Culture, colour & crossings
This iconic reserve is named after the Maasai people, an ancient tribe that still call this wild landscape home. This national reserve neighbours the abundant Serengeti along the border of Tanzania and is known for being one of the best safari destinations in Africa to see big cats and other members of the Big Five.
However, it’s also the setting of the greatest wildlife wonder on earth, the Mara is world famous for its vast assemblages of wildebeest as they embark on their journey after the rains.
The reserve is divided by the mighty Mara River, where its tributaries are margined by lush riverine forests and the famous location of spectacular river crossings during the July –September. The reserve is home to over 470 bird species and 95 animal species, including all of the great predators.
The Masai Mara National Reserve, is possibly the most iconic African wildlife destinations, where immense acacia-dotted savannas teem with animals of all shapes and sizes. The highlight of the Mara is of course the Great Migration, an annual event where millions of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle migrate across the vast landscapes of Kenya and Tanzania. Witness the dramatic scenes as the nervous and noisy herds embark on the perilous crossing of the crocodile-infested Mara River.
The Masai Mara is also home to a wide range of bird and animal species. The reserve is also known for it’s abundant big cat sightings, from large lion prides to the elusive leopard.
Top wildlife to see include – Lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, rhino, African wild dog, honey badger, giraffe, hippo, buffalo, crocodile, wildebeest, zebra, topi, eland, gazelle, baboob, caracal and hyena.
The Masai tribes are amongst the most well-known of Africa’s ethnic groups, due to their living proximity to the various game reserves, their vibrant clothing and fascinating traditions. The Masai Mara tribe has a very distinct appearance, with fierce warriors raising their spears in pride, bearing their blood-red cloaks, known as shukas. The Masai women embellish themselves with earrings whilst the men cover their braided hair with thick ochre paste and extravagant head-dresses which are often made with lion mane or eagle feathers.
During your visit to the the surrounding Maasai conservancies there is a chance to spend time with these fascinating people, with bushwalks, village visits and warrior training lessons offered by the Maasai tribes. Still today the people of the Masai tribes live in a type of enclosure known as an Enkang created by sharp thorn bushes. This essential material and design helps guard the tribe and their livestock from not only dangerous predators but also rival tribes. Over the years the people here have stayed true to their traditions, rituals and beliefs and are a wonder to meet.
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