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Masai Mara National Reserve

Geography | 7-14 yrs | Interactive

Where is Masai Mara national reserve located?

The Masai Mara National Reserve, known by the local inhabitants as the Mara, is a large game reserve in the Narok County, Kenya. It shares its borders with the Serengeti National Park in the Mara Region, Tanzania. It lies in the Great Rift Valley, which is a fault line, some 5,600 kilometers from Ethiopia’s Red Sea.

Mara, which is Maa, in Masai language is translated as spotted, as it describes the landscape, with cloud shadows, circle of trees, scrub, savanna, which cover the area.

Masai Mara safari

The Masai Mara is one of the most visited natural wildlife reserves, with adventure safaris, but it also suffers from local poachers and international trophy game hunters.

The Masai are the ancestral inhabitants of the Mara.

Who are the Masai people?

  • The Masai people are Nilotic ethnic group inhabiting the Kenyan and Tanzanian savannas. They speak the Maa language and Swahili, Kenyan and Tanzanian.
  • They are pastoralists and have inhabited the grasslands and chosen to live with the wild animals, without hunting them, being one with the land.

What kind of animals inhabit the Masai Mara?

  • The Masai Mara is one of the world’s finest wildlife destinations. It is home to one of the oldest, most diverse and expansive ecosystems on the planet.
  • It is also home to the Big 5, the world’s most sought after wild animals, dangerous and difficult to hunt by colonial hunters, which are the African Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Leopard and the Buffalo.

Great migration of the Masai Mara

  • One of the spectacular events to occur in the Mara is the annual Wildebeest migration, one of the largest overland migration in the world.
  • The Great Migration sees over 1.5 million Wildebeest, 200,00 Zebra and a host of other Antelope travelling cross country. This occurs around July, each year.

4 Interesting facts about Masai Mara National Reserve

  1. It was officially established as a reserve in 1961, as a wildlife sanctuary and covered only 520 square kilometers(200 square miles) of the current area. Today it covers 1,510 square kilometers area.
  2. Apart from the Big 5, the most dangerous and difficult to hunt animals, the Masai Mara also has animals which form a part of the wildlife, like the Hyena, Cheetah, Eland, Gazelle, Topi, Thomson’s Gazelle, Vultures, Hippos etc. Hippos are abundant in the Mara River, as well as very large Nile crocodiles.
  3. The Wildebeest are the largest inhabitants of the Masai Mara. More than 470 species of birds are found in the Masai Mara, many of them migrants. Species such as Eagles, Stork and Vultures are among the more than 50 birds of prey.
  4. There are more than 4 types of topography in the Mara. They are : Ngama Hills, Oloololo Escarpment, the Mara Triangle and the Central Plains.
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