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Masai Mara Safari, Go Kenya Holidays and Safaris
Masai Mara is the best destination in Kenya for viewing wildlife - and lots of it! The Masai Mara is home to a great wildlife spectacle, as sometime between August and November more than two million wildebeest migrate from the Serengeti in search of water and grazing.
For many people, timing their Masai Mara Safari to coincide with the migration seems vital - but with a very abundant and healthy resident population of animals, a holiday to the Masai Mara is great at any time of the year.
The word Mara means "spotted". Does this relate to the landscape, which is patched with groves of acacia and thorn bushes? It is more likely that the name originated from the speckled inundation of wildebeest and millions of other herbivores during the migration. With its rolling grasslands and wide-open savannah, the Masai Mara is the kind of African landscape you might see in the movies.
Many predators also prevail in the Mara, including large prides of lions, a fair number of cheetahs and leopards, spotted hyenas and silver- or black-backed jackals.
Masai Mara Safaris by Road at a Glance;
Facts About The Masai Mara National Reserve;
The Masai Mara is one of the best known and most popular reserves in the whole of Africa. At times and in certain places it can get a little overrun with tourist minibuses, but there is something so special about it that it tempts you back time and again.
Seasoned safari travellers, travel writers, documentary makers and researchers often admit that the Masai Mara is one of their favourite places. So why is that? Perhaps it is because of the 'big skies', the open savannahs, the romance of films like 'Out of Africa' and certainly because of the annual wildebeest migration, the density of game, the variety of birdlife and the chance of a hot air balloon ride.
Also because of the tall red-robed Masai people whose lifestyle is completely at odds with western practices, and from whom one learns to question certain western values.
A combination of all these things plus something to do with the spirit of the place - which is hard to put into words - is what attracts people to the Mara over and over.
The Masai Mara lies in the Great Rift Valley, which is a fault line some 3,500 miles (5,600km) long, from Ethiopia's Red Sea through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and into Mozambique. Here the valley is wide and a towering escarpment can be seen in the hazy distance. Most of the game viewing activities occur on the valley floor, but some lodges conduct walking tours outside the park boundaries in the hills of the Oloololo Escarpment. The animals are also at liberty to move outside the park into huge areas known as 'dispersal areas'. There can be as much wildlife roaming outside the park as inside. Many Masai villages are located in the 'dispersal areas' and they have, over centuries, developed a synergetic relationship with the wildlife.
There are four main types of topography in the Mara: Ngama Hills to the east with sandy soil and leafy bushes liked by black rhino; Oloololo Escarpment forming the western boundary and rising to a magnificent plateau; Mara Triangle bordering the Mara River with lush grassland and acacia woodlands supporting masses of game especially migrating wildebeest; Central Plains forming the largest part of the reserve, with scattered bushes and boulders on rolling grasslands favoured by the plains game.
ANIMALS & BIRDS
Hippos are abundant in the Mara River as are very large Nile crocodiles, who lay in wait for a meal as the wildebeest cross on their annual quest to find new pastures.
Every July (or sometimes August), the wildebeest travel over 600 miles (960km) from Tanzania's Serengeti plains, northwards to the Masai Mara and the Mara River is the final obstacle. In October or November, once they have feasted and the grass has all but gone, they turn around and go back the other way.
The Mara birds come in every size and colour including common but beautiful ones like the lilac breasted roller and plenty of large species like eagles, vultures and storks. There are 53 different birds of prey.
Altitude is 4,875-7,052 feet (1,500-2,170 metres) above sea level, which yields a climate somewhat milder and damper than other regions. The daytime rarely exceeds 85°F (30°C) during the day and hardly ever drops below 60°F (15°C) at night.
· Wildebeest Migration
This is a malarial area
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