Great Migration Season in Maasai Mara National Reserve : Located north of Tanzania is the Serengeti National Park which stretches across the border and joins with Maasai Mara National Reserve located on the southern part of Kenya . This is one of the world’s greatest natural phenomenon, it is also referred to as the largest land animals migration. During the Great Migration which happens each year , over two million wildebeests, Zebras and other herbivores move from southern Serengeti in Tanzania across to Maasai Mara in Kenya in pursuit of greener pastures. Maasai Mara is one of the best safari destination in Kenya always referred to as the first class safari tour destination because of its diverse rich wildlife including the famous big five animals. Serengeti National Park also in Tanzania is a super wildlife rich and great destination for a safari tour and everyone dream safari visit destination. This area is one of the most iconic safari experiences in East Africa Which has been rated as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Maasai Mara National Reserve is characterized by a vast plain of savannah grassland with an ending stretch of flat surface dotted with few trees offering unrestricted views and other regions having thick bushes and riverine forests that enable the predators to hide perfectly and lay ambush to its preys.
The Great Migration, over 1.5 million wildebeests also known as gnu , 400,000 Zebras , 12,00 eland and 300, 000 Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelle moving from southern Serengeti National Park to Maasai Mara National Reserve. This unique wildlife behaviour never seen anywhere else in the world usually takes place between the month of July all through to October. Maasai Mara National Reserve Kenya is the best place to observe the wonderful Migration with its highlight and climax being the crossing point along the crocodiles infested Mara River. When crossing Mara River some of the wildebeest are eaten by the crocodiles and other predators hiding in the bushes around the river and carefully selecting their choice of the next meal. Some of the predators include the big cats such as lions, leopards, cheetahs and Hyenas and some raptors. This is the highlight of the Great Migration in which it attracts tourists from all over the world who visit to witness the great movement of herbivores.
The movement of these herds are inspired by instinct in such for pasture and water. Being led by instincts each wildebeest covers between 800 and 1000 km. The circuit starts at Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania which is located on the south of Serengeti National Park across the border into Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya and back again. This is a journey full of danger , young calves are the constant target of the predators as they have to learn to survive just a few minutes after being born as the slow and the weak are easily caught by predators such as lions on the other hand the crocodiles in Mara river target those that have been injured during the journey down the steep river slope or simply the weak and exhausted ones.
The adaptation difference of the three herbivores in their grazing habits has enable the animals to move together as one group of the grazers eat the top of the tall grass, the next herbivores eat the medium height and does it repeatedly until when the grass it almost completely eaten, they move. The grasses found on these plains are very rich in protein and calcium.
It is not clearly known how wildebeest are able to know which way to go, but it is greatly believed that their pattern of movement is greatly attributed to the response of different weather as it is believed that they follow the rains and the growth of fresh grass. It has been suggested by some source although not proven scientifically that wildebeest can detect rain which is 50 km away.
The best season or period that has been recommended for a perfect view of the Great Migration through a research done following the pattern of the last two years of 2021 and 2022 is that it is recommended that you plan your travel at around mid July to all through August a when the migration starts to decline in the mid of September. This period has been considered as the best time to visit Maasai Mara National Reserve for the wildebeest migration.
Rich in wildlife diversity
Mara Serengeti ecosystem boasts of rich wildlife composition apart from the migratory herds, the area is home to various other species which include both large and small predators. Some of the a must see animal species include cheetahs, Giraffes, zebras, Hyenas, Crocodiles, Buffalos, Elephants, Impalas, Elands, Gazelles, Warthogs, All kind of Antelopes from the smallest to the biggest, lions and leopards among other animals. On a visit to Maasai Mara National Reserve all its visitors are most likely to see all or some of these iconic African animals making it a premier wildlife destinations for all tourist enthusiasts from all over the world.
Maasai Mara and Serengeti ecosystem is one of the region with the highest population of the big five animals which includes Leopards, Buffalos, Elephants, lions and Rhinoceros. These are the most sought after among other wildlife species that can be easily spotted in their natural habitats. In addition to the above species Maasai Mara is home to a good number of predators such as Cheetahs, Jackals, hyenas, and Wild dogs which enjoy abundant prey such as zebras, wildebeests to gazelles among other herbivores.
The notable Nocturnal species include some of the small mammals such as bush babies, Genet cats, mongoose, civet cats, hunting dogs , aardvarks among other species which are not sighted during the daytime.
Maasai Mara National Reserve is also bird watchers paradise with over 500 bird species which range from large raptors such as vultures, different species of eagles, kingfishers, Hornbills and bee-eaters. Other bird species include white storks, crowned cranes, saddle billed storks, sacred ibis, Goliath herons, African fish eagles, yellow-billed storks, Egret, Martial Eagle, Pygmy Falcon which are some of the most strong birds that Fred on young dik-diks and impalas. African finfoot, Ostrich which is the largest bird in the world, Lazy Cisticola, Ross’s turaco, Red throated tit, Rufous-bellied heron, Abdim’s stork, cinnamon-breasted bunting, Grey-crested helmet -shrike among other bird species.
Other activities to do in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Among the things that makes Maasai Mara National Reserve one of a kind safari destinations in the world is the availability of its numerous accommodation options available in and around the park ranging from budget friendly, economic to the most luxurious lodges and hotels of high international standards. In addition to the variety of accommodation options that the park offers , there are also well maintained and modernised infrastructure to and around Maasai Mara National Reserve. These facilities range from road networks from the Kenya’s capital city Nairobi and other cities and towns in Kenya, safari vehicles which are equipped with charging pots , fridge , floodlights which are used especially during the night game drives , Highly trained drivers , experienced and knowledgeable guides and the great Kenyan Hospitality.
There are also several airstrips available within Maasai Mara National Reserve for the tourist who would wish to experience the Kenyan flight safaris through flights customized for safari adventures from Wilson Airport or Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Maasai Mara National Reserve and other wildlife destinations in Kenya. On board flight safaris or Helicopter safaris tours in Kenya one has the advantage to view various Kenyan landscapes and have the quick efficient safari experience especially for tourist who have combined safaris tours to more than one National Park.
Exploring the savannah
Maasai Mara National Reserve is one of the best places to enjoy the spirit of adventure because of its vast open plains with scattered acacia. There are several ways to enjoy the unending plains with perfect undistorted wildlife visibility such as through game drives , or through some guided organised and well arranged walking safaris. This is one of the most breath taking experience of a safari tour in Maasai Mara National Reserve where you get the chance to breathe the fresh air while listening to the natural sounds of nature such as the sounds of crickets chirping while watching the sights of limitless horizon of the savannah plains.
Maasai community visit
There is no perfect way to experience the Maasai rich and unique culture than a visit into the Maasai homestead. This is also one of the highlights of a visit to Maasai Mara National Reserve, there is no complete safari tour without experiencing the unique African tribe. The Maasai people are very friendly and welcoming people who co-existed with Kenya Wildlife for a very long time. They have Maintained their culture despite the changing and the modernisation of today’s world. They will welcome you into their humble mud houses made from some sticks and mud mixed with cow dung and perfectly smeared on the sticks to make the walls. These houses are known as the “manyattas “ and are constructed by women.