Maasai Mara Wildlife Reserve


More than a million grazing animals join in one of the great wildlife spectacles on earth every summer when, following their need for fresh grass, they trek up to Maasai Mara from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.

Thousands of Thomson’s gazelles and a quarter-million zebras join the great throngs of shaggy wildebeests, some marching single-file in long lines, others a dozen abreast. Accompanied by half-grown young ones born in Tanzania, they crowd the landscape as far as the eye can see.

They cross raging rivers, many of them drowning in the attempt, in the drive for renewed sustenance. Sometimes they perish unnecessarily and become food for crocodiles in a river they could easily avoid.

Largest lion population in Kenya is here, in family prides of 40 or more individuals. Cheetahs, fastest of big cats, pose regally atop termite mounds, scouting out likely quarry, stalking them through green-gold grass, then streaking after them at top speeds of 70 miles an hour (112 kph).

Stealthy leopards are as visible here as any place in Africa, sometimes with cubs.

Lions are Africa’s largest carnivores and the only cats that live in large family groups—advantageous for their group-ambush hunting style. They’re also the most sexually dimorphic—males are significantly larger than females, with long head and neck manes.

Lions are Africa’s largest carnivores and the only cats that live in large family groups—advantageous for their group-ambush hunting style. They’re also the most sexually dimorphic—males are significantly larger than females, with long head and neck manes.

Click on image for description.

Remains of predators’ victims or those which die from other causes are cleaned up by smaller carnivores such as jackals and bat-eared foxes, or huge vultures and marabou storks, looking, it is often said, like undertakers. Nothing is wasted. Miniscule scraps go to insects which feed the smallest mammals as well as the abundant and colorful bird population. Seldom does anything remain which could be food for anybody. That which does becomes fertilizer for the rich variety of plant life that feeds next year’s migrants as well as other grazing and browsing animals which are here all year—impalas, Grant’s gazelles, kongoni, towering giraffes, massive elephants, Cape buffalo, and a few black rhinoceros, and, uncommon elsewhere, topi and roan antelopes. Huge hippos come up from the waterways to forage at night.

Wildebeest give birth to 90 percent of their calves during three weeks early in the rainy season. Young are born looking around and able to run within minutes of their birth—important because herds are constantly on the move, and staying with the group is vital in avoiding predation.

Wildebeest give birth to 90 percent of their calves during three weeks early in the rainy season. Young are born looking around and able to run within minutes of their birth—important because herds are constantly on the move, and staying with the group is vital in avoiding predation.

Click on image for description.

By mid-September wildebeest have exhausted much of the short grass which they prefer (and are best able to eat and digest) and begin to turn south to return to Tanzania where the grasslands have freshened since their departure. There, between late January and mid-March, females will begin to give birth to some 300,000 tiny, reddish-buff, black-faced calves which they conceived eight months earlier, and start the whole cycle again. Fossil evidence suggests they have been doing this here for more than a million years.

By mid-September wildebeest have exhausted much of the short grass which they prefer (and are best able to eat and digest) and begin to turn south to return to Tanzania where the grasslands have freshened since their departure. There, between late January and mid-March, females will begin to give birth to some 300,000 tiny, reddish-buff, black-faced calves which they conceived eight months earlier, and start the whole cycle again. Fossil evidence suggests they have been doing this here for more than a million years.

Click on image for description.

Elephants pull up grass or pull down edible greenery and bark from favorite thickets, consuming up to 300 pounds (136 kg) a day, wearing out their teeth on this harsh provender but growing another set—six sets in a 65-year lifetime.

Pel’s fishing owls swoop down along the Mara River while 52 other raptors, including secretary birds, wearing “quill pens” behind their ears, peer for prey about the plains,which they share with statuesque bustards, the largest birds that can fly. Altogether 65 different species of mammals and more than 400 bird species are here, most of them easily seen on this 700 square miles (1,812 km2) of rolling plains bisected by the Mara River in the Great Rift Valley.


Visit Tripadvisor®

for lodging information about this Reserve


ABERDARE NATIONAL PARK

AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK

LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK

MAASAI MARA WILDLIFE RESERVE

MOUNT KENYA NATIONAL PARK

SAMBURU/BUFFALO SPRINGS

TSAVO NATIONAL PARK as well as...

Lake Bogoria National Reserve

Lake Baringo

Lake Naivasha

Crescent Island Wildlife Sanctuary

Nairobi National Park

Advertisement