One of the most popular tourism destinations in Kenya, the grand Maasai Mara National Reserve beckons visitors with its abundant game and the world-famous annual wildebeest migration.
Known as the jewel of Kenya’s wildlife viewing areas, the reserve was established in 1961 and covers 583 square miles. Unlike most other national parks in Kenya, the Maasai Mara National Reserve is administered by local authorities, giving the native Maasai people an integral part in the running of the park and protection of the wildlife. The Maasai Mara encompasses four different kinds of topography from sandy soil and small bushes to the east, to the Siria Escarpment forming a spectacular plateau on the western boundary, to lush grasslands and woodlands around the Mara River, to wide-open plains with scattered bushes making up the largest part of the reserve.
One of the most impressive natural spectacles in the world is the great migration which takes place each July and October between the Mara and Serengeti ecosystems. Crossing the plains in search of fresh pasture, 1,300,000 wildebeest, half a million Thomson’s gazelles, 200,000 zebra, and hundreds of thousands of other plains game participate in this phenomenon. Of course, predators such as lion and hyena follow the herds, hoping to prey on the young calves, aged wildebeest, and straggling animals.