites outside the gates.

Some background on Kenya’s Tourism Sector:

Tourism has quickly risen to become the second-biggest forex earner in this country, right behind agriculture. In 2014 alone it brought KShs 561.8 billion into our economy and secured more than half a million direct and indirect jobs for its citizens! Remarkably, tourism is becoming an increasingly crucial factor of economic growth here in our nation. Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve is one of the country’s most prosperous protected zones, grossing up to $25 million yearly (Norton-Griffiths 1998, et al in press). The area surrounding this reserve illustrates how quickly land usage and ownership are evolving within Kenya Maasailand – especially where there is higher agricultural potential or economic value.

How the Mara looks like

The Maasai Mara is a vast area of grassland plains, woodlands, and riverine forest which supports an astonishing variety of wildlife. The Reserve is home to over 95 species of mammals including the Big Five – lion, leopard, and rhino, it’s actually true as the community owns the land and the government has allowed them to use it sustainably.

The Maasai Mara National Reserve is probably the most famous safari destination in Kenya, known for its annual wildebeest migration when millions of animals migrate from Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park to the Maasai Mara in search of better food and water supplies. That event is our home.

Maasai Mara Safari offers unprecedented game viewing opportunities with a true African bush experience. The Maasai land is one of the richest wildlife habitats in the world and it hosts the Big Five – lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino – as well as cheetahs, hippos, zeIn our lands spanning over 1500 square miles, you will find immense natural beauty, abundant wildlife, and rich culture. Having grown up next to a community-managed conservancy and having trained as a guide with 3 years under my belt now, I believed I am the perfect guide to help you discover the many hidden gems of our beloved homeland.

On your safari to the Maasai Mara, you will be privy to some of the greatest wonders of Africa. The Great Wildebeest Migration, the Big 5, and so much more. During this special time, the vast Mara plains are teeming with wildlife activity that can only be described as mesmerizing. Whether you’re tracking endangered species, watching rare birds in flight, or spotting predators on the hunt, you’ll be overwhelmed with a sense of awe and appreciation for this remarkable place.

In addition to its incredible wildlife, the Maasai Mara is home to diverse cultures and traditions. As your guide, I will introduce you to the unique customs and lifestyle that the Maasai people are known for. I will walk with you through our homelands, villages, and sacred sites to provide an in-depth look at this remarkable culture. Small hint if you plan on going for community explorations – wear red. Red anything – shirt, top, trouser, sandals…Red is the ‘it’ color among us. We believe it wards off evil spirits, but mostly because it’s the color of courage and strength.

Once you land in the Mara, I will be there to greet you and give you a tour of this unique ecosystem of grassland plains and forests. You will be astounded by the vastness of the land and the diverse wildlife that inhabits it.

By now, you’re probably wondering what activities we will do on the safari. Well, I’ve got more than enough planned for us! From morning game drives to night safaris and even cultural excursions – there will never be a dull moment on our Mara adventure.

It lies in a triangle shape bordered by Narok Town, Sekenani Gate, and Oloololo Gate. The main entrance you’ll likely use if traveling by road is through Sekenani Gate, which lies on the southwest side of Mara. The Oloololo Gate entrance is on the northeast side of Mara and is rarely used by those coming from Nairobi by road.

I am passionate about sharing my love and knowledge of our lands with you on your Maasai Mara safari. Get in touch today to plan your journey! I will be delighted to be part of your adventure!

Below is a chart showing temperatures you can expect in the Mara from January to December;

Chart showing temperatures at Maasai Mara National Reserve

FAQs

When was the Mara Established?

In 1961, the Masai Mara National Reserve was initially established as a wildlife sanctuary and then later as a game reserve. Covering an area of around 520 square kilometers at that time, it has now expanded to cover 1,821 square kilometers.In 1974, the Masai Mara National Reserve officially became a protected reserve with 159 square kilometers returned to local Maasai communities. Two years later, another 162 square kilometers was added for a grand total of 1,510 km2. Subsequently in the 2000s further conservancy areas were established on its borders that extend beyond what is outlined by the Reserve proper.

Please check back soon as I continue to add more info about the Mara, Mara Safari Packages, and more.

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