Our television and books do not do justice to the beauty of Earth’s hidden lands. It is only when we see it with our own eyes that we can fully appreciate it!
The Masai Mara National Reserve is a 580 square miles game reserve in Narok County in Kenya and a part of the Greater Mara Ecosystem. Its name is an homage to the Masai people and its ancestors who lived in the area during ancient times. [Check out our Kenya Travel Guide for First Timers]
Meanwhile, “Mara” is “spotted” in the Masai language which refers to the circular shapes or “spots” found in the area like trees, scrubs, and the clouds.
The reserve is governed by the local government of Narok. Apart from that, several research centers are also there like the Kay E. Holekamp Lab from Michigan State University which studies hyena’s physiology and behavior.
Indeed, Masai Mara National Reserve is a great interest for both tourists and researchers. This land is a testament of how something that is so rugged can be splendid at the same time!
The Big 5 and Other Wildlife
The ecology of Masai Mara is rich enough to sustain natural prey-predator interactions while keeping everything balanced. This is also where you can see the Big 5: lion, leopard, elephant, cape buffalo, and rhinoceros. Despite some animals being poached, their population is seen to be increasing in recent years.
Masai Mara is also where the Great Migration happens, one of the, if not the largest movement of animals. It is estimated that 1.3 million wildebeests, 500,000 Thomson gazelles, 97,000 Topi (a kind of antelope), 18,000 Elands (a kind of antelope too), and 20,000 zebras.
At the wetter part of the area which is the Mara River is where hippopotamus and crocodiles live – sometimes battling each other for their survival. Thanks to the improvement in science and technology, 470 species of birds have been identified here! Just like any ecosystem, there will still be a lot of birds that are waiting for identification. That is why the Masai Mara National Reserve is a subject of many conservation efforts.
After all, we want all these natural land and phenomena to be witnessed by our children and the generations after us.
Humans, despite our flaws, come together in crisis and soon-to-happen crises in order to prevent it. At the Masai Mara, not only is the flora and fauna that is great, but also the human spirit to preserve all these!
There are many organizations that focus on the conservation of Masai Mara’s land, water, plants, animals, and people.
The Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust aims to preserve the ecosystems and biodiversity of East Africa which benefits native Masai communities. They hold conservation-focused programs like partnering with a tourist lodge to promote ecotourism, and giving livelihoods to provide locals a sustainable source of income and an education of a certain skill as well.
Meanwhile, the Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies focus on animals. Part of their work is to develop conservation areas in several places while also giving them a tailored framework which is dependent on the local situation and aims to put guidelines in wildlife conservation.
Masai Mara National Reserve is and will always be a beautiful place. This place is more than just a tourist spot. It is one of the remaining undisturbed ecosystems on our planet!