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Maasai Mara Game Reserve

When visitors come to Kenya for an exciting safari vacation, Maasai Mara Game Reserve is top on the list of places to see. The largest game reserve in south-western Kenya, the Maasai Mara covers 25,000 square kilometers of stunning grassland. The reserve is named after the local people who live in the region, the Maasai, and the Maasai word that describes the land, Mara, meaning spotted, due to the clumps of trees and cloud shadows over the savannah.

The reserve was established in 1961 to protect the wildlife from hunters. It covers a region smaller than Rhode Island, yet is teeming with a large, diverse wildlife population. The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania borders the reserve in the south and Maasai pastoral lands surround the north, east and western borders. The western region holds the most abundant population of wildlife, due to the swampy landscape that makes it less crowded with tourists.

The open grasslands are filled with cheetah, lion, millions of wildebeest, and over 450 species of birdlife, including vultures, marabou storks, secretary birds, hornbills, crowned cranes, ostriches, long-crested eagles, and African pygmy falcons. The shy black rhinoceros population is difficult to spot except at a great distance. The rhinoceros population is threatened, and according to a 2009 study, the reserve is losing animal species at an alarming rate.

The Mara River meanders through the reserve, creating not only a haven for hippo and crocodile, but also a difficult and dangerous feat for the migrating zebra and wildebeest that must cross the river for more lush grasslands beyond. This annual Great Migration is an amazing sight. Unbelievable numbers of wildebeest and zebra trek across wide expanses of grassland, and bound across wide rivers to travel great distances in search of food.

On every Wildland Adventures trip to Kenya we will explore the beautiful Maasai Mara Game Reserve.